Passover Macaroons (vegan!)
A few months ago someone asked me to make a German Chocolate cake for her birthday. The fun thing about making birthday cakes is that I get to participate in celebrating even when I’m not actually going to the party. Besides sugar and spice and everything nice, when I’m making cakes and pies and other goodies I can feel the positive energy of the joyous occasion. I add my own good wishes into the yumminess. I’ve realized that a big part of what I like about cooking and baking — in fact, perhaps the biggest part, actually — is that it’s my way of giving love to whomever is the recipient of the goodies. In some way I’ve also realized that I’m not really an artist when it comes to these things — I’m just a lover. I want to put more love in the world. This is one of the ways I know how to do it.
The other thing that is
fun scary about making birthday cakes is that it’s a one-shot deal. I’ve got to get it right. And oftentimes someone calls me up with a request for a cake I’ve never before tried.
“I’m gluten-free and my son is allergic to nuts, but would you be able to make a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting?” Hehe… yes! I loved that project.
Once I got a request for a completely flourless (as in, not any kind of flour — not just wheat), sugarless, vegan cake. And, um, no. That was the only cake I’ve ever said no to. I can do gluten-free, but no flour of any kind? I suggested they just make a bowl of fruit and stick a candle in it.
But I like trying out new ideas, and I’m learning as I go. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to making a German Chocolate cake …. macaroons!
Last Passover, Bad*ss Bassman and I and three other friends gathered for a very small but very fun seder. Of the five of us, two of us were born and raised Jewish. One was raised Catholic. One’s mother was Jewish and father was Baptist. One was raised with no religion at all (the heathen!). It was one of the sweetest and most open-hearted seders I’ve ever attended, but at the end we ate French macaroons which felt odd.
This year we five decided to gather again. Passover doesn’t really start till tonight, but we got a jump on the holiday by doing it last night. The seder plate had a roasted beet in place of the traditional roasted bone. Our main course was vegan matzoh ball soup, jackfruit brisket (recipe to come), roasted beets and turnips, a salad filled with avocado and grapefruit, and a big dollop of charoset. We drank more than our fill of the four cups of wine, and by the end of the night we had all moved to the living room and were shouting at the clap-on-clap-off lamp, laughing at its seeming willy-nilly switches that left us in the dark mid-stories. Just before the afikomen was discovered perched on the top of a door, we broke out the macaroons, protesting “I couldn’t eat another bite, but maybe just one more…”
PASSOVER MACAROONS (vegan)
Inspired and adapted from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen
Makes 40-45 macaroons
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
1/3 cup coconut milk from a can (shake it so you have both cream and liquid)
1 1/4 cups unbleached granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water until smooth
2 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
8 oz. dark chocolate
Combine flaked coconut and chopped pecans in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine soymilk, coconut milk, sugar, extract, and cornstarch mixture. Cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly. When mixture boils, cook and stir for 30 seconds more and then remove from heat. Pour mixture into bowl with coconut and pecans, and stir together till uniform.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (does anyone actually have a double boiler?? I just use a glass bowl set over a little water in a pot - see photo below). Scoop out and roll macaroon dough into balls, about 1 Tablespoon size (smaller than a golf ball). When chocolate is melted, dip halfway in, and then place on parchment or wax paper or solidify.