April 6, 2010

Passover Recipes: Raspberry Squares, Honey Nut Cake, & Matzah Crack

Passover is great for someone with a sweet tooth (<---THIS GIRL!) and bad for someone who wants to stay in shape (<---also, THIS GIRL). Thanks to the glorious interwebz, I had no trouble finding good passover dessert recipes for this year. And when I say good, I really mean it! These raspberry squares are good enough to make year round, if you wanted. The topping gets crisp and crunchy, while the bottom slowly absorbs the jam and softens ever-so-slightly. I've been nibbling on the leftovers all week long.

Raspberry Squares
adapted from Cara's Cravings

1 cup sugar
1 cup matzoh meal
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 jar raspberry jam (or any other flavor you like!)

Preheat oven to 375. Line an 8"x8" baking dish with parchment paper.
Stir together sugar, matzoh meal, oil and eggs until thoroughly combined. Fold in the shredded coconut and chopped walnuts.
Spread half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spoon the raspberry jam over it, and spread evenly. Crumble the rest of the mixture over the raspberry jam, patting it down evenly.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.

Honey Nut Cake with Soaking Syrup
adapted from epicurious.com

This dessert was a real treat! Many of the other bakers compared it to baklava, and I could definitely taste that. It's best made 1-2 days in advance, so the cake has plenty of time to absorb all the glorious sticky syrup. I made it on Saturday, and by the time I served it on Monday night, it was dense, moist, and perfect. The only thing I would change next time is to leave out the lemon juice. There's just something about lemon & honey together that makes me think of cough drops. I can't take it! But this cake...takes the cake.

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon finely minced orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon ( or 1/2 teaspoon for a more pronounced cinnamon flavor)
1/2 cup matzoh cake meal
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Soaking Syrup
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 7-inch round layer cake pan (if you do not have one, you can use a round foil pan of the same or similar size available in the supermarket baking aisle).

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, using a wire whisk, beat the granulated and brown sugars with the oil and eggs until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Stir in the remaining batter ingredients. Turn the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is light brown and set. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the Soaking Syrup.

Soaking Syrup:
In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients. Heat to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes syrupy. Cool well.
Pour the cooled syrup over the cooled cake, poking holes in the cake with a fork, to permit the syrup to penetrate. Allow it to stand for 2 to 4 hours to absorb the syrup. I prefer to refrigerate this cake so that while it is absorbing the liquid, it is also firming up. Also, chilling the cake offsets its sweetness and makes it easier to cut. Serve it on splayed muffin liners.

Matzah Toffee "Crack"

I posted this last year, but it's so good that it's worth repeating. It's not even necessary to say it, but...ohmahgah.

4-5 pieces of regular matzah
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
Optional toppings (I used sea salt and almonds)

Preheat the oven to 375 and cover a baking sheet with foil (makes clean-up much easier!).
Place the matzah in a single layer on the baking sheet, breaking up the pieces to fit if necessary. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and the sugar together over medium heat, stirring constantly. Do NOT leave this alone or it will burn! Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes, until it's thickened and just starting to pull away from the edges of the pan.
Remove from the heat and pour over the matzah. Spread it out evenly with a spatula so that all the pieces are covered.
Put the pan in the oven and bake it for about 10-13 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn't burn. After 13 minutes or so, the toffee with bubble and turn a darker brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with the chocolate. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes until all the chocolate is softened, and then spread it around with a spatula or knife. Sprinkle on your toppings while it's still warm (I loved it with salt!) and place the pan in the fridge. This helps the chocolate set.
To serve, break the matzah into small pieces and allow it to sit at room temperature. Enjoy!