Tag Archives: nuts

Charoset: A Passover Delight

9 Apr

Happy Passover everyone. Have you made Matzo Lasagna yet this year? There are still 5 more days left of the holiday, so get your cheese on! And if you have a hankering for dessert, try my Kiss n’ Swirl meringues (just use Kosher for Passover vanilla, or omit it altogether).

I love Passover because the food is so unique and holds so much meaning and tradition. Charoset comes from the Hebrew word for clay, and is meant to symbolize the mud which the Israelite’s used to hold the bricks together when they were enslaved in ancient Egypt. You can read more about the story of Passover here.

Charoset is made from grated apples, nuts, dried fruit, and sweet wine…all whizzed up in the food processor or blender (or by hand if you are feeling rustic). I find Charoset utterly delicious, so sweet and full of my favorite ingredients. I like to use dried figs and raisins, but in the past I have also used dried apricots/dates/prunes. Fuji apples are my go-to because they are so crisp and sweet. And the wine has to be Manischewitz Concord Grape. People either love Manischewitz wine or they hate it. I can’t seem to get enough of the sweet stuff.

Charoset

Makes about 5 cups

*Note: you do not have to follow these measurements exactly. I just add ingredients to my liking, using these ratios as a guide. You can use whatever nuts/dried fruit/apples/wine/spices you like. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup dried figs, I like to use Turkish figs

1/2 cup raisins

3 fuji apples

1 cup Manischewitz wine (you can use grape juice or another sweet red wine)

2-3 tablespoons cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

pinch of ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Method:

In a blender or food processor (I used a blender because that is all I have), pulse the nuts until roughly chopped. Empty the nuts into a large bowl. Now place the dried fruit in the blender. Pulse until chopped and add to the bowl with the nuts.

Chop the apples by hand, halve them, quarter them, and chop each quarter into about 4 or 5 small chunks. Add the apples (you may have to add one at a time if using a blender) and wine to the blender and pulse just until roughly chopped into small pieces. Add the apples to the bowl with the nuts and dried fruit. Add the spices and stir everything together by hand. Taste and add more wine or spices as needed.

Let the charoset sit for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors develop. Enjoy with matzo and horseradish, or mix it into yogurt.

I’ve Got A Special on Bananas: Bananas Foster Bread

20 May


I had a special on bananas.

A banana bread bake-off thus ensued.

Alongside my go-to Peanut Butter Banana Bread, my fellow baker friend Amy and I also decided to try out Cooking Light Magazine’s Bananas Foster Bread.

I think the consensus was that we both have a new go-to favorite banana bread recipe. Let’s just say that if it includes rum in the recipe, it is already a winner 😉

Bubbly Bananas, Dark Rum, Butter, and Brown Sugar Goodness

This Bananas Foster Bread is packed with good-for-you ingredients like nonfat plain yogurt, ground flaxseed, bananas, and cinnamon and allspice. There is an appropriate balance of butter and brown sugar to tenderize and sweeten the bread just the right amount. And the smell of the warm rum mixture is simply to die for.

Oh yes, and after baking, an easy glaze of more rum, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of butter is poured over the warm bread.

Amy and I have decided that we loved the edges of the bread because they taste just like French Toast soaked in a boozy batter. Ooo yeah baby!

I’ve had such a great day hiking, eating lunch from my favorite sandwich shop at the top of Mt. Tam, and baking my now two favorite banana bread recipes with my good friend Amy.

Left: Bananas Foster Bread Right: Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Bananas Foster Bread

makes 1 loaf

From Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
  • 1/4 cup cognac or dark rum, divided
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine banana, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons cognac in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat; cool. Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Add yogurt, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in the walnuts. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; place on wire rack.

4. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon cognac, and powdered sugar; stir until well blended. Drizzle over the warm bread.

Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light
OCTOBER 2010

Nutrition Information:

Serving (1/16th of a loaf=1 slice)

  • Calories: 194
  • Fat: 5.8g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g
  • Protein: 2.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 31.1g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 34mg
  • Iron: 1.1mg
  • Sodium: 181mg
  • Calcium: 32mg