Spring holidays get their own desserts

You’re going to be buying flowers at the supermarket any day now, suitable for the upcoming holidays. Wait. Didn’t we just finish with holidays?

Yes. But that was so last year. This is spring coming, and that means green carnations for St. Patrick’s Day, pink roses for Mother’s Day, elegant purple iris and pastel lilies for Seder and Easter dinner. The flowers are for the table and so are the desserts listed here, specific to the spring holidays.

These are the less-hurried holidays of the year so here’s a chance to try something new or change something up. Please yourself. Please your family. And please enjoy your spring.

cooking irish-soda-bread-cookies webIRISH SODA BREAD COOKIES

Also delicious for a Mother’s Day brunch

2 C all-purpose flour

3/4 C white sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 C butter

1/2 C dried currants

1/4 C buttermilk

1 egg

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. caraway seed

Green food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in currants. Mix in beaten egg. Pour in milk and mix with a fork to make a soft dough (add a little more milk if needed). Add food coloring to desired color green, if using.

On a floured surface, shape dough into a ball and knead lightly 5 or 6 times. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut into squares and triangles with a knife (approximately 2 inches in diameter).

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until slightly browned.

Hint: Experiment with using a round, small drinking glass to cut out circles. Three circles will make a shamrock. Cookies may take less time in the over with smaller components, so keep an eye on the baking.

cooking matzo crunch webCHOCOLATE MATZO CRUNCH

Addictive. Adapted from Epicurious.com

1/2 C unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 C sliced almonds or your favorite nut

Nonstick vegetable cooking spray

4 unsalted matzo crackers

3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter or Passover margarine

1 C packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

5 oz. chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips (about 3/4 C)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut flakes on 1 baking sheet and almonds on another. Toast until golden brown, about 3 minutes for the coconut and about 7 minutes for the almonds. Set aside.

Meanwhile, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Arrange matzo on parchment with no gaps in between (it’s ok if they overlap slightly). Whisk together butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium pot. Whisking occasionally, bring to a high simmer over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Once mixture is simmering, whisk constantly, until it turns a light brown, thickens, and starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, about 3 minutes.

Immediately pour onto matzo, covering completely. Using a spatula, quickly spread caramel so matzo has an even coating. Bake until caramel is golden brown and bubbling, 14-16 minutes. (Watch carefully to make sure caramel doesn’t burn. If it starts to darken too quickly, remove from oven and lower heat to 325°F; return to oven after a few minutes and continue to bake, watching closely.)

Meanwhile, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. (Or, place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 20-second bursts in the microwave, stirring between each burst, until melted.)

Remove matzo from oven and sprinkle immediately with coconut and almonds. Drizzle with chocolate. Let cool slightly, then place the baking sheet with the matzo crunch in the refrigerator until cooled and set, at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. Break matzo crunch into pieces. Makes enough for about 6-8 servings.

Note: Crunch will keep up to three days if covered with foil.

cooking Easter basket doughnuts webEASTER BASKET DOUGHNUTS

Very easy and very fun when made with children’s help

Chocolate, plain, or powdered mini donuts

Peanut butter or frosting or both

Shredded coconut

Easter candies (peeps, jelly beans, small chocolate eggs, etc.)

Licorice string, optional

Food coloring

Spread a thick amount of peanut butter or frosting on the top of the donut.

Press candies on top of the peanut butter or frosting.

Place the shredded coconut into a sealable plastic bag. Stir or shake in drops of your choice green or yellow or red gel food coloring into the bag of coconut until your desired color has been reached. Sprinkle the coconut grass onto the peanut butter or frosting.

If desired cut a length of licorice string and insert the ends into the sides of the donut. Use a toothpick to poke holes into the sides of the donut to insert the licorice string if needed.

— By Jean Redstone

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Swedesboro NJ
March 28, 2023, 4:32 pm
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