Passover recipes—from scratch!

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From gefilte fish and prepared horseradish to charoset, chicken soup, and matzo balls, my family cooks from scratch—and sometimes without a recipe. Growing up in an Ashkenazi Jewish family and watching my mother add a handful of this and a dash of that, I’ve gathered my memories into clear, easy-to-follow recipes. With each recipe beautifully photographed, Essential Passover From Scratch offers the very best from my family’s kitchen.

Essential Passover from Scratch: Recipes and Stories from My Mother’s Kitchen


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The variety of hummus in the stores these days has exploded—along with the price of this simple spread. Dry legumes are extremely affordable, and when you see how easy this is to make, and how delicious when eaten fresh, you might reconsider paying for store-bought.

To cook the beans, combine the following, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 3 hours, or until the beans are quite soft. Save the liquid.

  • 1 pound dried garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas)
  • 8 c. water
  • 1 tbs. salt

Combine the following in a food processor. Process until smooth.

  • cooked garbanzo beans
  • 3/4 c. of the reserved cooking liquid—or just enough to achieve desired consistency*
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 c. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2  tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

When very smooth, pulse in

  • 3 Tbs. chopped parsley

*Room-temperature tahini will be thin, but will thicken when refrigerated. Keep this in mind when adding liquid


Whole Wheat, Oat, Millet, and Molasses Loaf

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This bread is light in texture with a little bit of crunch from the millet, and a subtle sweetness from the molasses. Delicious with soup, fabulous toasted, and great as a sandwich loaf.


  • yeast, 1 package or 2-1/4 tsp.
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. quick oats
  • 2 Tbs. molasses
  • 3 Tbs. corn meal
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 c. white bread flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. millet


  1. Proof the yeast, along with the sugar, in the warm water.
  2. Stir in the oats, molasses, corn meal, salt, and flours.
  3. Knead for about 10 minutes or until very smooth, adding in the millet in the final minutes. Add more white flour as necessary, but the dough should remain slightly sticky.
  4. Place dough in a bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place for about 1-1/2 or 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  5. Dust a baking pan with a little corn meal. Punch down the bread, form into a smooth ball and place onto the cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown and tests done.

For more tasty bakes, see my collection of family specialties, You Can’t Have Dry Coffee: Papa’s Excuse to Have a Nosh And Nana’s Perfect Pastries



Walker Cafe’s Chocolate Chip Whiskey and Rye Cookies

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I was inspired by a question from the owner of a local farm store, yesterday, “Can you make cookies using rye flour?” That sounded interesting to me, since I like a cookie that has more flavor, is much more than just sweet. The rye adds a hint of nuttiness, and the whiskey along with orange zest gives a depth of flavor that honestly turned this into the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve tasted.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 Tbs. rye whiskey
  • 1-1/4 c. rye flour
  • 1 c. unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. dark chocolate chips


  1. Cream butter, shortening, and sugars until very creamy
  2. Add in, one at a time, the egg, vanilla, orange zest, and whiskey, until smooth
  3. Mix together the flours,  baking soda, and salt, then stir into the batter.
  4. Stir in the chips.
  5. Drop by 1-1/2 Tbs. scoop unto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle very lightly with flaked salt (optional). Bake for 10 mins. Cool on a rack.

For more tasty bakes, see my collection of family specialties, You Can’t Have Dry Coffee: Papa’s Excuse to Have a Nosh And Nana’s Perfect Pastries

Betty’s Espresso Swirl Cookies

Makes 5-7 dozen small cookies.

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These small, buttery cookies are loaded with real espresso powder and topped with a dark swirl of coffee-infused chocolate ganache. They are fancy, but easy to make.

I made a gluten free batch which taste just like the original version, by substituting Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free all purpose baking flour, 1–1, for all of the traditional flour. The gluten-free cookies spread more, resulting in a thinner cookie. But the taste is fantastic.

Cousin Betty’s Espresso Chocolate Swirl Cookies

For the dough

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 c. powdered sugar (plus a little extra for forming the cookie rolls)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. ground espresso
  • 2 c. flour [substitute gluten-free all purpose baking flour for gluten-free recipe]

Cream together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and espresso. Stir in the flour until just combined—don’t over mix. Form the dough into two balls. Roll each into a coil, between 1-1/4″ to 1-1/2″ in diameter. Roll up into wax paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. Slice into 1/8″ disks. Bake for 12-14 minutes. While they are cooling, prepare the ganache.

For the ganache topping

  • 1/4 c. cream or half and half
  • 1 Tbsp. ground espresso
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, combine the cream and ground espresso, gently heat until it barely starts to sizzle, turn off the heat, and let steep for two minutes. Strain through a coffee filter into the top of a double boiler. Add in the chocolate chips, and still until just melted. Fill a zip lock bag with the ganache, snip a small hole in the corner and pipe swirls onto each cookie. When cool, wrap  cookies in airtight container.

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For more tasty bakes, see my collection of family specialties, You Can’t Have Dry Coffee: Papa’s Excuse to Have a Nosh And Nana’s Perfect Pastries