Let Our Children Cook!

— by Ronit Treatman

In my family, the fun of Passover begins long before the Seder.  It starts with perusing all of our cookbooks and discussing which recipes will be prepared.  It continues with the shopping expeditions for all the specialty Passover supplies.  The celebration begins with the cooking.  In many homes, children are excluded from this step.  I believe that it is important to welcome the little ones into the kitchen, and to encourage them to prepare something that is kosher for Passover.  By cooking with us, children absorb treasured family recipes, and the laws of kashrut for Passover in a hands-on way.  This is a very special bonding time.

More after the jump.
The important thing is the process, not the end product.  Homemade dishes have a charm to them that professionally prepared foods cannot compete with.  Your child’s offering for the Seder will be sure to delight your family and friends.  Here are some suggested recipes.

Chocolate Covered Fruit

  • Pareve or dairy chocolate chips
  • Wooden toothpicks
  • Fresh strawberries, mango, bananas, raspberries, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, or any other fruit of your choice.
  1. Wash the fruit.  If using banana, mango, or pineapple, the fruit should be cut up (with adult help if necessary).
  2. Insert a toothpick in each piece of fruit.
  3. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave for about one minute.  Stir the chocolate well.
  4. Dip the fruit into the melted chocolate.  Place it on a plate covered with a piece of parchment paper.  When the chocolate has hardened, transfer the fruit to a serving platter.

Matza Bark

  • Matza
  • Pareve or dairy chocolate chips.
  • Dried cranberries, cherries, figs, dates, mango, pears, or apricots.  Large dried fruits should be cut up.
  • Pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, shredded coconut, or any other nut of your choice.
  1. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for one minute.  Stir well.
  2. Dip the matza in the melted chocolate.  Strew the dried fruits and nuts of your choice over the chocolate.
  3. Place the matza bark on a plate covered with parchment paper.
  4. When the chocolate has hardened, transfer to a serving platter.

Almond Macaroons (Amaretti)

  • 3 cups ground almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  3. Separate the yolks from the egg whites.  Reserve the yolks for another use.
  4. Mix the ground almonds, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla extract in a bowl.  
  5. Drop a teaspoon of dough at a time onto the parchment paper.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes.

You can vary this recipe by combining the ground almonds with shredded coconut and/or chocolate chips.

When the macaroons emerge, they will be very soft.  As they cool, they will harden.

Walnut Cake

  • One cup of ground walnuts
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Oil a 9-inch pan with olive oil.
  3. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl, and the whites in another.
  4. Mix the yolks with 6 tablespoons of sugar in a mixer.
  5. Whip the egg whites with the salt and 6 tablespoons of sugar.
  6. Combine the yolk mixture with the whipped egg whites and the ground walnuts.  
  7. Pour the batter into the oiled pan.
  8. Place in the oven and lower the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes.
  10. After this cake has cooled completely, it may be garnished with any of the following:
    • Powdered sugar
    • Whipped cream: Whip together 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla or brandy.
    • Fresh Berries
    • Chocolate Sauce: Heat one cup of heavy cream in a small saucepan, over low heat.  Add 1/4 cup of pure vanilla or Sabra Liqueur and mix well.  Pour in 1 cup of chocolate chips.  Combine until smooth.
    • Warm Apricot Preserves

As we begin the frenzy of preparing for the Passover Seder, we can benefit in many ways by availing ourselves of the help of our children.  This will be fun for them, and time saving for us.  When they present their creations at the Seder, the sweetest reward of all will be the look of pride in their shining eyes!