Saturday, April 4, 2020

CHOCOLATE BROWNIES: 4 Recipes for Passover

Passover isn't going to be the same this year, as we're all Sheltering-in-Place. This is a good time to reflect about our lives and history, adversary and plagues, family and community. Many synagogues and organizations are hosting 'virtual' seders, and your family can always set up a Zoom Seder. But, the reality is we won't all be together. This changes preparation for the seder, and the actual ingredients for some of your favorite Passover foods may not be available.

Nevertheless, I will be posting chocolate Passover recipes over the next week. Passover begins Wednesday night, April 8, and if you observe the Passover holiday (8 days) you won't be eating any leavened food products. So in terms of chocolate baking you need to tweak some things, starting with not using flour. This doesn't mean you can't have Chocolate Cake, Brownies, or Cookies.. just an adjustment. And, if you're gluten-free, you'll love the first recipe. Baking without flour shouldn't be a problem, and these recipes are great any time, not just for Passover.

So for Passover week, here are 4 different recipes for Passover Brownies. Think of them as Flourless Brownies! You love Flourless Chocolate Cake, right? Try all the recipes and let me know which you like best. Do you have your own favorite recipe for Passover Brownies? Be sure and share by linking below.

These first two recipes I adapted from recipes I found on Chowhound in 2008.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #1

Ingredients
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (not chocolate chips)
8 ounces finely chopped or ground almonds (or almond flour)
Pinch of salt

Directions
Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg yolks.
Melt chocolate over double boiler (or over saucepan over saucepan with simmering water). Cool and add to butter mixture. Add finely ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
Pour into 9" square greased baking tin.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 45-50 min.
Cool and cut into squares.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #2

Ingredients
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup of matzo cake meal
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup DARK cocoa
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Mix oil and sugar.
Add eggs and mix again.
Sift matzo cake meal and cocoa together and add to mixture.
Fold in nuts and mix thoroughly.
Grease 8x8 pan and pour in batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Cool and cut in squares.

This third recipe is originally from Gourmet 2000 ( Epicurious). It calls for a Chocolate-Wine Glaze, and you might want to try that. I like my brownies unadulterated, but I've tried the chocolate-wine glaze, and it's delicious. Nothing quite like chocolate and Manischewitz!

Passover Chocolate Brownies #3

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted margarine (if keeping brownies pareve) or butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp finely grated fresh orange zest
3/4 cup matzo cake meal
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with wax paper or greased foil.
Melt chocolate and margarine (or butter) in metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Beat eggs, sugar, and salt in large bowl with electric mixer on high until pale and thick. Beat in chocolate in 3 batches on low speed. Stir in zest, matzo meal, and nuts just until blended.
Spread batter in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until firm and tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack, then invert onto a platter and remove paper or foil.
Cut into Squares.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #4

Ingredients
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup matzoh cake meal
2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 Tbsp potato starch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8-inch square baking dish.
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of another saucepan with simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
In mixing bowl, stir together cake meal, cocoa powder, and potato starch.
Combine eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until light and creamy – about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture until smooth, then add cake meal mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Batter is thick.
Fold in chopped nuts and spread in prepared baking dish.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until entire surface has puffed slightly. Brownies will still be moist in center.
Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.

I especially love Passover Brownies #4--very, very fudgy!!! Of course, I use very good chocolate! It really makes a difference!!!

Friday, April 3, 2020

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE: 2 Recipes for National Chocolate Mousse Day

Today is National Chocolate Mousse Day. Well, actually there are two Chocolate Mousse Days during the year. That's o.k. because Chocolate Mousse is something to celebrate more than once. And, in honor of the day, I'm posting 2 'healthy' chocolate mousse recipes for Avocado Chocolate Mousse. It's really delicious and simple to make! You've probably made guacamole, and you've had avocado toast. Now try Chocolate Avocado Mousse! You're going to love it! It's full of healthy nutrients and anti-oxidants.

1. Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Recipe adapted from The 10 Things You Need to Eat: And More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Them

Ingredients
12 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1 large, ripe Haas avocado, pitted and peeled
3/4 cup light brown sugar
6 egg whites

Directions
Melt chocolate with cinnamon and chili powder in double boiler over hot water and set aside. Purée avocado and brown sugar in food processor until smooth. With machine running, pour in chocolate mixture. Using stand mixer or whisk, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites. Pour mousse into 6 small serving bowls or wineglasses and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or covered overnight.

2. Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
4 very ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Directions
Place chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) in small bowl. Place over small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Place melted chocolate, avocados, agave, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Spoon into glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (can be prepared 1 day in advance).

Thursday, April 2, 2020

PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY BROWNIES: 3 recipes for Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!

Today is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day. This all American combination is usually thought of as the ultimate kid's sandwich. Not by me. I was a fussy eater as a kid... so glad that's behind me. At camp in the summer, if a camper didn't like lunch or dinner food, they were given peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Well, I didn't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Of course, if they had added chocolate, it might have been a different story!

I still don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I always grab the chance to pair up these foods with chocolate. So here are three recipes for Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies. As always, you can substitute the very best ingredients to achieve that perfect brownie!

PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY BROWNIES

#1 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies 
from James Boyce, chef-owner of Cotton Row, Huntsville, Alabama. His brownies and jam are homemade, and he uses chunky peanut butter for crunch. This recipe appeared in Spirit Magazine, Southwest Airlines

Ingredients:
2 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed melted butter
4 two-inch square brownies
4 Tbsp peanut butter (crunchy is best!)
4 Tbsp strawberry jam
4 Tbsp chocolate chips

Directions:
Lay one sheet of dough on work surface and brush with butter. Top with another sheet, brush with butter, then cut into four 8-by-8 inch squares. Place one brownie on each square.
Top each brownie with one tablespoon each of peanut butter and jam, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cinch dough around brownies and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Bake at 425ºF for 5 minutes, or until dough starts to brown.

#2 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies
from the Nestle Very Best Baking site: 1st Prize winning recipe created in the kitchen of Jim Bradley of Chicago, IL.

Ingredients
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/4 cup sweet butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Morsels
1/3 cup strawberry jam

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch-square baking pan.
Place semi-sweet morsels and butter in large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until mixture is melted. Add brown sugar and peanut butter to chocolate mixture; beat on medium speed for 1 minute or until well mixed. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually stir in flour. Stir in white and peanut butter & milk chocolate morsels. Spread into prepared pan. Drop jam by spoonfuls onto batter. Swirl with a knife.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out still slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

#3 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies
From Kraft Recipes

Ingredients
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup strawberry jam

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat sugar, peanut butter and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and salt; beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate.
Line 9-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil. Spread batter into prepared pan. Drop jam by spoonfuls over batter; swirl with knife to marbleize.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan. Lift dessert from pan, using foil handles. Cut into 24 squares to serve.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

CHOCOLATE VINEGAR CAKE aka Wacky Cake, Crazy Cake, Depression Cake & Shelter-in-Place Chocolate Cake #4

This moist Chocolate Vinegar Cake is simple to make and perfect for these crazy, wacky, depressing Shelter-in-Place times. This cake is also known as Depression Cake, Crazy Cake, and Wacky Cake.

During the Depression and WWII there was a shortage of eggs and butter and milk, so this cake found its way into the ovens and hearts of many. Elevate it for 2020 with chocolate butter cream frosting or whipped cream and strawberries. But this cake doesn't really need it. It's delicious the way it is! It's great to make for a pot-luck or for a last minute dessert or for your family while you're Sheltering in Place to avoid the Corona Virus.

CHOCOLATE VINEGAR CAKE aka

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour 
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
10 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 Tbsp vinegar  (I like Cider Vinegar, but white distilled is fine, too)
2 tsp pure vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil (try sunflower oil, if you have it, but any will do)
2 cups cold water

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 13 x 9 baking pan.
Sift dry ingredients into large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Mix with large spoon until smooth.
Pour into prepared greased and floured pan.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Optional: It doesn't need it, but you can sprinkle with powdered sugar, frost with ganache or buttercream, or top with whipped cream and strawberries!