Charoset Bars

Serves 12

Charoset is a rel­ish made of fruit, nuts, and red wine that rep­re­sents the mor­tar used by Jew­ish slaves in the build­ing of pyra­mids in Egypt. It is one of the sym­bol­ic foods on the Passover seder plate, and its ingre­di­ents vary by cus­tom. Sephardic charoset incor­po­rates dried fruit (like dates, raisins, apri­cots, or figs), nuts (often almonds or wal­nuts), and cin­na­mon. Ashke­nazi charoset includes fresh fruit (my dad always used pears, but apples are also com­mon), wal­nuts, and red wine. This recipe fus­es both ver­sions into deli­cious bars that are so good, it’s hard to imag­ine that they are kosher for Passover!

3 cups superfine blanched almond flour

¾ cup sugar

½ cup wal­nut or grape­seed oil

1 extra-large egg

1½ tea­spoons kosher salt, divided

1 ripe pear or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and rough­ly chopped

14 plump med­jool dates, pit­ted (about 10 ounces)

¼ cup dry red wine

¹⁄8 tea­spoon ground cinnamon

½ cup chopped wal­nuts (about 2 ounces)

  1. Pre­heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 × 8‑inch pan with parch­ment paper.
  2. In a medi­um bowl, stir togeth­er the almond flour, sug­ar, oil, egg, and 1 tea­spoon of the salt until com­bined into a smooth dough. Remove 1 cup of the dough and set aside.
  3. Using your hands, press the remain­ing dough into the bot­tom of the pre­pared pan in an even lay­er. Bake for 12 min­utes, until light­ly puffed. Cool for 5 minutes.
  4. In the bowl of a food proces­sor, pulse togeth­er the pear, dates, wine, cin­na­mon, and remain­ing ½ tea­spoon salt until pasty, scrap­ing down the sides of the bowl with a rub­ber spat­u­la as need­ed (it should resem­ble mor­tar, just like the sto­ry of the Exodus!).
  5. Add the wal­nuts to the reserved 1 cup of dough and mix with your fin­gers to com­bine. Spread the charoset fill­ing over the cooled baked dough and crum­ble the wal­nut mix­ture over top. Bake for 18 min­utes, until browned around the edges. Cut the bars into squares and store in an air­tight con­tain­er (use parch­ment paper if lay­er­ing). Store at room tem­per­a­ture for up to 2 days or refrig­er­ate for up to a week.
  6. To freeze, wrap squares indi­vid­u­al­ly in plas­tic wrap, trans­fer to a zip-top bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.


Pho­to cour­tesy of the author

Total­ly Kosher” Copy­right © 2023 by Chanie Apfel­baum. Pho­tographs copy­right © 2023 by Chanie Apfel­baum. Pub­lished by Clark­son Pot­ter, an imprint of Ran­dom House.”

Born and raised in a kosher home in Brook­lyn, Chanie Apfel­baum grew up eat­ing tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish foods such as gefilte fish, stuffed cab­bage, and matzah ball soup. Today, liv­ing just a few blocks from her child­hood home, she revis­its fam­i­ly favorites and rein­vents tra­di­tion­al hol­i­day dish­es. Chanie’s cre­ative twists on old-time cui­sine prove that kosher fare is any­thing but old-fash­ioned. With five lit­tle ones in tow, she cel­e­brates her her­itage one dish at a time, cre­at­ing bal­anced recipes with a mod­ern flair and Mid­dle East­ern vibe. Chanie works as a recipe devel­op­er and food pho­tog­ra­ph­er. She is a con­tribut­ing writer to Mish­pacha Mag­a­zine’s Fam­i­ly Table and kosher​.com, as well as a guest writer for numer­ous pub­li­ca­tions and web­sites. She has been fea­tured in many nation­al pub­li­ca­tions and media, includ­ing The Wall Street Jour­nal, The Huff­in­g­ton Post, News12 Brook­lyn, The Mered­ith Vieira Show, Thril­list, and more. Chanie also shares her love of food, fam­i­ly, and tra­di­tion through fun and edu­ca­tion­al cook­ing demon­stra­tions to audi­ences worldwide.