My in-box is full of questions about ideas and short-cuts for making Passover. For many of you, it’s your first time making Passover and I truly understand it can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, once you take a deep breath and make a few lists, you'll be all set. There are incredible resources like the OU app and Rabbi Blumenkrant Passover app (well worth the $7) that help with products and ingredients, and of course the Aish.com library of recipes and my Passover website, www.gourmetpassovercooking.com for recipes and menus.

My advice, keep it simple, stay away from complicated recipes that have a lot of heavy ingredients that overwhelm the dish and add a lot of artificial taste. Next week, we will get to fresh side dishes and salads, while today, I share some treats that freeze well and taste good. These are desserts and on-the-go snacks that kids and adults love. They are simple enough that you can put your kids in charge of making these for you and free up some time to get those delicious main dishes prepped. And while not healthy, they are better than the store-bought equivalents. I double most and freeze them. Chag Sameach and happy cooking!

Fully Loaded Cookie Bars

Serves 24

Recipe and photo by Paula Shoyer, from her book The Passover Menu This is one of my favorite recipes from Paula’s book, The Passover Menu. I agree with her, this is my go-to snack, quick sweet treat this Passover.

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cottonseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 3 ¼ cups ground almonds
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chip or 1 bag chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
  • ⅓ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ⅓ cup dried shredded coconut
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Press in a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom and sides. Grease the top and sides of the parchment.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer on medium or mix well with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the ground almonds and potato starch and mix well. Add the chocolate chips, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, coconut, raisins, and cranberries and mix to distribute.

Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until edges are brown and a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool. Lift out the parchment and then cut into squares or bars.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

  • ⅔ cup matzo cake meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (reduce to ½ teaspoon if you almond butter contains any added salt)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
  • ⅔ cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the matzo cake meal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the almond butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the matzo mixture. Mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. The dough will be very sticky!

Scoop 2 tablespoon rounds of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake each batch for 9-11 minutes. Cool 2 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

Makes 30 cookies

Recipe courtesy of Geula Hocherman author from Kosher Revolution

GKC loves this book!

  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ¾ cup matzo cake meal, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons red wine or cream sherry (if available for Passover)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roughly chopped unsalted pistachios or slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a mini food processor, grind the whole almonds as finely as possible. Transfer to a large bowl and add the starch, cake meal and baking powder. Stir to combine well and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine 2 eggs and the yolk from the third (reserve the extra white). Whisk at medium speed until you reach a light lemony color. Gradually whisk in the sugar until fully incorporated, then whisk in the sherry, cranberries and pistachios. Reduce the speed to low, add the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture forms a firm but sticky dough.

Wet your hands, divide the dough into 4 portions, and working on the cookie sheets, form each into an oblong log about 14 x 2 inches, making sure the ends are equal in thickness to the rest of the log. Beat the reserved egg white and brush on the top and sides of the logs. Bake until the dough is firm, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool, 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the logs on a cutting board and, with a serrated knife, slice the logs diagonally into ½-inch pieces. Line the cookie sheets with fresh parchment paper and transfer the pieces on their sides to both sheets. Bake until dry, turning the biscotti once, about 40 minutes.

Transfer the biscotti to racks to cool. Serve, or store in airtight tins or in resealable plastic bags in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Passover and Gluten-Free Quinoa Brownies

Makes 16 brownies

  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • 4 oz. (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup quinoa flour (or other flour like almond flour)
  • ½ cup toasted nuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray an 8×8-inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium saucepan, melt butter/margarine and chocolate over medium heat, stirring until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.

Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale; beat in the chocolate mixture, vanilla sugar and salt. Add flour and beat on low speed or stir just until blended. Stir in nuts, if using.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until just set and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Passover Banana Bread

Serves 10

Delicious with store-bought chocolate sauce or some pareve ice cream on top.

 

  • 3 bananas (about 1-½ cups), mashed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Passover vanilla sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup safflower or cottonseed oil
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix bananas, eggs, vanilla sugar, honey and oil in a food processor. Fold in almond flour, salt and baking soda and mix until smooth, but do not over-mix.

Grease a 7.5 x 3.5 loaf pan. Spoon batter into pan. Bake for 55- 60 minutes. Cool and remove from the pan. Serve with store-bought chocolate sauce or pareve ice cream.

Sweet Potato Almond Butter Muffins

Makes 12 - 16 muffins

My kids eat these right out of the pan. Super tasty and very filling, both unique and a big winner on Passover.

  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup sweet potato puree or sweet potato baby food
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cottonseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk
  • 1 cup matzo cake meal
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup roasted salted almond butter plus another few teaspoons almond butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix egg, sweet potato puree, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla sugar and mix. Add almond milk and stir.

In a small bowl, stir matzo cake meal, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, until just combined. Add to the sweet potato mixture and mix gently until all ingredients are wet.

Spoon batter into muffin tins until filled ⅔ to the top. Then drop about 1 tsp almond butter onto the center of each muffin and gently swirl around with a toothpick or knife.

Bake for 20-22 minutes (or more) until golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and let rest in tins for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack to let cool completely.