Baking is a lot like a grade 7 science fair project (in fact, it WAS my grade 7 science fair project!), especially when it comes to the restrictions of baking for Passover. You make an observation (“Passover baked goods are dry and disgusting”), ask a question (“How can I fix this problem and make something that doesn’t taste like sawdust?”), form a hypothesis (“If I bake without the usual Passover substitutes such as potato starch and cake meal, then perhaps the end result won’t be so sawdust-y”), conduct an experiment (“Bake without said ingredients”), and then either accept or reject your hypothesis and draw conclusions.
In the true spirit of Passover, Jay and I spent the vast majority of the day today cleaning in preparation for the start of the holiday (thanks in part to the array of cleaning ladies who continue NOT to show up on their specified day), and once we were sufficiently exhausted, I decided to conduct a Pesach experiment by baking chocolate cookies. Or, at the least that’s the way it began. I discovered quite quickly that once you remove the flour from a recipe, the likelihood that the batter would actually form the shape of a cookie was pretty much impossible (full disclosure: I’ve never baked flourless anything before, or anything Pesadic before). Once the batter was mixed, I spooned it out onto a cookie sheet and watched it spread into a chocolatey puddle. So, in the true spirit of a scientific experiment, I altered my methodology so that I might be able to accept my original hypothesis. Deciding to cut my losses, I transferred the remaining batter to a pyrex baking dish and decided to opt for chocolate flourless brownies instead of cookies.
In addition to these diversions from the original recipes, I had to make a few other adjustments to ensure that the recipe met the dietary specifications of the holiday. Did you know that vanilla extract is not kosher for passover because of the fermentation process it undergoes? It never even crossed my mind! Luckily I had a bottle of maple syrup, a suitable vanilla extract substitute, in my fridge (since the ONLY time of the year that I make pancakes is Passover). The original recipe called for 2 to 4 egg whites – I ended up using 5, because the batter was SO thick with all 4 that I couldn’t even stir it! I also scoured the city looking for kosher for passover unsweetened Dutch process cocoa, which I had never heard of before but the recipe called for. Turns out, there is a BIG difference between regular cocoa and Dutch process cocoa, specifically when a recipe does not call for baking soda or baking powder. You can read about it here.
Anyway, just like the Jews experimenting with the preparation of unleavened bread upon their exodus from Egypt, my experiment turned out pretty okay for a Passover sweet. No sawdust taste in sight!
Chag sameach – if you have any fantastic kosher for passover desserts, share it in the comments below!
Flourless Chocolate Brownies
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
4 – 5 egg whites
1 tbsp maple syrup (or vanilla extract if you are not making this on passover)
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (go for the parve variety if you’re serving these at a seder)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt.
- Once mixed thoroughly, add in the egg whites and maple syrup, and whisk until fully combined into a thick batter.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Grease a medium sized baking dish, and pour mixture into dish.
- Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until middle is solid. Cut and enjoy!