Do you sometimes struggle with making delicious desserts for Passover? Do the holiday restrictions make it challenging to let your dessert creations really shine? Have you ever wanted to make a kosher for Passover dessert that is both delicious and ridiculous? Well, look no further! Your prayers have been answered.
Yes, I realize Passover is long over at this point, but as you may know, I often bake things several weeks in advance of when I write about them. If you read about it now, you can make it next year! Or you can make it as an anytime dessert, and not worry about it being kosher for Passover.
I wanted to make a dessert for Passover this year, and I remembered that last year I had found a bunch of recipes. So I looked through my bunch and decided on this one. It didn’t look too bad up front, but it’s not an insignificant amount of work. (Btw, there are great pictures and instructions in the original recipe to guide you through!)
I made this recipe parve, meaning it doesn’t contain milk or meat products. We normally have meat at the Passover meal, so I wanted it to be parve. (For a good overview of what all of this kosher talk means, check out my Passover recipe from last year.) This means I had to find non-dairy ingredients: margarine, caramel, chocolate. When you look at ingredient lists, you’d be surprised at what finds its way into different products. One thing that made it simpler than last year was a new ruling on kitniyot. Okay, granted I don’t keep up on religious news, but this came as quite a surprise. I had already been moving away from observing the kitniyot restrictions personally, but in trying to make a recipe that was considerate of my family, I was going to honor those rules. Now, I didn’t have to.
Some ingredient notes: I had some matzah cake meal left from last year. The box had two separate envelopes and I still had one left, so it was good to use. The recipe also called for baking powder. It might seem against the spirit of the holiday, but the research I did said that it was okay to use. The one I used had cornstarch in it (who knew), but the aforementioned ruling on kitniyot made that irrelevant. I used liquid egg whites. At a health food store, I found pre-made caramel sauce and mini chocolate chips which were non-dairy. (The mini chocolate chips were also adorable.)
I used my BFF the KitchenAid to mix the shortbread dough together. I skipped the kneading part and just mixed it. (Was that a mistake?) I measured the dough out. It looked like 1/4 inch to me. I wrapped it and stuck it in the freezer.
I setup a double boiler. I can’t remember when/if I’ve done one before. Some recipes call for one for melting chocolate, but I just do that in the microwave. It was fun. I used my new whisk for the first time. I had gotten one because a lot of recipes called for whisking the ingredients. I had generally been ignoring that, and just mixing or stirring. But I figured it was important with the egg whites. It turns out whisking is fun, too. I had to hold the bowl with one hand and whisk with the other to keep the bowl from sliding. The sugar dissolved pretty quickly.
I took the shortbread out of the freezer, and that’s when the
fun problems started. We have maybe the world’s smallest freezer, so I had to really move things around to make room. (How small is it? It’s so small, the ice cubes complain that it’s crowded. Actually, there’s so little room, we generally don’t have ice in there.) It was hard to set up a flat surface for it, so I did the best I could. Unfortunately, it was a little uneven and froze in that shape. When I tried to flatten it out, it broke in places. I was able to smoosh some of it back together as I was cutting it and it got closer to room temperature, but it was still a little bit of a mess. Interestingly, it smelled kinda like charoses. Maybe it was the cinnamon and honey?
So, I cut the shortbread. As I mentioned, it broke in places, but it was otherwise okay. I measured out what I thought should be the right size for the first few, and then kinda guessed my way through the rest. They were close, but some were clearly bigger and some were clearly smaller. I think that was okay though, as some people like bigger cookies, and some like smaller. I managed to line them all up on one baking sheet.
The recipe said to cook the shortbread and macaroons together, but I had the shortbread all ready and the oven had just finished preheating, so I figured I would bake the shortbread while I worked on the macaroons.
I made the macaroons while the shortbread was baking. They were very big compared to the shortbread, but I figured I would cut them down as suggested. Like the shortbread, some were bigger, some were smaller. When I baked them, some of the smaller ones got overcooked.
I let everything cool. I then attached the macaroons to the shortbread. I covered the shortbread with the caramel as instructed. I tried to cut down the macaroons, as they were way too big, but they didn’t cut so well. (Maybe I needed a better knife?) Instead of cutting cleanly, they kinda got ripped apart. It was a mess. And it took a while to get them all down to the right size. I did some matchmaking, trying to match them to similar sized shortbread. Towards the end, I realized that I could just cut them in half and they would still be a good size for the shortbread. Afterwards, I had a big ol’ pile of macaroon pieces.
Eventually, I got the macaroons all cut down and attached. They were not very elegant. They were very lumpy and big and uneven which made the next part a little challenging.
I melted the chocolate. Easy. I tried dipping the shortbread/macaroon combo into the chocolate. Not as easy. I wanted the chocolate to cover them completely. But it was hard to get the chocolate to fill in all the nooks and crannies of the oddly shaped cookies, which meant dipping and then spooning the chocolate several times. And then it was hard to get them back out without getting chocolate everywhere. (Maybe some kind of tool would have helped?) It was a mess.
I went through a lot of chocolate. I finished up all the chocolate I had bought for the recipe, which I thought would have been more than enough. Luckily I had enough other chocolate around to get through it all. I think the macaroons being big, trying to fill in all the nooks and crannies, and it being messy removing them from the chocolate all contributed to using a lot of chocolate. But finally I was able to cover them all. I cleared out room in the fridge and let them chill overnight.
My wife and I tried one and left the rest to chill (because they would have to be transported). They were good. The shortbread was okay, but it was clearly not regular shortbread. You could definitely taste the matzoh meal. The macaroon was good. The caramel was not super prominent. The chocolate was, well, chocolate. All in all it was good.
I put the cookies in plastic containers for the trip to Pennsylvania to celebrate Passover with my family. They traveled well. (No fights with the other passengers.) Once there, I put them in the freezer to chill until Passover. I had gotten there early to help my mom with cooking as I usually do. (It’s a big meal and requires a lot of preparation.) But I also got in extra early to go through family photos as part of my project to document all of our photo albums.
On the night of the seder, I took them out of the freezer so they could get closer to room temperature before we ate dessert. They were a mouthful, in more ways than one. It was a challenge just explaining them to people. If they knew what a Twix bar was, that was easy. Otherwise I described it as shortbread topped with caramel and a macaroon, and then covered in chocolate.
They went over well. People were really impressed and enjoyed them. Even a couple of people who don’t like coconut were won over by them. The recipe had made a bunch, but there was no problem with giving away the leftovers. They went quickly.
In retrospect, it was a much lengthier process than I had imagined. Between the shortbread getting messed up in the freezer, the macaroons being difficult to trim down, and the chocolate dipping taking a while and being a mess, it was a lot. I was up much later than I thought making them. Now don’t get me wrong, they were good, just a lot of work. Next time I think I’ll aim for something a little simpler. 😉
If you try them, let me know how they turn out for you. And if you have any special Passover dessert recipes that have worked well for you, I’d love to hear those as well.
Recipe courtesy of Kitchen Tested.