These desserts taste good enough to serve any time of year. They have star power in terms of presentation and are award worthy in taste. There is something for everyone, a cold night dessert, two warm day ice cream treats, a rich chocolaty cake, a fruity crunchy sweet sensation, and a healthy option too. I’m making them all!

Chocolate Layered Ice Cream Bars

Photo by Con Poulos

Serves 15

These are a fantastic treat on Passover. They taste sweet and salty and are a favorite for Yom Tov day meals. They are also great because they can be made weeks ahead of time and stored in the freezer, tightly covered. Defrost slightly before cutting.

  • ¾ cup matzo farfel, toasted, and coarsely crumbled or ½ cup matzo cake meal
  • ½ cup walnut pieces (2 ounces), toasted
  • ½ cup broken Passover cookies or macaroons, coarsely crumbled
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into tablespoons
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pints pareve Passover ice cream, (I like to use mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip or vanilla swirl), slightly softened
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pareve whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang all around.

In a food processor, pulse matzo farfel until fine crumbs form. Place in a bowl and add walnuts and the coarsely chunked cookie crumbles.

In a large saucepan, melt the stick of margarine over very low heat. Add the brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Slowly drizzle the egg and vanilla into the saucepan, whisking, until thickened, 2 minutes. Mix in the walnut mixture. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish in an even layer and refrigerate the cookie base for 30 minutes.

Slightly soften ice cream and spread 1-1/2 pints of the ice cream over the cookie base and freeze for 2 hours. Reserve the remaining ice cream for another use.

In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate and pareve cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons of margarine. Heat over very low flame, stirring until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Pour melted chocolate over the ice cream and spread it evenly. Freeze for 2 hours, until set. Cut into small bars and serve.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Photo by eatyourcake.com

Serves 10

Very rich, decadent and chocolatey. This is a sensational dessert all year long. Do not overmix it or overcook it. It can be made a day or two ahead of serving.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine, plus more for pan
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon. pure almond extract (kosher for Passover)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • Pareve whipped cream, for serving

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch a springform pan with parchment and lightly grease pan.

In medium saucepan on medium-low heat, melt margarine and chocolate, stirring until combined. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Add sugar and mix to combine. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time until fully incorporated but do not overmix, then stir in almond extract and cocoa powder until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until just set in center, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Dust with cocoa and serve with whipped cream if desired.

Baked Apples Stuffed with Sweet Crumble

Photo by goodhousekeeping.com

Makes 4 large portions

This sweet and lighter dessert is made extra fancy with the sweet crumble. I serve it for late night meals when cooked fruit is a good way to end a heavier meal. These are best made fresh.

  • 1 cup crumbled macaroons or Passover cookies
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 stick cold margarine, diced
  • 4 Granny Smith apples (Rome beauty will substitute)
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider, sweet wine or orange juice
  • Accompaniment: Pareve vanilla ice cream

In a bowl combine macaroons, potato starch, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. Mix in margarine, rubbing mixture briskly between fingertips until it forms small moist clumps and is a little crumbly. Refrigerate while preparing the apples.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut a small layer off the bottom of each apple to create a flat, stable bottom surface. With a small paring knife or apple corer, cut out the top and core the apple. With a melon baller or a teaspoon, remove the remaining core and seeds taking care not to puncture the base of the apple. Place apples on a baking sheet or pie dish and drizzle each center and outside of apple with a teaspoon of honey. Spoon mixture into core, packing lightly until heaped and overflowing over sides of the apples. Pour apple cider over apples.

Bake for 40 minutes or until filling is golden brown and the tip of a paring knife can be inserted into the side of the apple with little or no resistance, if they start to get too soft while baking, loosely cover. Let apples stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with pareve vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Ice Cream and Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Photo by pinterest

Serves 8 - 10

I like both recipes here, the cookie and the sauce, on their own too but together it’s a wonderful layered dessert. Crunchy cookies, sweet creamy ice cream and sweet and tart fruity sauce.

For the cookies:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup neutral oil (like grape seed oil), plus extra for greasing pan
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 3 ¼ cups ground almonds
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Pareve Ice Cream

  • Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups ripe strawberries, stemmed, hulled, and roughly diced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon lemon zest
  • Garnish, fresh strawberries

For the cookies: Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Press in a piece of parchment paper that is big enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Grease the top and sides of the parchment. Set it aside.

Place the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla sugar into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add ground almonds and potato starch and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix to distribute.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the edges are brown, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Cool. Lift out the parchment and then cut into squares or bars. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to five days or freeze up to three months.

For the strawberry sauce: Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vinegar has thickened and reduced to ¼ of its original volume, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in strawberries, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until strawberries have released their juices and softened, about 5 minutes.

With an immersion blender, puree slightly, or until smooth with a few pieces or leave chunky if you prefer. Continue to simmer until sauce has thickened and is syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, then use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to a week.

To assemble:

In a decorative glass dish or bowl, place one slice of cookie bar. Top with a scoop of ice cream. Serve strawberry sauce either warm or at room temperature. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

Healthy-ish Passover Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Photo by aprettylifeinthesuburbs

Serves 8 - 10

My friend Adeena sent me this delicious cake recipe. It is extremely moist and fudgy with no hint of the zucchini. I tested it before Passover and the family had no idea it was chametz free. The almond butter adds richness and the zucchini gives it moisture. Make a few batches because it won’t last long.

  • 1 cup creamy almond butter
  • ⅓ cup pure Passover maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon Passover vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups of shredded zucchini, about 2 small ones
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch pan. Line the pan with parchment paper if removing as a whole cake (if you are cutting in pieces than it is not necessary).

In a large bowl combine the almond butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, salt, instant coffee, egg, vanilla, and baking soda until smooth. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips and nuts if using.

Pour into prepared pan and bake until just set and a toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs. Do not over bake. For a 9 x 9 inch pan, bake 35- 45 minutes, a smaller pan like an 8 x 8 will need approximately 40 – 50 minutes

Cut into slices and serve.

Lemony Chocolate Flecked Soufflés with Vanilla Cream

Photo Annabelle Breakey

Serves 6

These are light and fluffy and definitely present well on a special occasion. They do need to be made right before serving or the souffle will not stay puffy. On Yom Tov, I prepare them then while clearing the table or serving the last course I pop them in the oven to bake and serve them warm out of the oven.

Soufflés

  • 1 cup non-dairy whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon jam or lemon pie filling, optional
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 ounces, semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or shaved

Vanilla Cream

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup non-dairy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease six 10-ounce soufflé dishes or large ramekins and place them on a baking sheet.

Make the soufflés: In a small saucepan, bring the cream and lemon zest to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup sugar and the potato starch. Whisk in lemon juice and egg yolks until smooth. Whisk constantly, add the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture. Pour into saucepan and heat, whisking constantly, until thickened but do not boil. Transfer lemon cream to a large bowl and cool. Stir in lemon jam, if using.

In an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Slowly beat in ¼ cup sugar until soft peaks form. Fold ⅓ of egg whites into cooled cream to lighten. Then fold in remaining egg whites and chocolate.

Divide mixture into prepared soufflé dishes. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake 18 – 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown on top.

Make the vanilla cream: In a small bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Whisking constantly beat the hot cream into yolk mixture. Transfer custard to saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until custard coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve cream with soufflés.