In a few days, Jews across the globe will gather around the Seder table to tell the ancient story of slavery and exodus from Egypt. The Passover Seder is full of symbolism; with herbs dipped in saltwater to evoke tears and droplets of wine marking ten brutal plagues, the meal is not lacking in theatrics. And, aside from the general theme of the holiday (not so uplifting) Passover has major potential from a foodie perspective.
In my opinion, limitations in cooking and baking are key. The recipe possibilities are truly endless, and sometimes I just need some direction. Food allergies? Bring it. Seriously. Your allergies help narrow things down.
Passover is famous for matzah, the cardboard-like crackery unleavened constipator. In keeping with the symbolism of the holiday, Passover calls upon the Jews to abstain from leavening agents in order to remember the haste with which we were forced to leave Egypt (no time for our breads to rise when Pharaoh is on a rampage). But the key is not to replace or substitute – just use the boundaries as a direction when cooking and baking.
Which brings us to one of my favorite desserts year-round. Check out the recipe below, adapted from Ina Garten. It is the definition of minimalist and takes less than 30 minutes to make…AND is Passover appropriate*, if you’re into that kind of thing.
*Sweetened condensed milk with corn syrup is not Kosher for Passover – but there are common brands that make it sans corn syrup (just milk and sugar). There are also plenty of recipes out there that use easy substitutions!
1 bag (14 oz) of sweetened flaked coconut
1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk
2 egg whites
1 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips*
*I dunked the finished product in melted chocolate to add a wow-factor. See directions here on melting chocolate.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the condensed milk, coconut shreds, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until fluffy and foamy. I used an electric whisk, but you could whisk by hand (it would just take a bit longer).
Combine the egg whites with the main mixture and fold in until fully incorporated.
Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it or with non-stick spray. Use a spoon to shape the batter into 1 inch balls; I also used my hands to shape them, but it was messy.
Bake for 25 minutes.
The macaroons will still be soft and delicate when fresh from the oven so make sure not to try to move them from the baking sheet until they have cooled for a couple of minutes. Transfer to wax paper or a cooling rack.
Once fully cooled, you can do the optional melted chocolate dip. Use a small spatula or knife to coat the bottom, then set on wax paper so that the chocolate side is not facing down. Place in the freezer to set.
I also made a batch of cinnamon walnut macaroons. When combining the sweetened condensed milk with the coconut, I added in 3/4 of a cup of chopped walnuts and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Stir thoroughly and follow the same directions for baking!