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Monday night March 25 was the first Passover seder celebrated by Jews all over the world. I believe this holiday tradition is THE most observed even by secular Jews. My family convened in Iowa for a participatory ceremony and meal with our oldest child, her family and multiple friends. We ended up with 33 bodies attending the service dinner. In a small house. In very cold weather, so outdoor activities and seating didn’t happen.
We made many of the usual dishes this year – but swapped out a new chicken dish for the lamb tagine. For the eight days of celebration, we are supposed to avoid leavening or flour (i.e. bread, pancakes, pasta to name a few). I’m not crazy about Passover desserts made with matzo meal or matzo cake flour. I’m over flourless chocolate cakes. For the past six years we have reverted to homemade chocolate macaroons with fresh fruit as dessert. If you are more observant than me, you’ll scoff at this recipe as many of the ingredients aren’t really OK for Passover (condensed milk, sweetened coconut). For me, as long as there isn’t flour or obvious leavening, I’m good with it.
The originator of this delicacy is my 87 year-old mother-in-law, also known as “Bubbie.” Her method is recorded here and I do add an extra square of chocolate to the original formula just because I’m a huge chocolate fan. I also started using toasted almonds to deepen the flavor. I have tried melting chocolate with the condensed milk in the microwave and the cookies didn’t turn out as well, darn it. I thought it would save cleaning another saucepan, but oh well.
These are not good for you in any sense of the word, but I make them anyway and always look forward to having them for Passover in lieu of the canned, mass-produced macaroons. I bake them a couple of weeks prior to Passover and carefully freeze them. And because they are a cinch to make, they are one of my “go to” cookie recipes if I am called upon to bake cookies for family or friends.
Bubbie Weissman’s Macaroons
Yield: 3-4 dozen
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 squares unsweetened chocolate-Bakers or Hersheys is fine
- 1 package (2 2/3 cups) sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup finely chopped toasted almonds (with skins) – I toast these way ahead of time in the toaster oven
- 1 tsp. pure Vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt condensed milk and chocolate over low heat in a small saucepan until the chocolate is liquid, stirring often. Pour into a medium sized bowl then add remaining ingredients into the liquid chocolate/condensed milk with a rubber spatula.
Make heaping teaspoon-sized blobs on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, placing them two inches apart.
Bake for 14-15 minutes until barely brown. Put parchment and cookies on the counter for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
- Once completely cooled, these can be easily frozen between layers of waxed paper.
- This can be doubled or tripled since there isn’t leavening in them. That way you can enjoy them for a long time!
- You can make these larger and bake them a bit longer.
- I am going to play around with replacing half of the coconut with unsweetened shredded coconut – the texture will be less moist I imagine, but I will report my findings.