When it comes to Passover and any other diet-restricting events or circumstances, I’m a firm believer in eating things you’d enjoy any other time. Forget matzah-meal muffins and “Passover rolls.” I’d rather eat undressed lettuce and oranges for a week straight than endure those lame excuses for bread. Gluten-free folks may feel differently, since their restrictions aren’t temporary; for the rest of us, I strongly recommend sticking to recipes for delicious things that happen not to call for flour.
For our eating pleasure, I’ve compiled a small list of flourless baked goods. These are recipes I’ve gathered over the years — one as recently as last week — that help ease the annoyance of going without bread for a week (or more).
Chocolate Puddle Cookies
Courtesy of the lovely Heidi at 101cookbooks, the batter for these cookies looks like, well, a big puddle, but the blobs bake up into crackly, tender morsels. They take approximately 15 minutes, start to finish, and are the perfect answer to a sudden cookie craving.
3 cups / 11 oz / 310 g walnut halves, toasted & cooled
4 cups / 1 lb / 453 g confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons / 2 oz / 60 g unsweetened cocoa powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon real, good-quality vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make sure your walnuts have cooled a bit, then chop coarsely and set aside. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder together. Stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
At this point you have two options: you can either add the salt to the batter and stir, or you can sprinkle a bit of salt atop each cookie. I like the second option, because you get a more prominent hit of salt with each bite.
Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. Don’t try to get more than 6 cookies on each sheet, as the cookies expand a lot in the oven. For the same reason, don’t scoop the batter too close to the edge of the pan.
Bake about 12-15 minutes, watching carefully at the 12-minute mark: the tops should be glossy and cracked. If your oven is very uneven, rotate pans side to side and/or back to front halfway through. My cookies didn’t need a second longer than 12 minutes.
Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight container for a couple days.
Makes 18 large cookies.
Italian Chocolate Almond Torte
From Alice Medrich’s wonderful book Pure Dessert, this cake is sophisticated and elegant, finished with a dusting of cocoa and topped with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream. Your guests will never know its main ingredients are almond flour and egg whites. Another lovely surprise is the flakes of ground, not melted, chocolate running through the batter. I’ve spent the past three weeks searching for my images of this torte, but I’m afraid they’ve been lost in the tangle of pictures that is my laptop. Imagination will have to suffice.
Italian Chocolate Almond Torte
adapted slightly from Alice Medrich’s wonderful book, Pure Dessert
1 cup (5 oz) blanched or unblanched whola almonds
7 oz. high-quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 large egg whites (about 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
powdered sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
unsweetened whipped cream for serving
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine almonds, chocolate, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt and pulse until almonds and chocolate are very fine but “not completely pulverized.” Alternatively, you can use almond flour and just pulse the chocolate — but grinding fresh almonds will give this cake a great texture.
In a very clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl using a hand mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar to egg whites, and continue beating until egg whites form stiff peaks but are not dry. Gradually add almond mixture to egg whites, in thirds, folding the two together with a spatula.
Scrape the batter into the springform pan and use spatula to smooth out the top. Bake until the torte has risen and is golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted comes out with nothing more than some melted chocolate on it, 25-30 minutes (mine took 25 exactly). Set the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes, then slide a knife around the perimeter of the cake and carefully remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto the rack — or, if the grates on your rack aren’t fine enough, use a plate — and remove the bottom of the pan and then the parchment liner. Use two plates to flip the cake rightside up again, and cool completely. Cover the cake or tightly wrap it, and store for up to 3 days at room temperature.
To serve, dust with cocoa, and top each slice with a dallop of unsweetened whipped cream.
Meringues are, in my opinion, the ultimate Passover dessert. They’re flourless, thoroughly enjoyable, and highly customizable. Last year, my mom and I made some several varieties. One had chopped walnuts and a bit of coffee (they were divine), another had plenty of vanilla and a sprinkle of chocolate chips. The possibilities here are limited only by your imagination. Try adding lemon or orange zest to a batch with pecans, or almond extract and a bit of cocoa for a totally different flavor. I’ve already written out the recipe for meringues here.
The ultimate in flourless delicacies, Macarons are having a moment in the spotlight these days. They’re a pain in the derriere to make, but when you put these out at the end of your Seder or dinner party, guests will know you’re their biggest fan. Recipe and detailed instructions for macarons can be found here.
But hold up! We’re already talking about dessert and you haven’t even finished making dinner! I hear ya. If you’re still trying to sort out the rest of your Passover menu, here are a few ideas:
- Stuffed Squash with Quinoa, Pears, and Cranberries
- Tamarind Cherry Meatballs
- Crisp Potato Eggplant Tart
- Spinach and Roasted Pepper Gratin
- Roasted Vegetable Terrine
- Cauliflower Soup (bacon isn’t Passover friendly, but the soup is delicious all the same)
- Eggplant Involtini with Feta
- Butternut Squash and Creamed Spinach Gratin
Comments on this entry are closed.
Great timing! Am just planning passover dinner and alot of these look really inviting.
made the puddle cookies the other day from a recipe in the NYT. my boyfriend is hooked, and i must say, they are delicious and rather addictive!
The macarons look amazing! I’d love to try to make a similar cookie without egg, but it would probably be impossible, no?
i love that you have this post right after the babka one…
i made the chocolate ones last year, and they were a big hit -i used pecans, which i love with chocolate, and wanted a variation on almonds since i was making other things with almonds.
i also made thin ‘cookies’ with sliced blanched almonds, powdered sugar, lemon or orange zest, and egg whites. can’t remember where i got the recipe, but were a big hit too – almost like toasted, sugared almonds. thin and light.
Rivka, I made your pears roasted with ginger & cocoa–yum! I plan to make them for Pesach too. I wondered, do you peel the pears first when you make that?
Trinity — I’m pretty sure eggs are the key ingredient in these cookies, and I don’t really know a way to make them without eggs. If you figure it out, let us know!
Chanie — yes, the contrast with the babka is, er, stark. Would love to see your recipe for the toasted almond cookies — those sound delish.
Trish — For the sliced pear chips, I’ve tried peeled and unpeeled. Both work. Enjoy!
found them! not mine, david leibovitz —
i did without the chocolate, since i was using them as part of a ‘chocolate fondue’ desert for the seder. (which we are doing again this year)
they also work better as part of a platter with the above chocolate cookies without the chocolate.
also made these —
(though maybe it was another recipe – i seem to remember a pot being involved. but i’m sure this is good too)
i multiplied all three recipes, and had them around for most of the holiday – with family and friends stopping in, it was a nice combo. all are relatively easy – no mixer, one bowl, and three, easy, varied, cookies.
now i’m trying to remember what i did with all the yolks…lemon curd?
These recipes sound great, and definitely come at the right time. One thing though – for the people who follow the no corn rule during Passover – those puddle cookies might not be allowed. Usually powdered sugar includes cornstarch.
I might make a flourless chocolate cake – I’ve always been meaning to try it and now is the perfect time!
Enjoy your passover!
Jen, thanks for the comment! I think the best way to get around this is to use ultra-fine sugar (or just process sugar in a food processor until very fine), then add a bit of potato starch to compensate.
Do you know about Matzo Brittle? Everyone I know can’t get enough of it. Totally simple, 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans and about three pieces of matzo. Bring the butter and sugar to a boil, stir in the pecans, pour over the matzo and bake for about 8 minutes. There are some recipes online that all call for chocolate chips, which sounds good but somehow not quite as amazing as this “pure” variety.
Yes — people are just obsessed with the stuff! I myself am just not keen on matzah, in any form, but the brittle is probably the easiest way to help it go down.