April 7, 2017 Update:
I decided to try making these with aquafaba this year instead of egg whites and the result was delicious. So if you have people with egg allergies who are following the new guidelines of the Conservative Rabbinate or who follow Sephardic traditions, they can now enjoy this wonderful Passover treat. Simply substitute 1/4 cup of aquafaba, lightly beaten with a fork for the egg whites in the recipe below. They will spread more so do not flatten the cookies before baking. (Aquafaba is the liquid that chickpeas are stored in. Just strain out the chickpeas and use the liquid.)
I refuse to buy canned macaroons or box mixes of brownies during Passover. I confess that before I found good cookie recipes I did augment my flourless cakes with the canned macaroons – but I know better now. Florentine cookies are a great way to start since they look beautiful, taste great and are incredibly easy to make. They are Frances’ favorite and while good enough to eat all year, I save them for Passover so they stay special. Let your inner Jackson Pollack come out when it comes to adding the chocolate. Let your children in on the fun and see how creative they can be.
Passover Florentine Cookies from Grandma Doralee Patinkin’s Holiday Cookbook
Yield: About 30 cookies
2.5 cups sliced almonds with skins
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter or buttery vegan sticks, melted
5 Tablespoons Matzah Cake Meal
2 large egg whites, slightly beaten
dash of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I like the Elite brand which is Kosher for Passover)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment
- In a large bowl, toss almonds, cake meal, salt and sugar together. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and egg whites until well blended.
- Drop by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake one sheet at a time for about 18 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and bottom. Ovens vary so watch them after 15 minutes so they don’t burn.
- Remove the parchment to a wire rack to cool completely.
- When completely cool, you are ready to decorate. Melt your chocolate over a double boiler or in a glass bowl in a microwave (I do this in 10 second increments so as not to burn the chocolate). When the chocoalte will drip off of a fork, you are ready to get creative. There is no wrong or right way to do this and some people might prefer to dip half of the Florentine into the chocolate instead.
- If using the fork method, dip the fork in the chocolate and working quickly, hold it about 8 to 12 inches above the cookie and move it back and forth over the cookies creating an attractive pattern.
Allow the chocolate to completely harden before packing these up or serving. They will keep well in an airtight container. You can also make them ahead and add the chocolate the day you will be serving them if you prefer. However, if packed in a good tin, nestled on top of waxed paper or parchment, the chocolate will be fine as long as they are stored in a cool place. Do not refrigerate!
Note: When I make Raspberry Fool for dessert one night during the interim days of Pesach, these cookies are a wonderful accompaniment. It’s a wonderful dessert that is elegant and delicious with a main course of fish. Some people will be appalled that I use heavy cream in that dessert so rather than spoiling it for the rest of us, just skip that recipe!