Passover is almost over, but I wanted to share these two amazing desserts that I made for the week for my husband, who observes the custom of not eating leavened products during this time.
I first met Anna in 2006 at a Cooking Light Reader Recipe Contest finalist cook-off event held in Birmingham, AL where Cooking Light Magazine’s editorial division is located. I was completely in awe of her. She had just taken the grand prize of a million dollars (!!) in the 42nd Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest! She had made appearances in the Today show, cooked with onstage with Oprah, and was a seasoned veteran of the recipe contesting circuit, which I had just fallen into by fluke. Happily, we were seated at the same table during the Awards Night Dinner, and I got to know her and her wonderful husband, Todd. While we did not win our categories (I was in Main Dish and she was in Dessert), we were featured in the magazine and our recipes appear in the 2008 Cooking Light Annual Recipes Cookbook (we’re both on pages 96-97!).
More importantly, we became friends and our families have met and gotten to
know each other throughout the years.
When Anna told me about the book she was writing last year during a visit to Brooklyn, I was so excited for her. We bought a copy of The Daily Cookie when it was released by Andrews McMeel Publishing last November.
The Daily Cookie is a cookie compendium of cookie recipes for every day of the year, plus fun facts about holidays and events of each day as well. When we first got our copy, Jamie and I went through the whole book reading the cookie names and fun facts to each other as bedtime reading. It is fun to look up special dates and see what that day has to offer. For example, Jamie’s birthday, June 30th, has a recipe for Kryptonite Macarons (pistachio macarons filled with dark chocolate cream) because it is Superman’s birthday as well! It also happens to be Meteor Watch Day.
We had a blast going through the whole recipe book and plotting which cookies we would make and learning fun facts about each day of the year. I can’t imagine what Anna went through to create all 365 recipes let alone testing them and writing them. She’s a cookie goddess, so it makes sense that she did. She posts a new recipe on her blog every day.
Anna is a meticulous baker and has done countless experiments with ingredients: using different ratios; different brands; different baking methods; etc. She has done comparison analyses of different types of cookie recipes on Cookie Madness to determine the best kind of cookie for different cookie characteristics (please check our her blog!) The Daily Cookie is also as thorough, meticulous and organized. It’s truly inspiring and such a joy to read.
In the back of the book there are several indices of the recipes arranged by cookie type, pan-size, batch size, convenience, special diets, makes a great gift, and bake sale favorites, in addition to the common alphabetized index! I just love that. 🙂
For Passover, I made the Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies (September 8— also International Literacy Day; Founding of Saint Augustine, Florida, in 1565; and Scotch tape invented in 1930) as well as the Pareve Brownies (April 7 — also World Health Day). Both are really simple to make and so delicious, they will be made year round in this household!
Poor Denis — the treats were made especially for him, and all the other non-observers in the family gobbled them up with abandon as well. The Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies recipe is here on Anna’s blog. A slight difference is that in the book they are sans chopped peanuts and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, but I made them plain without either and they were SOOOO good and so easy to make! Just five ingredients!
The Pareve Brownies recipe is reprinted below with permission. If you are a cookie lover like we are or know a cookie lover, please buy this book! It is chock full of great cookie recipes and is a great read as well. The only dilemma is deciding which cookie to make first!
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons matzo cake meal
3/4 cup unsweetened natural style or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon plus an extra pinch of salt
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/3 cup pareve or vegan semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F and place a rack in the center. Line an
8-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick foil.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in
a large mixing bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar,
eggs, and egg yolk on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until light.
Beat in the vegetable oil, cake meal, cocoa powder, and espresso powder
and continue mixing until smooth. Beat in the salt and walnuts, and
then stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake the brownies for 28 to 32 minutes, or just until they appear
set. For this recipe, it’s important not to overbake. Let cool
completely in the pan. Grasp the foil, lift from the pan, set on a
cutting board, and cut into sixteen squares.
Baker’s Notes: Espresso powder gives these unleavened brownies a rich
deep flavor. If you can’t find matzo cake meal, put a little regular
matzo or matzo meal in a small coffee grinder and grind it until it is