Don’t pass over these holiday desserts

Passover is fast approaching and French trained chef and best-selling cookbook author Paula Shoyer is offering recipes for Passover desserts. Shoyer, whose mission is to modernize traditional recipes with healthier ingredients, believes people don’t have to choose between blowing their diet and giving up beloved, favorite foods and tasty desserts during the holidays. For more of Paula’s Passover recipes, check out her cookbook, ‘The New Passover Menu.’

Florentine Bars
20 square bars or 32 triangles

Ingredients
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 large egg whites
zest of one large orange (or 2 teaspoons juice)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
1 1/3 cups sliced almonds (blanched or with skin)
1 cup dark or white chocolate chips
vegetable oil for greasing pan

Preheat oven to 325°F

Grease a 9 X 13-inch pan with vegetable oil. Press in a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom and go an inch up the sides of the pan, making sure you press it into the corners. Grease the top of the parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, egg whites and orange zest. Use a silicone spatula to gently mix in nuts and chopped cranberries, being careful not to crush the nuts. Scoop into the pan and use the spatula or your hands to spread evenly in the bottom of the pan. The easiest way to do this is to push the batter into the edges and corners first and then fill in the middle. You will have a thin nut layer.

Bake 25 minutes, or until nuts are golden. Let cool one hour. Pull up the parchment to lift the bar out of the pan. Place another piece of parchment on top and then turn the bar over onto the new parchment. Peel off the bottom parchment.

Melt the chocolate chips either over a double boiler or in the microwave oven in for 45 seconds, stir, melt another 30 seconds, stir and then for 15 seconds more, if needed, until melted. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate on the bottom of the bar. If desired, you can use a serrated knife to make lines in the chocolate to decorate it. Slide the parchment and bars onto a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.

Cut into squares, triangles or rectangular bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days or freeze for up to three months

Lemon Quinoa Cake
Serves 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes to cook quinoa, 65 minutes to bake cake
Advance Prep: May be made 3 days in advance or frozen

Cake
¾ cup quinoa
1½ cups water
Cooking spray or 2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons lemon zest, from 2-3 large lemons
½ cup fresh lemon juice, from 2-3 large lemons
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or other vanilla if for Passover)
¾ cup coconut oil
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour, plus 2-3 tablespoon to dust bundt pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Glaze (optional)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)

Place the quinoa and water into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and cook the quinoa for 15 to 18 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Let sit for 5 minutes off the stove-top. The quinoa may be made 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use cooking spray or oil to grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut flour, or more if needed, over the entire greased pan and then shake the pan all around to cover and then tap out the excess.

Place the quinoa in the bowl of a food processor. Add the lemon zest and juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and process until the mixture is very smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake it for 1 hour, or longer, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 30 minutes and then remove it gently from the pan onto a wire cooling rack.

To make the glaze, place the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and whisk well. Add more juice, a teaspoon at a time, until you have a thick glaze. Drizzle or pour over the cake.

Chocolate Quinoa Cake
Serves 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time:15 minutes to cook quinoa, 50 minutes to bake cake
Advance Prep: May be made 3 days in advance or frozen
Equipment: Measuring cups and spoons, small saucepan with lid, 12-cup (2.8L) Bundt pan, food processor, medium microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, silicone spatula, wooden kebab skewer, wire cooling rack, large microwave-safe bowl, whisk

Cake
¾ cup (130g) quinoa
1½ cups (360ml) water
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/3 cup (80ml) orange juice (from 1 orange)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or other vanilla if for Passover)
¾ cup (180ml) coconut oil
1½ cups (300g) sugar
1 cup (80g) dark unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces (55g) bittersweet chocolate
Fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)

Glaze (Optional)
5 ounces (140g) bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon sunflower or safflower oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or other vanilla if for Passover)

Place the quinoa and water into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Set the pan aside. The quinoa may be made 1 day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Use cooking spray to grease a 12-cup (2.8L) Bundt pan. Sprinkle the potato starch over the greased pan and then shake the pan to remove any excess starch.

Place the quinoa in the bowl of a food processor. Add the orange juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and process until the mixture is very smooth.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, or place in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and put in a microwave for 45 seconds, stirring and then heating the chocolate for another 30 seconds, until it is melted. Add the chocolate to the quinoa batter and process until well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake it for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then remove it gently from the pan. Let it cool on a wire cooling rack.

To make the glaze, melt the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl in the microwave (see above) or over a double boiler. Add the oil and vanilla and whisk well. Let the glaze sit for 5 minutes and then whisk it again. Use a silicone spatula to spread the glaze all over the cake.

Keto Chocolate Avocado Cake
Makes one 8-inch round cake

Cake
1 ½ cups almond flour
¾ cup dark cocoa, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing pan
¼ cup coconut flour or almond flour
½ cup xylitol
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup coconut cream, from canned coconut milk
½ cup almond milk
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing pan
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large ripe avocado

Ganache
5 tablespoons boiling water
½ cup dark cocoa
¼ cup xylitol
½ cup coconut cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease an 8-inch round pan with 1 teaspoon coconut oil. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons cocoa and shake all around to dust the bottom and sides. Tap out excess. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cocoa, coconut flour, xylitol, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Place the coconut cream, almond milk, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla and avocado into a food processor or blender and blend for two full minutes, scraping down the sides a few times, so that the mixture is completely smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together. Use a silicone spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and the remove to a wire rack.

To prepare the ganache topping, place the cocoa and xylitol into a small bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk well. Add the coconut cream and vanilla and mix well. Spread all over the top of the cake.

Triple Chocolate Biscotti
Yield: 24-36 cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 44 minutes
Storage: room temperature for 5 days
Advanced Prep: May be frozen

Ingredients
4 ounces (115g) bittersweet chocolate, broken
into pieces
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons (40g) vanilla sugar
1/2 cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 1/2 cups (180g) ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (170g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
Line a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate using one of the methods described in the box below. Remove the chocolate from the heat source, add the sugar and oil, and whisk well. Add the eggs and mix. Add the vanilla sugar, cocoa, potato starch, ground almonds, and salt and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix to distribute them.

Divide the dough in half and shape into two loaves, each about 9 x 3 inches (23 x 7.5cm). Place both loaves on the lined jelly roll pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes (do not turn off the oven). Cut each loaf crosswise into 3/4- to 1-inch-thick (2- to 2.5-cm) slices.

Place the cookies, cut side up, on a parchment-covered cookie sheet (or the jelly roll pan again). Bake for another 14 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch on the outside but still feel soft on the inside. Check them after 10 to 12 minutes so that you don’t over-bake the cookies.

Let cool for 5 minutes on the pan and then slide the parchment and cookies onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

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