Saturday, April 12, 2014

Coconut-Cinnamon Macaroons (kosher for Passover, gluten free)

Coconut-Cinnamon Macaroon
adapted from

This year I spent an inordinate amount of time looking through macaroon recipes. I'm not sure what I was looking for, I have a good stand-by recipe from Scharffenberger chocolate, but this one caught my eye. It's easier than many, there is no cooking prior to baking; just whip egg whites, add the remaining ingredients and form small walnut size balls. The original recipe called for dipping the macaroon in melted chocolate to coat about half the cookie. In my version I baked plain macaroons as well as macaroons with mini-chips They are light and delicious, crispy on the outside and soft and airy in the inside.

These cookies whip up in minutes, but do require a hand or stand mixer (for whipping the egg whites). 

4 egg whites (size large)
1 c sugar (divide 1/2 to blend into egg whites, 1/2 for the coconut mixture
3 c flaked coconut
3 Tsp maple syrup 
1 tsp vanilla sugar 
pinch kosher salt 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
3/4 c mini chocolate chips (optional) 

variation: melt 12 oz bittersweet chocolate and dip the cooled cookies to coat 1/2 of the cookie 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
2. Combine the coconut, 1/2c sugar, maple syrup, vanilla sugar, salt, cinnamon and chips (if using) in a bowl.
3. Whip the egg whites until firm peaks form, slowly add 1/2 c sugar, while continuously beating
4. Add the coconut mixture and beat or mix well
5. Let stand for 5-10 minutes or so to help the mixture set
6. Wet your hands a bit and form walnut-size balls, placing them about an inch apart on the cookie sheet
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes. The macaroons will look golden and toasty. Remove from the oven. Slide the paper off of the cookie sheet onto a rack or other flat surface and cool before handling and storing

NOTE: if you use extra large whites you'll have a flatter cookie that resembles a chocolate chip cookie. They are still delicious, although won't have the typical shape of a coconut macaroon. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Matzah-Onion Kugel with Onion Confit Topping (Kosher for Passover)

Kugel is great- make it ahead of time,  served hot or room temperature,  and then you can save the rest for re-warmed left overs! 

This kugel is the savory matzah kugel we're using as a side-dish at our Seders this year. I made it with whole-wheat matzah, but regular white would work just as well.  The onion confit topping was made by slow cooking sliced red onions until they were almost the consistency of  jam.

If you are unfamiliar with kugel - think of this as stuffing made on the side.

Due to time constraints I made the kugel over two days. The onion confit can be made a day or two ahead (as I did). Once the confit is made, the assembly takes about 30 minutes and baking 60-70 minutes.

2 qt saucepan
Sharp knife, cutting board
Large mixing bowl, mixing spoon
Measuring cup, spoon
Baking pan (approximately 9x13)

For the confit:

  • Thinly sliced red onions (approximately 3 lbs, enough to fill the 2 qt pan)
  • 1/3 c grape juice or sweet wine
  • 1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 Tbsp apricot preserves or marmalade
  • Pinch salt (kosher or sea salt) 
For the kugel:
  • 8 matzah boards (whole wheat or white)
  • 2 large red onions, diced 
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 6 large eggs, mixed
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp of both, but you should taste the mixture- before adding the raw eggs- to judge for yourself) 
  • additional olive oil for greasing the pan 
Prepare the confit:
1. Slice the onions and fill the 2 qt saucepan
2. Pour about half of the grape juice over the onions, sprinkle the salt, add the apricot jam
3. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat until the onions are very soft (about an hour); stir occasionally, add a small amount of grape juice (or wine) if needed 
4. Cool, store in a covered container in the refrigerator.  The confit can be made a day or two ahead of time

Prepare the kugel: 
1. Saute the diced onion in olive oil until pieces are soft and a small portion is beginning to brown and caramelize. Remove from heat and cool
2.Place 8 matzah boards into a large mixing bowl. Break the boards into large pieces and pour 2-3 cups of boiling water over the matzah. Mix to ensure that the water saturates the matzah. The matzah will absorb most, if not all of the water 

3. If any water remains after 5 minutes, pour it off.  Add the sauteed onions, salt and pepper into the matzah mixture. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees 
4. Mix and cool  

4. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and mix. Pour the egg mixture into the matzah- onion mixture. Mix lightly 
5. Liberally grease a baking pan with olive oil, making sure to grease the sides as well as the bottom of the pan.  Pour the kugel mixture into the pan 
6. Spread the onion confit on top of the mixture

7. Slide the kugel into the oven, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 60-70 minutes. The onions will start to brown a bit and the kugel will feel firm to touch
8. Serve hot or at room temperature. You can make the kugel ahead of time - bake, cool, double wrap and freeze in the baking pan. Unwrap when you defrost and place in the oven after the kugel is defrosted to warm up a bit 
9. Serve in the baking pan or slice and place slices on a platter. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Nuggets (Kosher for Passover)

Thank you King Arthur Flour for the basic recipe!

This cookie is made in one bowl, mixed with a spoon, baked on a parchment paper lined pan. Prep is 10 minutes, clean up is faster!  This couldn't be easier! 

Cookie sheet
Parchment paper
Mixing bowl, measuring cup, mixing spoon, measuring spoon
Large mixing bowl

Ingredients and Procedure: 

Mix together: 
3 large egg whites 
1 cup confectioner's sugar (available for Passover)
2 Tbsp vanilla sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa

The mixture will be sticky, but will come together and look like thick fudge frosting. 

1 c chocolate chips
1 c chopped walnuts 

Mix well and drop by the tbsp,  onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  The mixture will make 18-24 medium size cookies. 

Bake in a pre-heated oven, 350 degrees, for about 9 minutes. The chocolate will begin to look set and dry. 

Slide the parchment off of the cookie sheet and cool the cookies completely on the parchment. 
Remove the cookies by sliding a metal spatula under the cookie. Store in a closed container, with either parchment or waxed paper between layers. 

* I think that chocolate chips and dried cranberries would work as well. If anyone tries this, please let me know!