In Jerusalem, as soon as Purim is over, everyone begins to get ready for Pesach. Two-and-a-half weeks ahead, macaroons are already in the stores, as well as various other products for the holiday. Here are a few desserts you can make at home, from traditional to unusual.
CLASSIC ALMOND MACAROONS
Makes 20 macaroons. This recipe is adapted from an American food magazine (not sure which).
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp confectioners sugar
- Place almonds in a pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil 10 seconds. Remove one almond and see if it slips out of its skin. If not, boil a few seconds more. Spread on paper towels and pat dry once ready.
- Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
- Grind almonds with 1/4 cup sugar in processor. Add egg whites and extract and blend 20 seconds. Add the 3/4 cup sugar in two batches, blending 10 seconds after each addition.
- Roll one tablespoon of mixture between moistened palms into ball. Repeat until all mixture is used, spacing cookies one inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten each to half-an-inch high. Brush each with water. Sift confectioners sugar over each. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Lift one end of parchment paper and pour two tablespoons water onto cookie sheet. Lift other end and pour two tablespoons water under. Tilt to spread water. When water stops boiling, remove macaroons.
3/4 cup margarine or butter
2 1/8 cup sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups matzah flour
1 1/4 cups potato flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tbsp Passover baking powder
5/8 cup ground almonds
2 cups chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a cookie sheet.
- In a bowl, cream margarine or butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla.
- In another bowl, combine matzah flour, potato flour, cocoa and baking powder. Gradually add to batter.
- Add nuts and chocolate chips and combine.
- Form into two logs and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool.
- Slice. Return slices to cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes.
This is my favourite sweet for Pesach but this version is an Andrew Zimmern contribution from Food & Wine magazine with a few of my changes.
1 cup salted butter or margarine
5 pieces of matzah
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup mixed chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with vegetable spray. Line with parchment paper and spray again.
- Arrange a layer of matzah on the sheet.
- Melt butter or margarine with brown sugar in a saucepan. Cook five minutes. Pour over matzah. Bake five to eight minutes, until bubbling.
- Remove from oven and spread chocolate chips on top, letting them melt for five minutes. Sprinkle nuts on top. Let cool or refrigerate to cool. Break into pieces.
MARILYN’S CHOCOLATE BRANDIED CANDY
Marilyn is a longtime friend of mine who came from the Boston area and has lived in Israel since 1949.
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (a candy bar works fine)
1 cup raisins, soaked in cherry brandy
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup matzah pieces
- Melt chocolate in a saucepan. Add raisins, walnuts and matzah and mix well.
- Drop by tablespoon into small cupcake papers. Refrigerate.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer and food writer in Jerusalem. She created and leads the weekly English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda, she has compiled and edited nine kosher cookbooks, and is the author of Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel.