Friday, March 22, 2013

Transform Pesach brownies into… something else

brownies (2)If your family is sick of Pesach brownies, or never liked them in the first place, or you’re looking for something a little shmancier, why not turn regular brownies into… well, this little compact-brownie terrine-thing that I don’t have a name for? 

(If after reading this post you know what it’s called, please leave a comment letting me know!)

It reminds me of those 5-layer Pesach bar cakes that you can buy for ridiculous prices in stores… only much, much cheaper.

I use two cast-iron loaf pans, which is nice because they’re heavy, thick and sturdy, but I imagine any two pans the same size will work.  (cast iron is also nice because it kashers for Pesach nice n’ easy when I self-clean the oven…).

This is not so much a recipe as a technique I hope will inspire you to great heights of deliciousness.

  • You may want to line your loaf pan with plastic wrap before you begin for ease of removal.  I forgot – doh!
  • Bake two square pans of Pesach brownies (recipe below, or Ester has a good one at her Frugal and Kosher blog).
  • brownies (6)Cut brownies in half and place one half in the bottom of the loaf pan. 
  • Brownies may crumble; that’s okay.  Just spread the pieces out evenly and squish any crumbles in to fill the cracks.  It’s okay if it looks a bit messy; it will hold together after hours of compaction.  (is that a real word???)
  • Sprinkle brownie layer with kosher l’Pesach liqueur.  Any flavour you like will probably work – I used chocolate.
  • brownies (7)Top with another brownie half.
  • Spread with melted seedless jam – I like raspberry.
  • Top with another brownie half and top that with liqueur one more time.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and add second pan.  Weight it down and leave it for several hours (or overnight?).
  • Remove from pan if it comes out easily – if it doesn’t, leave it in the pan and slice/serve it from there.
  • When it’s done, you can melt chocolate and spread a hard coating on the outside to make it more like the cakes you buy in the store.

brownies (4)   

Brownies Recipe (copied & pasted from this thread)

These are fudgy and gooey in the middle and always a big hit. You can never have enough. They are best served with vanilla ice cream.

1 cup oil

4 eggs

2 cups sugar (I used 1 3/4)

1/2 cup potato starch

1 teaspoon vanilla (don’t have vanilla yet – drat)

1 cup cocoa

1 bag (2 cups) chocolate chips (I used only 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and pour into a 9-inch round or square baking pan. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes – until top is cracked.

Okay – you’ve read the recipe.  What would you call this dessert????

Monday, March 18, 2013

Annual Homeschool Matzah Bake 5773/2013

Once again, we had some friends over for what’s become an annual pre-Pesach ritual:  home matzah baking!   Not kosher-le-Pesach, of course, but still… fun.

Recalling pitfalls from previous years, I vowed to:

  • have enough rolling pins this year (everybody wants to roll!)*
  • mix the dough by hand (no mixer – too sticky and, surprisingly, slower)
  • no pasta roller – it produces more professional results but also, surprisingly, slower

(previous years’ posts:  5772, 5771, 5770 (just us, no friends))

I also pre-measured the flour and water, so each bowl had 1 cup of flour, with 1/3 of a cup of water standing by to pour in.

*NOTE:  To make sure I had enough rolling pins, I went to Home Depot yesterday and bought a 4-foot dowel (maybe 1.25” diameter?) and had them slice it into 4.  With a bit of sandpaper, a good washing, and a final oiling step, I had four perfectly useable kid-size rolling pins, for maybe $7-8.  (I did try Dollarama first but they had no rolling pins of any description, and I certainly didn’t want to end up with those horrid plastic ones.)

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With the kids, I talked about all the yummy things we put into challah… like eggs, sugar, honey, oil, yeast, salt.  Mmm!  And then I told the kids – we don’t use ANY of that in matzah.  It’s like the opposite of tasty bread.

I also showed them what flour is made of – not just wheat flour, but all five of the grains that are traditionally considered “chametz” at Pesach time.  I expanded the “chametz museum” from last year’s edition a little bit by going to Noah’s (natural food store nearby) and buying 10-35 cents’ worth of each of wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt, in as whole a form as I could find (they only had rye flour):

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Naomi was dressed for the occasion in her brand-new apron from Uncle Richard.  She didn’t plan her outfit – everything just happened to co-ordinate perfectly.  Me with my Martha Stewart daughters… sheesh.

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And then… well, the next little while was a blur, but eventually (not within 18 minutes, because my oven was broken; yay, the guy came to fix it this afternoon!), we all had some yummy black-bean spread on the matzah we’d made by hand.

 IMG_00000933 (1024x575)

And then… we did it all over again with another friend in the afternoon!

 IMG_00000937 (1024x575) 

Happy Pesach, world!!!  Best wishes for a kosher and wonderful yom tov.

Love from the entire MamaLand administration, staff and volunteers (namely me).

Note:  for a full recipe and further instructions, you can visit Amital’s blog here.  Thanks for sharing your link!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy Baking Moment

IMG_00000879Last Shabbos, Ted made brownies from a mix… and Sara came over and decorated it, all professional-like:


Happy happy chometz, nestled in its parchment… little suspecting Pesach is on its way!

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