Decadent Passover Brownie Cupcakes

IMG_0905Important criteria in choosing a dessert for a Passover seder (the festive ritual meal served on the first two nights of the holiday) are ease of serving to a sizable number of guests, little or no last-minute preparation, and of course delicious flavor without being too heavy after a big and lengthy meal. For families who observe all the Jewish dietary laws, the dessert must not contain dairy ingredients unless the meal is a vegetarian one. These cupcakes meet all the criteria!   Continue reading

I’m a Guest–Just in Time for Passover!

Chocolate PB Bars Elise photo II

Photo by Elise Bauer

I am delighted to tell you that I am a guest contributor on Simply Recipes, the blog of my  good friend and neighbor, Elise Bauer.  We spent a few delicious hours in her spacious, cheerful kitchen concocting a new version of a favorite snack (and eating way too many of the elements and their combined results).

On Elise’s blog I offer Passover options for the featured recipe, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, which include natural peanut butter. Peanuts have been approved for  Passover use by the Conservative branch of Judaism (the parent organization of my synagogue) for a number of years. As with so many questions of observance or abstinence, it is always best to consult your rabbi (or maybe the website of your particular denomination of Judaism) to determine what is officially kosher for Passover in your kitchen. As is often the case, an Internet search will reveal as many answers as there are questions about this issue!

While we haven’t tried them with another nut butter, this might be an option for people with allergies or religious objections to the peanut component. Please let us know if you have success with this alternative.

Whatever version you may try, I am sure you will enjoy these delectable treats.

Mrs. O’Connell’s Irish Soda Bread

IMG_0776Way back in the 1980’s a young lady who worked at Sweet Dreams Bakery in Carmichael, California shared her Irish grandmother’s recipe for soda bread. We made it at the bakery and felt proud that it was the “authentic” way to prepare this classic for St. Patrick’s Day. The bakery disappeared long ago, but the recipe remains a good choice for the holiday. Continue reading

Poppyseed Yogurt Cupcakes for Purim

Poppyseed cupcakes on plateThis year the Jewish festival of Purim begins in the evening of Saturday, March 15 and ends in the evening of Sunday, March 16. Among the special foods for this joyous holiday are recipes featuring poppy seeds, said to be an important part of the vegetarian diet of Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story.  More information about Esther and the holiday is available here. Continue reading