The ProsenPeople

Creamsicle Macaroons: A New Passover Standard

Wednesday, March 09, 2016 | Permalink

Simone Miller is the founder of Zenbelly and, together with Jennifer Robins, co-author of The New Yiddish Kitchen: Gluten-Free and Paleo Kosher Recipes for the Holidays and Every Day. Jennifer and Simone are guest blogging here all week as part of the Visiting Scribe series on The ProsenPeople.

In my family, macaroons are just as much of a requirement at the Passover seder as matzo. There may be less ceremony around the humble coconut cookie, but it’s a staple nonetheless.

The classic version—a sweet coconut cookie dipped in dark chocolate—is always a favorite. For a little variety, though, we love making this version: sweet coconut spiked with orange zest and vanilla extract. The result is a perfect macaroon—chewy in the center, crisp on the edges—that tastes strikingly close to a Creamsicle.

When adapting baked goods to be compliant with a grain-free, dairy-free lifestyle, there is often quite a lot of trial and error. Grain-free flours can’t be used 1:1 for wheat flour, so it often takes many, many attempts to get the recipe just right. But macaroons are another story: they’ll practically work exactly as written in out grandmother’s recipe book!

Macaroons are naturally grain-free, since they’re essentially a coconut meringue. The adaptations we made were more along the lines of the sugar, since classic macaroons are very sweet. This fresh update is lightly sweetened with honey, natural orange juice, and unsweetened coconut. The result is a cookie that’s just the perfect amount of sweetness to end your holiday meal. (And to keep them dairy-free, coconut milk is the perfect stand-in for sweetened condensed milk: it only adds more delightful coconut flavor and richness!)

Macaroons that taste like Creamsicles? What could be bad?

Recipe: Creamsicle Macaroons

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25–30 minutes
Makes 18 cookies

2 egg whites
12 ounces (340g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1 (14-ounce or 414 mL) can of full-fat coconut milk
¼ cup (60ml) honey
Zest of one orange (about ½ tablespoon, or 7mL)
1 tablespoon (15mL) orange juice
2 teaspoons (10mL) vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until medium peaks form.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded coconut, coconut milk, honey, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla and salt.

Fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Using a small ice cream scoop with a lever, or two spoons, drop the mixture onto a cookie sheet, about 2 tablespoons (30mL) per cookie.

Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges. Allow them to cool before removing from the pan.

After battling with a variety of health problems, Simone Miller discovered she had food allergies, specifically a very serious sensitivity to gluten, prompting her to transform Zenbelly into one of the most respected gluten-free, paleo-style catering companies in the Bay-area.

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Modified Matzo Balls: A Gluten- and Grain-Free Spin on a Jewish Classic

Monday, March 07, 2016 | Permalink

Jennifer Robins is the voice being the popular food blog Predominantly Paleo and, together with Simone Miller, co-author of The New Yiddish Kitchen: Gluten-Free and Paleo Kosher Recipes for the Holidays and Every Day. Jennifer and Simone are guest blogging here all week as part of the Visiting Scribe series on The ProsenPeople.

Floaters or sinkers, we can all agree that a good matzo ball is one of the keys to happiness. Everyone has a favorite recipe, whether it’s their great-grandmother’s recipe or a perfectly concocted hybrid of past and present. So why reinvent the wheel with so many loveable variations?

Well, if you can’t tolerate grain like many of us, then the traditional wheat-based matzo balls just aren’t happening.

Simone Miller and I wrote our cookbook The New Yiddish Kitchen because we were forced to give up grain-based foods, regardless of how much we loved them, or how many of them were part of recipes which had been passed down generations. We wanted to recreate some of these traditional Jewish foods, like matzo balls, to pay homage to both our taste buds and our family’s legacy.

Writing these recipes has been a way to reconnect with our Jewish history, filled with memories of learning to cook in our bubbes’ kitchens. And consequently, we’ve been able to bring back foods like chocolate babka, matzo, and even bagels, all made free of grain, gluten, and dairy. Our hope is that people who have had to sacrifice their favorite traditional Jewish foods will once again be able to reintroduce them to their tables—and, more importantly, enjoy them!

These matzo balls are made from a sweet potato base, perfect for anyone sensitive to nightshades and entirely gluten- and grain-free. Feel free to dress them up with extra dill, salt, pepper, or whatever your favorite matzo ball garnish happens to be. We’ve included three different matzo ball recipes in The New Yiddish Kitchen, so that there is one to suit every diet (and taste). And of course you’ll have to check out the grain-free bagels, but that’s another recipe for another time! Enjoy! L’chaim!

Recipe: Sweet Potato Matzo Balls

Makes 6 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

36 oz (1,080 ml) homemade or high quality store-bought chicken broth
Chopped carrots, celery and preferred herbs/seasonings (optional)
2 lbs (900 g) or 2 large Japanese sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
2 eggs
⅓ cup (60 g) potato starch
¼ cup (30 g) tapioca starch
3 tbsp (20 g) coconut oil
3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil, schmaltz, or avocado oil

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a stockpot over high heat. If you choose to add veggies and seasonings, place them in the broth at this time.

Next, combine the mashed potatoes, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, eggs, potato starch, tapioca starch, coconut our and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Using your hands, combine all the ingredients until you have a smooth dough.

Take a tablespoon (15 g) or two—depending on your preference—of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Drop it into the boiling broth and repeat until all of your matzo ball mix is used up.

Cover the stockpot and allow to cook on medium/high heat for 20 – 30 minutes, or until you are satisfied with your matzo balls’ texture. Serve hot!

After being diagnosed with several autoimmune conditions and chronic infections, including Lyme disease, Jennifer Robins turned to food for healing, removing grain, dairy and refined sugars. As a wife and mother of three, Jennifer hopes to instill healthy habits in her children now in hopes of creating wellness for a lifetime.