Pascale’s Kitchen: Kosher-for-Passover cookie recipes

Many of us have wonderful memories of baking for Passover with our parents or grandparents – and tasting a warm cookie that has just come out of the oven is like nothing else in the world.

Kosher-for- Passover cookies (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Kosher-for- Passover cookies
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
I know that these days it’s not that hard to find tasty kosher-for-Passover cookies, but I personally prefer eating home-baked cookies that fill the whole house with the sweet smell of holiday desserts. Many of us have wonderful memories of baking for Passover with our parents or grandparents – and tasting a warm cookie that has just come out of the oven is like nothing else in the world. If you’re already going to all the trouble preparing home-baked cookies, I recommend storing them in clear glass cookie jars on your counter top for everyone to see.
THE WRITER with food blogger Orly Hermesh (left). (Pascale Perez-Rubin)THE WRITER with food blogger Orly Hermesh (left). (Pascale Perez-Rubin)
This year, I invited food blogger Orly Hermesh (brwsugar.com) from Kfar Veradim in the Galilee to join me for an exciting morning of baking in my kitchen. Hermesh’s blog is full of recipes for sweet as well as savory dishes, alongside anecdotes and memories from childhood connected with the recipes. She grew up in a home where both of her parents loved preparing fresh, tasty meals with spicy harissa and matbucha and roasting sunflower seeds and nuts in their oven at home. She also has many memories of her grandmother preparing dishes that were like works of art and made with lots of love.
All of the cookie recipes below integrate ground nuts, the basic ingredient of most Passover cakes. Hag sameach!

CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT COOKIES
Makes 40 cookies.
1-¼ cups (150 g.) hazelnuts, roasted, peeled and ground finely
1 tsp. KLP (kosher l’Pesach) baking powder
½ cup (140 g.) chocolate or hazelnut spread
1 egg
½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 180°C and line two pans with baking paper.
Place the ground nuts in a medium bowl and then add the baking powder. Mix well.
Add the chocolate spread to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the egg and mix on low speed until smooth. Add the nut mixture gradually and continue mixing until smooth. Pour water into a bowl and dip your hands in the water. Take a bit of the dough and form balls with 2-cm. diameters. Arrange them on the tray. Flatten the cookies a little and press a few chocolate chips lightly into the cookies.
Bake for 8 minutes. Remove cookies from oven while they are still soft – they will harden as they cool.
CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT COOKIES (Pascale Perez-Rubin)CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT COOKIES (Pascale Perez-Rubin)

PEANUT AND JELLY COOKIES
Makes 45-50 cookies.
1 cup (290 g.) smooth, unsweetened peanut butter
½ cup (100 g.) sugar
½ cup (100 g.) demerara sugar
1 egg
¼ tsp. salt
Topping:
¼ cup white sugar
Filling:
½ -1/3 cup smooth strawberry or raspberry jelly
Preheat your oven to 160°C and line pans with baking paper.
Add all the ingredients, except for the jelly and sugar for the topping, to the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 1 hour.
Take a little dough and form balls with diameters of 2-3 cm. Pour the sugar for the coating in a bowl and roll the balls in it. Arrange the balls on the lined baking tray with space between each one. Bake for 8 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the oven and make an indentation in the center of each cookie with the back of a melon baller or small spoon. Push halfway down the cookie. Fill the indentations with a little jelly and then return the tray to the oven to bake another 5-6 minutes. The outside should be firm and the middle still soft. Place the cookies in the fridge for 10 minutes so they can harden.
ALMOND COOKIES WITH CREAM AND RASPBERRY FILLING (Pascale Perez-Rubin)ALMOND COOKIES WITH CREAM AND RASPBERRY FILLING (Pascale Perez-Rubin)
ALMOND COOKIES WITH CREAM AND RASPBERRY FILLING
Makes 50 cookies.
Dough:
50 g, butter, softened
80 g, cream cheese 25%, at room temperature
½ cup (50 g,) powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. KLP baking powder
2-½ cups (300 g.) ground almonds
Raspberry filling:
½ cup raspberry jelly
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Cream filling:
100 g. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 160°C and line pans with baking paper.
Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, egg and vanilla. Add the baking powder and ground almonds and mix until smooth. Transfer to the fridge and let dough sit for 2 hours.
Add the raspberry jelly and sugar to a small pot and heat over a medium flame for about 5 minutes, mixing all the time, until mixture thickens. Remove and let cool. In a separate bowl, mix all the cream cheese ingredients.
Take the dough out of the fridge and form balls with 2-3 cm. diameters. Arrange the balls on the lined baking pan and bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and make an indentation in the center of each cookie with the back of a melon baller or small spoon. Push halfway down the cookie.
Fill the indentations with the cheese filling and a few drops of the raspberry filling. Take a toothpick and swirl the cheese and raspberry together.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies begin to brown. Let the cookies completely cool before transferring them to an airtight container. Store in the fridge until serving. 
PEANUT AND JELLY COOKIES (Pascale Perez-Rubin)PEANUT AND JELLY COOKIES (Pascale Perez-Rubin)
PISTACHIO COOKIES
Makes 40-45 cookies.
Dough:
1 cup (100 g.) ground pistachios
1 cup (100 g.) ground almonds
¾ cup (140 g.) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. KLP baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg yolk
Topping:
½ cup (50 g.) ground pistachios
Preheat oven to 170°C and line pans with baking paper.
Add all of the dough ingredients to a bowl and mix until sticky. Let bowl sit in the fridge for 1 hour.
Take a bit of dough and form a cylinder that is 5-6 cm. long with a 7-8 cm. diameter. Prepare more cylinders until you’ve used up all the dough. Roll all of the cylinders in the ground pistachios and then place on the baking paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies turn golden brown.
WALNUT COOKIES (Pascale Perez-Rubin)WALNUT COOKIES (Pascale Perez-Rubin)
WALNUT COOKIES
Makes 30-35 cookies.
1-½ cups (150 g.) ground walnuts
¼ cup (30 g.) ground almonds
½ cup (50 g.) powdered sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. KLP baking powder
1 egg
Topping:
½ cup walnut halves
Preheat oven to 160°C and line pans with baking paper.
Add the ground walnuts and almonds, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and baking powder to a bowl and mix. Add the egg and mix until smooth.
Place bowl in the fridge for two hours or overnight.
Pour water into a bowl and wet your hands. Take a bit of dough and form balls with 2-3 cm. diameters. Prepare all the balls in the same fashion, wetting your hands when needed. Place the cookies evenly spaced on the baking paper.
Push a walnut half into each cookie and gently flatten.
Bake for 12 minutes until cookies are golden brown around the edges.
WALNUT COOKIES (Pascale Perez-Rubin)WALNUT COOKIES (Pascale Perez-Rubin)
Text, photos and styling:  Pascale Perez-Rubin.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.