Sunday, March 17, 2013

Passover Treats from Rosie's Bakery

I didn't grow up in a Kosher family. A little bit in the spirit of keeping Kosher, we didn't cook pork products in the house, but you can bet we were eating bacon and sausage at restaurants - and especially Alice's inimitable pork-filled Peking ravioli at Mandarin Taste. But every year when Passover rolled around, we'd dutifully celebrate two Seders and eat only Kosher-for-Passover food for eight days. I don't remember doing a strict removing and burning of all the chametz in the house - the forbidden leavened foods - but we'd keep all the kitchen cabinets closed and slowly eat our way through the boxes that accumulated across the counter: boxes of matzoh, egg kichel, those little jelly fruit slices, and other traditional Passover goodies of questionable quality.

My favorite Passover food is undoubtedly my mom's breakfast fried matzoh. Others call it matzoh brie and make it mushy, but we'd keep the matzoh fairly solid and crunchy with just a quick swipe under a running faucet. Now that I don't live at home, I can never make it quite as well on my own, and there's no one around to force me to drink a tall glass of apple juice with every portion. (I'll leave you to piece together that connection on your own.) But whenever I smell eggs frying, even if it's French toast being cooked, I immediately think of fried matzoh.

I'm also a fan of egg kichel - airy little cookies with sugar on top. In general, though, Passover foods - and especially baked goods - are notoriously bad. I won't go into a whole discussion of foods that are prohibited during Passover, but in a general sense, most leavened things are out, and many Jewish families (mostly Ashkenazi) also omit rice and corn. This knocks out everything containing corn syrup, which, in the processed food world, is pretty much everything.

When a representative from Rosie's Bakery reached out to me to see if I'd sample their line of Passover goods, I was a little worried that I'd be disappointed, but I like Rosie's and figured that if anyone can make Passover desserts taste great, it'd be them. Fortunately, they succeeded, so I wanted to share my recommendations based on the products I tried. Rosie's Passover menu is available in stores for the duration of the holiday, but to pick up an order on Sunday 3/24 and Monday 3/25, you must place it by 5 PM tomorrow, Monday 3/18.

First up, the Passover Brownie ($2.75 each): not only is this brownie outstanding for Passover, it is the best brownie I've had in ages. (This isn't too surprising to me as I had previously found Rosie's non-Passover brownies to be excellent as well.) From the cracked, crispy bits on top to the fudgy, melty interior, the Passover brownie thoroughly impressed me. You will probably not regret ordering a whole platter of these - unless you eat them all at once, that is.

At first glance, I thought this was a Passover version of a half-moon (aka black-and-white) cookie, but one bite in, the extreme almond flavor (and lack of white icing) gave it away: it's a Chocolate-Dipped Almond Macaroon ($2.65 each). Nope, it's not one of those chewy little mountains that Manischewitz sells in large tins that people either love or hate, and that's a good thing. This soft, sweet cookie reminded me of the almond cookies I occasionally get at bakeries in Chinatown, and the chocolate dip added a little something extra. Like the brownie, this macaroon made me think, "This is delicious!" rather than "This is delicious...for Passover food."

The Chocolate Coconut Macaroon ($2.65 each) may not be the most attractive baked good, but its taste makes up for it, provided you like coconut (I do). This one tastes most like a Passover item to me and does conjure up thoughts of those Manischewitz macaroons, but not in a bad way. If you like fudgy cookies packed with coconut, you'll love this.

The Chocolate Caramel Matzoh Crunch ($19.95/pound) was the only one in the bunch that didn't completely wow me, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I'm not a huge caramel fan. I did manage to eat quite a lot of it, and it went something like this: "Too sweet! But wait, I need another bite to make sure." (And repeat.) The texture's great, a gradient that starts chewy on the caramel side, gets crunchy in the middle, and ends with the smooth chocolate on the opposite side. I'd probably be happier with just plain chocolate-covered matzoh, but those with a sweet tooth for caramel will adore this.

The Chocolate Delirium ($5.50 small, $32 large) is appropriately named as its richness will make your eyes roll back in your head as you slowly take a bite, and then another, and then least that's what happened to me. This flourless cake is decadently rich, and I could only handle a few bites at a time. True chocolate lovers may sneak away from the table with this only to be found later whimpering in a corner and covered with melted chocolate.

So, I guess it's possible to make excellent Passover baked goods after all. I'll definitely still be found munching on box after box of commercially-produced egg kichel, but without hesitation, I can also recommend Rosie's Bakery's Passover menu.

Disclosure: Rosie's Bakery provided me with complimentary samples of several of their Passover menu items. While I agreed to post a review of the products, positive coverage was not guaranteed, and all opinions expressed in this post are my honest thoughts.

Rosie's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Related Posts with Thumbnails