Passover is around the corner. In the past, thinking about cleaning out my cupboards, omitting all the Chametz (anything made with wheat, barley, rye, spelt, or oats or any product that is made with these grains and left to stand raw for longer than eighteen minutes) was a daunting task. No cereal, bread, waffles, pancakes, and most cookies for 8 days. Matzoh is the “grain” of choice and there are only so many ways one can eat matzoh (before it totally clogs up your system – and we all know how that goes).
Over the past few years I have become much more rigid in observing Passover. Mostly because I wanted my children to respect the holiday, understand what it means to sacrifice, and hopefully teach discipline through our values and our heritage.
Regardless, it can be a constant struggle. Yet, by the 3rd day, they all settled into the challenge at hand (not dissimilar to a cleanse) thus, their consciousness rises to the occasion. This year it is going to be much easier. Most of what we give up for Passover has already been omitted and almost forgotten as we lean more toward a gluten free lifestyle. But still, gluten free means we can eat rice, legumes, and most grains. Not the case during Passover.
The proteins and the vegetables, obviously, are the easy part. It’s the sweets, the carbs, the “glue” that my kids happen to love and adore. And in the past, Passover desserts have left much to be desired. Last years flourless chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow meringue frosting and a carrot cake cupcake were two very successful winners. The obvious coconut macaroons, flourless chocolate cake, and hazelnut puddle cookies were also acceptable favorites. It’s all trial and error and I have my share of failures.
In searching for some new ideas, I found these Hazelnut Thumbprints via Smitten Kitchen. Although they were Passover friendly, they were not gluten free(matzoh meal isn’t gluten free). In trying to develop the recipe, I reached out to Aran from Cannelle et Vanille. She responded quite quickly, with a wonderful alternative, but I was impatient and had already had a batch of my version in the oven. Taking a suggestion from Shauna on how to substitute most tradtional recipes into gluten free versions, I came up with a blend and replaced 140 grams of my gluten free mixture, with the all purpose flour in the recipe. I am proud to say, these are a cookie I would eat year round. This is just what I needed to prove to myself that I can create my own recipes. I am so excited to start experimenting with some of our coveted family favorites that the boys have been missing.
Gluten Free + Passover Friendly Almond Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup (4 ounces | 115 grams) almond meal
2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces | 135 grams) organic, natural sugar
140 grams gluten free flour mixture (see below)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces | 114 grams) unsalted, organic butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
for the chocolate filling:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I use Callebaut)
.75 ounces organic, salted butter
to make the cookies:
• in a large bowl, whisk the almond flour, sugar, gluten free flour, cinnamon, xanthan gum, and Celtic sea salt. set aside.
• in a small sauce pan, melt butter. cool slightly.
• in a small bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla.
• add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. mix to combine. this may seem really dry and you may be inclined to feel the need for
more wet ingredients, but it will come together.
• form dough into a ball. wrap with plastic wrap and press into a disc. chill dough until firm, about an hour.
• preheat oven to 350*.
• using a 1 tablespoon ice cream scooper, form balls and place on parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. chill for 10-15 minutes.
• using the back of 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, press into the center of each dough. line cookies on parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.
• bake 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are golden and the rim of the cookie is just starting to turn golden.
• cool completely on wire racks.
to make the chocolate:
• place both chocolate and butter in a glass bowl set over a small saucepan (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). stir occasionally until all chocolate and butter are melted and combined.
• drop a small amount of chocolate into each of the cooled cookies. let set completely before eating.
• store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or refrigerate for 1 week.
note: if you want to make a double batch but don’t want to cook all the cookies at once, shape into balls and then create the thumbprint. flash freeze on parchment lined baking sheets until completely frozen (about 3 hours). store in the freezer in an airtight container. use within two months.
All Purpose Gluten Free Passover Flour
• sift all ingredients into a large bowl. store in an airtight, glass jar and use when needed.
The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com