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Strawberry-Vanilla Tart in Macaroon Shell

strawberry macaroon tart

Strawberry-vanilla tart in macaroon shell, gluten-free

Here’s a simple dessert that’s gluten-free and kosher for Passover. Use macaroons to make a crisp tart shell, top with a quick vanilla pudding and layer with sliced strawberries. With only a little bit of effort you’ll have an elegant strawberry-vanilla tart in a macaroon shell — perfect for this month’s Kosher Connection challenge to create a Passover dessert.

I strongly recommend making the dessert in a tart pan, not a pie dish. When I first made it in a pie dish, it didn’t cut into pretty slices. With a tart pan, you can remove the sides and keep the tart on the pan’s metal base, or you can slide a knife under the tart and transfer it to a serving plate. One other caveat: After it’s been cut into, this tart does not keep well because the pudding seeps out. So once you start it, it’s best to finish it that day.

The recipe is gluten-free and kosher for Passover. If you want to make a dairy-free strawberry macaroon tart, omit the pudding, pile the macaroon crust full of sliced strawberries and brush the top with melted strawberry jam.

Strawberry-Vanilla Tart in Macaroon Shell

(gluten-free, kosher for Passover)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Print this recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) can macaroons
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides.
  2. Chop macaroons finely in a food processor. Pour in melted butter and process until crumbs start to come together. Press macaroon crumbs into bottom and sides of the tart pan. Put the tart shell on a baking sheet, slide into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until firm.
  3. For the vanilla pudding, mix together sugar, potato starch and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour in a small amount of the milk (about 1/4 cup) and whisk to form a smooth paste. Pour in the rest of the milk and stir well.
  4. Cook pudding over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until it thickens and bubbles around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Let pudding cool for 5 minutes, then pour it into macaroon tart shell while still warm. Top with sliced strawberries arranged in concentric circles and refrigerate.

Yield: 8 servings

For more Passover desserts, check out this month’s Kosher Connection link-up. Please be aware that not all desserts listed are gluten-free. Click on the frog icon for links to other great blogs:

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Fudgy Cream Cheese Brownies and Three-Cheese Eggplant Roll-Ups

fudgy cream cheese brownies

Fudgy, flourless cream cheese brownies, gluten-free

eggplant rollatini

Three-cheese eggplant roll-ups, gluten-free

While the rest of the community whines about giving up wheat on Passover, we gluten-free cooks have it pretty easy. We’re used to cooking without wheat and looking for creative alternatives to grains. While others try to make food with matzo meal, we stay away from the tasteless stuff. This frees us to be more creative with grain-free recipes that taste great during Passover and year-round, like these gluten-free flourless, fudgy cream-cheese brownies and three-cheese eggplant roll-ups.

On Passover, one of my favorite products is Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese — it’s airy, fluffy and spreads easily on matzo, especially on fragile gluten-free matzo that crumbles easily. I usually buy several containers (so does my neighbor Dani, who buys 10 Temp Tee tubs to last well after Passover). So when Temp Tee and Joy of Kosher asked bloggers to create recipes with Temp Tee cream cheese, I jumped at the chance. (Check out all the recipes at Joy of Kosher’s “matzah fatigue” page.)

I recently created fudgy, flourless brownies that not only are gluten-free but also are kosher for Passover. I ramped up the “wow” factor by adding a rich cream cheese swirl, using fluffy Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese.

To counter the sweets, I came up with gluten-free eggplant rollups (or eggplant rollatini, if you want to sound fancy) with a three-cheese filling of cream cheese, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese.

But let’s start with the sweets, since that’s the best part.

choc chips and butter

First some prep: Place 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 6 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on half-power for 1 minute, or until melted. Stir until well-combined and set aside to cool a bit.

Then line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, extending up the sides of the pan. This will come in handy later, when you lift the brownies out of the pan to cut them. (One of my favorite baking tips.)

brownie ingredients

With your mixer (or by hand), beat 2 eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until combined. Slowly mix in melted chocolate. Then add 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, because don’t you think we need more chocolate? And then spread the batter into the baking pan.

Now it’s time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it’s heating, wash out your mixing bowl and make the cream cheese topping. Beat 8 ounces whipped cream cheese with a mixer. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix until it’s all smooth and creamy, with nary a lump.

cream cheese swirl

Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Drag a knife through the batter several times to create a marbled design. (You may need to dredge up some thick brownie batter from the bottom to get a good marbled effect.)

Bake for 35 minutes until the brownies feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan (or refrigerate) so they’ll be easier to cut. When cool, lift the brownies out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper. Place the parchment paper on a cutting board and cut the brownies into 25 squares.

Now on to the three-cheese eggplant roll-ups. Wasn’t it fun to have dessert before dinner?

eggplant

For the eggplant roll-ups, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cut 2 medium eggplants into thin slices. Trim the top and lop off the bottom of the eggplant, so it can stand up on the cutting board without wobbling. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices that are 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Now we’ll need to soften the eggplant, so put the eggplant on baking sheets lined with aluminum foil. Brush the eggplant with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the eggplant is soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix 1 egg, 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese, 1/2 cup small-curd cottage cheese (low-fat is fine), 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until well-blended.

rollups

Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place a spoonful of the cheese filling at the bottom edge of each eggplant slice and roll up. Lay rolls seam side down in the baking dish, placing the rolls close to each other. Pour 1 cup marinara sauce over top of the rolls and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. (If you like a little spice, you can sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes over the top.) Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.

For the complete printable recipes see the Joy of Kosher website:

Fudgy cream-cheese brownies

Three-cheese eggplant roll-ups

This post is sponsored by Temp Tee and Joy of Kosher.

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Gluten-Free Hanukkah Sugar Cookies

gluten-free sugar cookies

Cut-out gluten-free sugar cookies are fun to make, and to frost, for any holiday.

After a heavy meal of potato latkes for Hanukkah, it’s nice to have a lighter dessert, like these gluten-free cut-out sugar cookies — perfect for any holiday. For our family Hanukkah celebration this year, I contributed a big batch of unfrosted gluten-free cookies, along with bowls of colored icing for frosting the cookies. The kids frosted the festively shaped cookies at the party, providing lots of fun entertainment and only minimal mess.

This recipe makes about four dozen gluten-free cookies — good for a large crowd. The dough holds together well when rolled out, and the cut-out cookies retain their shape nicely. (I wish I could say the same for my shape.) The cookies have a delicate shortbread flavor that is nicely balanced by the smooth, sweet frosting.

Hanukkah Blog Party logo

I’m very excited to participate in the first-ever Hanukkah Blog Party, hosted by Leah of Cook Kosher and Miriam of Overtime Cook, who have put together a fabulous array of Hanukkah-themed recipes, treats and crafts from Jewish bloggers all over the world!

Scroll down for links to delicious Hanukkah treats from other bloggers, and for information on a cookbook giveaway – which you can enter by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post!
Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Layer Cake

gluten-free layer cake

H with cake

We celebrated my older daughter’s birthday recently with a four-layer gluten-free chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache frosting and filling. I have to admit, it looked and tasted amazing.

I recently took a baking boot camp at Kendall College in Chicago, which gave me inspiration for creating this cake. In the class, we made an opera cake, but my daughter wanted chocolate, so I improvised from there. I started with my favorite King Arthur gluten-free chocolate cake mix. I don’t usually use mixes, but the King Arthur cake is so intensely moist and fudgy that it always elicits raves from kids and adults.

To make chocolate ganache, heat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a saucepan until the cream starts to steam. Then pour the cream over 10 ounces of semisweet or dark chocolate chips. Wait two minutes, then stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Set aside some ganache for frosting the top of the cake. Whip the rest in a stand mixer to make whipped chocolate ganache for the filling.

To make the thin layers, I baked the cake for 15 to 18 minutes in a jelly roll pan or half-sheet pan (18 x 13 x 1-inch) lined with parchment paper. I then cut the cooled cake into four equal-sized rectangles, stacked the layers on top of each other while smoothing whipped chocolate ganache between the layers, and topped it with chocolate ganache that had not been whipped. For a distinctive presentation, freeze the cake for 30 minutes and then evenly trim the sides.

Now that’s a happy birthday!

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Honey-Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup

Honey-roasted butternut squash soup, gluten-free

Today, a fall rainfall brought down a cascade of leaves from the maple tree in front of our house. In shades of gold, bronze, ocher and amber, the leaves fell, thickly carpeting the sidewalk. In weather like this, I crave the comfort of a warm bowl of soup. And what better soup than a perennial fall favorite: butternut squash soup, made gluten-free and dairy-free.

For a while, I was turned off by butternut squash soup, with its one-note sweet taste and pablum texture. But that’s certainly not the case with this complex honey-roasted butternut squash soup, laced with the smoky spice of chipotle chile pepper and the slightly exotic taste of cumin.

What’s even better is that this butternut squash soup is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian, making it well-suited for a variety of people (except for my kids; shall I admit that they don’t like this grown-up soup?). For a vegan version, use maple syrup instead of honey.

Honey-Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Gluten-Free

(gluten-free, dairy-free, pareve, vegetarian)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray the aluminum foil with cooking oil. Place butternut squash, carrots and red onion on the baking sheet, and toss with honey, olive oil, cumin, chipotle chile pepper and salt until well coated. Bake for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Place roasted vegetables in a large soup pot and add vegetable broth. Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. In batches, carefully pour soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Do not fill blender to the top, and hold down the lid with a kitchen towel to prevent spattering. Transfer blended soup back to pot and heat before serving.

Yield: 10 servings

Following is a collection of root vegetable recipes from The Kosher Connection link-up. Please note that not all the recipes in the collection are gluten-free.


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Smoky, Spicy Black Bean Chili

black bean chili, vegan and gluten-free

Spicy vegetarian black bean chili, gluten-free of course.

In Chicago, it’s almost the end of chili season, when we turn from heartier soups and chilis to lighter summer fare. In winter, this vegetarian black bean chili is one of our favorite gluten-free meals. With plenty of toasted cumin, chipotle chili powder and smoked paprika, the flavors are strong and smoky, lingering long on your tongue with a spicy spike. I’ve made this several times and have dialed down the heat until I got to this version — spicy but not numbingly so. The recipe was inspired by “Lisa’s Superior Vegetarian Black Bean Chili,” a recipe handed down from a co-worker 20 years ago. This gluten-free black bean chili makes a satisfying entree, accompanied by a side of gluten-free cornbread.

Once a few years ago, I toasted the cumin in our toaster oven at a higher temperature and for a longer time than I now recommend (the amount listed in the following recipe is fine). The cumin started smoking ferociously. When I opened the toaster oven’s door, pungent smoke curled outward, singeing our noses and throats and setting off the smoke alarm. I handed my kids baby wipes, told them to put the wipes over their faces and yelled at them to go out into the hall. We all left our apartment, leaving the windows open (killing the plants by the windows, because it was a freezing wintry day) and went to a museum and out to dinner so we could vacate the apartment. At the museum, we quickly noticed that everyone was looking at us funny. That’s probably because the pungent burnt cumin scent lingered on our clothing and smelled like the worst-ever stinky feet.

Lesson learned: Toast spices at low temperatures and watch them carefully!

Smoky, Spicy Black Bean Chili

(gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (don’t skip this!)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cans black beans and 1 can cannellini beans, as in photo)
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed whole tomatoes

For serving (optional):

  • Cilantro
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt or soy yogurt

Method:

  1. Heat cumin, chipotle chile powder and smoked paprika in a small skillet over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until spices are fragrant; stir constantly to make sure spices don’t smoke or burn. Set aside.
  2. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions become soft and translucent. Add salt and spices and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in black beans and crushed tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with side dishes of cilantro, green onions and Greek yogurt. Leftovers taste great and freeze well.

Yield: About 8 to 10 servings

 

This post is linked to Slightly Indluglent Tuesdays.

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Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

peanut butter cups

Homemade peanut butter cups -- naturally gluten-free!

Recently, I made gluten-free Girl Scouts Tagalong cookies, or peanut butter pattties. We had leftover peanut butter filling, so my daughters and I decided to make homemade peanut butter cups, like miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups — naturally gluten-free and naturally delicious!

My friend Chris had sent me a recipe for homemade chocolate candy cups, with a choice of either a peanut butter or peppermint filling, and I realized we could adapt her recipe using our leftovers. I had previously bought some mini baking cups (like miniature cupcake liners) at the dollar store, so we had all the ingredients on hand for this easy gluten-free chocolate candy.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups, Gluten-Free

(gluten-free, dairy-free)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used processed peanut butter, not natural peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, powdered sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips or dairy-free chocolate chips
  • mini baking cups or candy cup liners, about 1.25-inches in diameter

Method:

  1. Place mini baking cups in a mini muffin tin. (Note: It is fine if the mini baking cups are smaller than the muffin tin compartments.)
  2. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt until well combined. Use your hands to roll peanut butter mixture into 1/2-inch balls; roll balls quickly so your hands don’t get sticky. Set balls aside on a plate.
  3. Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute on half-power (such as power level 5). Stir chocolate thoroughly. If not melted, pop bowl in the microwave for subsequent 30-second intervals, stirring until chocolate is melted.
  4. Place a dollop of melted chocolate in the bottom of the mini baking cups, so the chocolate covers the bottom of the cup. Drop peanut butter balls in the middle of the mini baking cups. Spoon dollops of melted chocolate on top of the peanut butter balls. The melted chocolate should surround the sides and top of the peanut butter balls, evenly covering the peanut butter and leaving a smooth chocolate top.
  5. Stick the mini muffin tin in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, so the chocolate hardens. Enjoy your homemade candy!

Yield: I’m sorry — I forgot to note the yield, but it probably makes around 20 to 24 mini peanut butter cups.

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