Sunday, April 20, 2014

Improvisational Flour-less Chocolate Cake

Before Pesach I made Brownies, but I overcooked them and forgot to add nuts. They were a bit disappointing.  This week I wanted something chocolaty, but more moist and less traditional. I whipped these up:



LOL: Prunes "without a nucleus"
  • 2 small carrots, peeled
  • 2 red apples, peeled
  • 2 bags (400 grams/ 14 oz.) of pitted plums
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 c oil
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 bags (400 grams) walnuts, chopped
  • fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Salt

Bake at 350 F/170 C for about 20 minutes depending on ingredients and thickness.

I encourage you to experiment with leftovers to make your own cakes and brownies. 

Do you have leftover cooked sweet potato, charoset, or applesauce? Over-ripe bananas, peaches, or pears? Throw it in! Add finely ground nuts for body. (Feel free to add baking soda or baking powder.)

I especially love to cook with kids and give them the reins with what and how much to add.
Please comment and tell me about your own baking improvisations.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chewy Chocolate Almond Hazelnut Cookies - Gluten Free

These are the easiest no-fail special Passover dessert and snack. I just can't get enough!

Based on Faye Levy's Almond Macaroons, posted by Miriyummy.

For one batch, I would recommend a minimum food processor capacity of 1 liter or 1 quart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (preferably substitute some regular sugar with vanilla sugar)
  • 1/4-1/2 cocoa powder (depending on your taste)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (depending on your taste)

  1. Grind nuts and half the sugar in a food processor until medium-fine.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend to a fine paste.
  3. Preheat oven to 170 C/350 F.
  4. Line 1-2 pans with parchment paper.
  5. Dampen hands, then form small balls of "dough" and flatten slightly. (I had my kids do this. They were slow, but it kept them busy.)
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes. The cookies should darken, but stay chewy on the inside.
  7. Keep in an air tight container for at least a week.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

In the time I saved making this sauce (compared to traditional recipes), I was able to tell you about it! Traditional recipes involve chopping the ingredients, adding them to a pan at specific intervals, and lots of standing over the pan/pot and stirring. Sauce can also be made in a pressure cooker much faster, but you always run the risk of burning it or under cooking it, since you can't peak.

The dry heat of the oven gives the ingredients a deep flavor without the need to stand over a frying pan.

Ingredients:


Basic:

  • tomatoes, preferably ripe
  • onions (I used sweet and purple onions)
  • olive oil

Optional:

  • bell peppers (I used red and green)
  • garlic (whole cloves)
  • mushrooms
  • chili peppers
  • fresh or dried herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • vinegar or dry white wine
  • sugar or honey
  1. Cut up all the vegetables into relatively similar sized chunks - about quarters for the tomatoes.
  2. Remove any tomato seeds which come out easily and quickly, but without wasting a lot of time.
  3. Toss with olive oil in a large pan, or pans.
  4. Roast on high or broil until the edges are browning, probably at least half an hour. Stir/toss/flip or rotate at least once.
  5. Add spices to taste and let cool.
  6. Use a hand blender or pulse in a food processor to desired consistency.

This batch is mostly for shakshuka which I plan to serve for supper on Wednesday this week during Passover. I will serve it with homemade fermented chili sauce on the side. And maybe some fresh lemonade.

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