Sunday, January 20, 2013

Haroset Cookie Bars

Haroset Cookie Bars




This is the recipe for the cookie bars I make with the left-over (and long frozen) Passover haroset that Fred makes. Even though the blog recipes were meant to more or less document yeast dough recipes, this one has no leaving agent at all- although it's definitely not kosher for Passover.

For a great kosher for Passover sweet - check out my Gluten Free Brownies, which are absolutely kosher for Passover.

I like cookie bars because they are done 1-2-3, no dropping the cookies one by one onto the cookie sheet. We haven't met anyone who doesn't like this haroset at the seder, nor anyone who doesn't like this cookie.

The haroset is made up of dry fruit, ground nuts, coconut and jam and is cooked like a jam mixture. It very much looks like a lumpy unattractive morter mixture that could hold the pyramids together.  (By now you might not even remember that we ever used the  Ashkenaz apple-walnut-wine mixture at all.)  It's an adaption from the Cardozo Haroset recipe in the NY Times Passover Cookbook  (Ed. by Linda Amster) and like most Sephardic recipes for haroset the endproduct is a paste-type fruit concoction.

Haroset:

My huband, Fred, makes a huge amount of charoset, we freeze about half for use after Passover.
  • About 20 oz sweetened grated coconut
  • 1 lb finely ground nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts in any combination you like)
  • 6 cups water (approximate amount, you have to check the haroset as it cooks)
  • 2 lb assorted dried fruit, chopped (definitely include pitted prunes, apples, dates. Skip figs, the seeds won't work well here)
  • 1 lb white raisins
  • 1lb dried apricots, chopped                                                      
  • 2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 24 oz cherry preserves
  • 1 1/2- 2 c sweet kiddush wine (or grape juice)
1. Combine (and mix) the coconut, fruit, ground nuts and water in a large pot. Simmer over low heat until fruit starts to break up and the mixture begins to thicken and look somewhat like a cooked cereal mixture
2. Add water if needed to keep the mixture from burning or sticking to the pot, keep stirring to prevent scorching. Be careful to keep stirring and watching- Fred may not admit this - but he has (slightly) burned the bottom of a pot while cooking this.
3. After the fruit has begun to break down (about 45 minutes) add the preserves and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. The mixture will be thick. Let it cool, it should remain moist, but will be very thick.
4. Stir in wine, cover and chill. 
5. The haroset stays well for the entire week of Passover. It can be frozen in smaller 8oz packets and keeps well for several months.

Cookie Bars:

Make bars in a 13x9x2 pan (I use a pyrex pan for this recipe). 

Cookie Crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix the following in a large bowl:                      
  • 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • pinch salt (not kosher salt, the crystals are too large- use a salt with fine size crystals)
  • 2c all purpose flour
3. Pour 1/2 c melted margerine (or melted coconut oil) over this mixture. Stir. Press into place in the baking pan, it will be crumbly.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, the edges will be turning a bit dark

Filling:
1. Prepare while the crust is baking, mix the following together in a large bowl:
  • 2 cups of  haroset (obviously, defrost if you are using it after freezing)
  • 1 lg egg
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (and nutmeg if you like it)
2. Add to mixture:
  • 2 cups chopped apples (Granny Smith, Jazz, Empire - NOT something that gets mushy like Rome)
                                                                         
3. Mix ingredients all together                                                        
4. Take the crust out of the oven, spread the fruit mixture over the hot crust



















Topping:
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds mixed with 1 tsp sugar and a few Tbsp of water

5. Combine the nuts, sugar and water. Sprinkle/spread topping evenly across the filling
6. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes. Apples should be softened, but not mushy, nuts will be barely toasted looking.
7. Cool completely before cutting into squares