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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????

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.

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

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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!

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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