As a child I reluctantly ate the dry, stale macaroons that came in a can. I didn’t really like them, but I was unwilling to pass on a sweet. The first time I was invited to a seder as a young adult, I was asked to bring a desert. I couldn’t bring myself to buy any of the offerings at my local grocery store so I scoured acceptable substitute. The first recipe I made was overly complicated, but the results were delicious.
Over the years, I have experimented with many variations. Finally, I gave up and heavily modified a traditional macaroon recipe to make it passover friendly. When I make this recipe they are not technically kosher for passover, because the sweetened coconut doesn’t have the proper hechsher. But if you found a certified brand of sweetened coconut they could be…
Easy Passover Macaroons
Move over crumbly Passover cake and dry macaroons. These macaroons are sweet, light, and chewy.
- 14 oz sweetened shredded coconut (I usually use BAKER'S brand)
- 6 tbsp almond meal (I usually grind whole almonds in the food processor)
- 1 tbsp matzoh meal
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F
Whisk together egg whites, almond meal, matzoh meal, vanilla, and salt.
Add coconut and stir to combine. It can be hard to get it well mixed so don't hesitate to use your hands if necessary.
Mold tablespoons of dough into a tablespoon measuring spoon and carefully slide them onto a cookie sheet covered in a silicon mat or parchment paper. This will result in little domes. The cookies don't spread so they can be placed close together.
Bake for 20 minutes
Remove from the cookie sheet immediately and cool completely on a wire rack. The cookies won't brown except for slightly on the bottom and edges.
Melt chocolate chips and drizzle chocolate over the cookies
Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
I have been trying to make whole wheat challah using fresh milled flour for years with mixed success.
I have decided to start from scratch with a new recipe and make systematic modifications. The base recipe I will be using is here. For my first attempt, I made the recipe mostly as directed and found it to be basically good, but not sweet enough. Here is my plan for next time.
Honey Wheat Challah
Work in progress to create a optimized challah recipe for my family
- 320 g all purpose flour (2 2/3 cup)
- 475 g fresh milled hard white wheat (can substitute 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup honey (85 g)
- 1 cup warm water (~90 F)
- 4 eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg beaten for glazing
Combine first four ingredients in the stand mixer bowl and mix well
Combine honey, water, eggs, and oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix at low speed until well blended
Let sit for 15 minutes
Switch to dough hook and mix at speed 2 for 12-14 minutes.
Turn dough onto floured surface and kneed by hand until it passes the window test.
Put dough in greased bowl and cover with plate. Let rise 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Overnight modification: Put dough in greased bowl and cover with a plate. Put in fridge overnight. When ready to continue, take out of fridge and let sit on counter for 30 minutes or until doubled.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down and divide into 12 equal sized balls. Cover them with a damp towel and rest for 30 minutes.
Roll each ball into a long snake. Braid 4 snakes into a challah. This will result in 3 medium loafs.
Put loafs onto a sheet plan with a silicon mat and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow to proof until a indent doesn't spring back. About 30 minutes
Brush dough with beaten egg.
Bake until it reaches an internal temperature or 195 F. About 25 minutes. rotate half way though.
Cool before slicing.
To freeze: wrap individual challah in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag
To serve: thaw on counter for 24 hours. Wrap in foil and bake at 325 for 20 minutes to warm./p>
Areas for experimentation: hard red vs hard white flour, honey and egg quantities, rising and overnight.
My husband loves granola and I hate buying small overpriced bags at the grocery store. This recipe uses less oil and sweetener than many recipes, but it still comes out crisp and delicious. I usually eat it with greek yogurt.
Easy granola recipe for the entire family to enjoy.
- 3 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cardamon powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 325 F
Mix first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl
Whisk together vanilla extract, honey, and vegetable oil in a large measuring cup
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir well
Pour onto a sheet pan covered with a silicon mat or parchment paper
Bake about 25 minutes or until lightly brown. Stir every 10 minutes. Make sure not to over bake. It will darken and crisp up after it is removed from the oven.
Some night experimental cooking goes well. Some nights, like tonight, it does not and I end up needing a little something extra. I had a pint of blueberries in the fridge and I scoured my cookbooks to find a light dessert that I had all the ingredients for. No luck… more creative cooking to the rescue…
Individual blueberry crisps
These delicious desserts have so many whole grains you can almost convince yourself they are healthy 🙂
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 1/2 tbsp flour
- 2 tsp packed brown sugar
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 2 tbsp sliced almonds
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 F
Mix all ingredients in the filling together
Divide between 2 ramekins
Cut all ingredients in the Toping together with a pastry cutter
Spoon toping on top of the filling
Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes
This is one of those rare recipes that I consistently make almost exactly as written. I usually halve the olive oil and make it in a glass baking dish.
Okay, so I freely admit this recipe is kind of a pain and dirties every pan in the kitchen. It seems like it should be possible to achieve the same result with fewer steps and half the fat. To control cost and calories, I use 2% milk instead of cream, low fat sour cream, normal tomatoes, whole grain pasta, and I skip the breadcrumb topping. It is still kind of a pain to make, but it is absolutely delicious and slightly healthier than the original. One of these days I will get around to simplifying it and reducing the quantity.
For some reason, whenever I follow recipes for fish I end up with raw fish. I know I like fish more well done than most, but I usually like the fish I receive at restaurants. I bake this recipe at 350 F for 20 minutes and then I cover it with a plate for 10 minutes so the fish can finish cooking.
My daughter and I had oatmeal for lunch today. Oatmeal was one of her first solid foods and continues to be a favorite. Of course, the oatmeal I serve her now is very different than what I served her as a baby.
Baby Oatmeal (6 months+)
My daughter took one look at baby rice cereal and turned up her nose. I could hardly blame her. Fortunately, a neighbor told me I could make my own baby cereal using any whole grain. I also used this basic recipe with brown rice, but oatmeal was infinitely more popular.
- 1/4 cup oatmeal ground to powder in food processor or blender
- 3/4 cup water
Boil water in a small sauce pan.
Add oatmeal powder, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.
This basic recipe can be mixed with any fruit or vegetable puree for variety.
As my daughter grew, I started adding all kinds of random things to oatmeal. No fruit or vegetable was safe.
Young Toddler Oatmeal (8 months+)
This recipe is unlikely to appeal to most adults, but my daughter enjoyed it while she was getting used to different textures in food. It also sticks to a spoon, making it a great choice to practice self feeding.
- 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
- 1/2 cup water can use half water and half milk
- 1/4 cup bite size vegetables I used a frozen vegi mix containing corn, peas, and carrots
Combine first two ingredients in a large bowl and microwave for 4 minutes. Steam vegetables until soft (about 4-6 minutes). Stir vegetables into the oatmeal. Serve at room temperature
I love oatmeal too. After much experimentation I found a optimal recipe for us to enjoy together.
Applesauce oatmeal (18 months+)
I started making this recipe for my daughter and I to share. After several months, I found that I was getting hungrier and hungrier after lunch. Someone was eating an ever increasing proportion of our oatmeal. Now, my daughter gets her own bowl.
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- cinnamon to taste
Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl Microwave for 5 minutes. Stir in applesauce and cinnamon.
There are some days where cooking is hard, my daughter is fussy, and I forgot to go to the grocery store. This is a recipe for one of those days. If I cover the broiler pan in aluminum foil, it doesn’t even generate any dishes. I shamelessly copied this recipe from a friend who makes it frequently as a filling and slightly nostalgic lunch.
Basic recipe for busy days.
- 1 5 oz can tuna fish packed in water
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- 2 english muffins, split (I usually use whole grain)
Drain the tuna and divide between the english muffins
Cover tuna with a slice of cheese and sprinkle with paprika
Put sandwiches on a cookie sheet covered in foil
Broil until cheese is very bubbly and tuna is hot (about 8 minutes)
This is the only dessert I ever remember my father making. Why mess with perfection? The ingredients are easy to remember and the 1:1 proportions can be scaled to any size. I have made everything from a 1 apple crisp in a ramekin to a 9×13 inch pan full for a potluck. It always turns out well. This is my go to semi-healthy dessert.
It can also be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. The leftovers are delicious for breakfast.
Simple and delicious dessert packed with whole grains.
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup butter
- ~4 large apples
- 1 tbsp lemon juice optional
- 1 tbsp honey optional
Preheat the oven to 350 F
Combine the first six ingredients together in a large bowl and cut together with a pastry cutter
Peel and thinly slice enough apples to mostly fill a 9x9 baking dish
If apples are crisp or you are making ahead drizzle with a tablespoons of lemon juice over the apples
If desired, drizzle apples with honey to add sweetness
Pour topping over apples to form an even coating and press down lightly
Bake until apples are soft or about 45 minutes
I get my creative cooking from my mother. She has a meticulously organized recipe box full of hand printed recipes which bear little relation to what she actually cooks. Many of the recipes contain ingredients, but no instructions. The rest are more misleading then helpful because Mom has optimized the recipes for our family’s taste, but has not written down any of the alternations.
I have many wonderful memories of my Mom handing me a recipe card and listing off at least six ways that the card was inaccurate. This recipe contains most of the same ingredients as a recipe that appeared in my Grandmother’s temple cookbook. The proportions are made up, but it tastes almost as good as Moms.
Easy savory kuggle using ingredients available in the grocery store.
- 12 oz egg noodles
- 4 eggs
- 8 oz cottage cheese one small container
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 300 F
Cook noodles according to package instructions
Mix everything together in a large bowl
Pour into greased 13x9 inch baking pan
Bake for 1 hour