Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Coincidentally Kosher These Cookies Are Easy to Make and Passover- Friendly

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Coincidentally Kosher These Cookies Are Easy to Make and Passover- Friendly

Article excerpt

It struck me as I was making these cookies for the first time earlier this winter: They're kosher for Passover! I had come across the recipe for Chocolate-dipped Florentines months earlier and stashed it in my "try sometime" file. The recipe attracted me with its few ingredients, ease of preparation and promised flavors. Nuts and chocolate -- what could be bad?

My invitation to a bring-something dinner with a few other women created the perfect occasion to try it.

I was thrilled with the results -- the Florentines looked like something a fancy bakery would turn out, quite an achievement for a middling baker like me. And they were delicious -- light and crisp, tasting of almonds and chocolate with a hint of orange. Made with ingredients we've now learned are part of a healthy diet, with a modest amount of sugar, they could be eaten with little guilt. The other women oohed and aahed when they saw them and later made sure I shared the recipe.

The fact that the cookies were within the dictates of Passover was, ahem, the icing on the cake. They joined my traditional Passover cookie favorite by not being specifically formulated for the holiday.

Unlike usual Passover baked goods, both of these recipes avoid matzo in any form and require no potato starch. They meet Passover requirements in that they don't include the flours and leavening agents prohibited by the holiday. (They're also, therefore, gluten- free.)

My traditional recipe, Chocolate-Chip Walnut Meringues, I bake and serve to family and friends, Jewish and non, throughout the year. The cookies are always adored. I suspect their appeal lies in their high proportion of nuts to egg whites. Unlike other meringues, which tend to be light and airy, these have the satisfying chew of a real cookie. My first bite, at a meeting at the house of a fellow member of my congregation during Passover many years ago, convinced me the recipe was a keeper. I even brought them to my sons-in-laws when they invited us for Thanksgiving dinner two years ago. I plan to make similar use of the Florentines.

Either or both of these cookies would make a wonderful light finish to the Passover Seder, the commemorative feast held the first two nights of the holiday. They also can be happily noshed throughout the eight days of the holiday when taste buds and digestive systems can balk at an overload of matzo.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED FLORENTINES

1 large egg white, at room temperature

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

Grated zest of half an orange (I used more)

13/4 cup blanched sliced almonds (I found this worked out to an 8- ounce bag)

1/4 cup to 1/3 cup chocolate chips or 2 to 3 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. …

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