Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.

Why is this cookie different from all other cookies?

Posted: March 24, 2010 | Author: Rita | Filed under: Rita | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

Keeping kosher year-round is already challenge enough but with the start of Passover at sundown this Monday, March 29th, restrictions are especially tight. Chametz, or leavened breads and grains are the big no-no for this holiday, which means no food or drink that is fermented or can cause fermentation is allowed to be eaten. So, no bread, cake, high fructose corn syrup, or most alcohols for me for a while! If you’re an Ashkenazi Jew, meaning an Eastern European background, rice and kitneot, beans, are additionally off-limits. This is a custom strictly followed by many Ashkenazim, but since my great-grandparents hail from Turkey and Syria, bring on the lentil soup! In the end it almost doesn’t matter, however, because most family friends who join us for the seders are Ashkenaz and my family wouldn’t serve anyone something they couldn’t eat. That’d be terribly ironic.

So: no bread, check. No rice or beans (for others), check. What about cookies?

The ubiquitous kosher-for-passover cookie is the dreaded macaroon which, sure, lots of people enjoy but that I detest. Awkward and lumpy, it comes from a can and tastes like fake coconut. Ugh. For years I thought that the french macaron cookie was the same thing but in French. Not so. By contrast, the macaron is elegant, sweet and usually colorful. Not lumpy at all, it’s a dainty, chewy sandwich and thoroughly chic. It turns out they too are kosher for Passover! I’m thrilled! Finally, an alternative to “delightful” post-seder desserts like chocolate covered matzah or gummy fake fruit slices. Trust me, you don’t want to eat those.

Macarons can be a bit tricky to recreate since they’re more of a bakery delight but here is a simple recipe you can try at home. May it sustain you during this restrictive holiday!

Parisian Passover Coconut Macarons
(From “1,000 Jewish Recipes” by Faye Levy)

The secret to keeping these moist and light is to make them with Italian meringue, a mixture of beaten egg whites beaten with boiling sugar syrup. Use finely grated unsweetened coconut, which is available at natural foods stores, fine supermarkets and some ethnic markets. Can be served plain or filled with a high-quality jam or a buttercream frosting.

1 4 cups sugar
w cups water
3 egg whites
3 cups (8 ounces) unsweetened
grated coconut

Position two racks in oven and preheat oven to 325F. Grease two or three baking sheets and sprinkle on matzah meal or potato flour, shaking off excess.

Prepare Italian meringue: Combine sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Boil without stirring for three minutes. Begin whipping egg whites at low speed and continue whipping until stiff.

Meanwhile, boil syrup until it reaches the softball stage (238F on a candy thermometer). Gradually pour hot syrup onto stiff egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Continue beating mixture until cooled to room temperature. Stir in coconut.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (about half-inch diameter, No. 4), pipe mixture onto prepared baking sheets in rosettes or peaked mounds of about one-inch diameter, spacing them about one inch apart. Alternatively, moisten your fingers and shape the mixture in peaked mounds of about one-inch diameter.

Bake until ridges or peaks of macaroons turn light brown, but rest of surface remains pale in color, 12-13 minutes; they should be just firm enough so they can be removed from baking sheet without losing their shape. Halfway through baking time, switch positions of baking sheets from lower to upper racks so all bake evenly.

Using a metal spatula, very carefully remove macaroons from baking sheet and transfer to a rack to cool.

Makes 50 to 60 macarons

3 Comments on “Why is this cookie different from all other cookies?”

  1. 1 Bakezilla said at 5:48 pm on March 25, 2010:

    I actually love Macaroons! They’re one of my favorites. But I love coconut, so…

    Have a good Passover!

  2. 2 Joh said at 12:46 pm on March 26, 2010:

    Ok, I love macarons. There is a cafe that sells them just across the street from my job. It’s dangerous. But yes, these are lovely. And so many variations! Avocado! Pomegranite! Peanutbutter-Banana! You can make the cookie and the filling and they can all be amazing! Chocolate-Raspberry! I think Gourmet ran a feature on them a few years ago. We should have a PGMM party! Pretty Girls Make Macarons — thoughts?

  3. 3 Rita said at 4:53 pm on March 26, 2010:

    One of the best I’ve had is the passion fruit macaron at Madeline Cafe on W. 23rd! I love that they can come in so many flavors. Where have you seen avocado??

    I’d be down with a PGMM party or a PG party anytime, anywhere. ;)

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Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.