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Passover baked goods are commonly made from products like matzo meal, white sugar, and margarine. Too much processed carbohydrates and inflammatory fats can wreak havoc on your health. Upgrade your Passover baking pantry with whole food ingredients that still yields a tasty and decadent dessert.
I’ve compiled a list of my most used baking ingredients and favorite resources for Passover. But these are the same pantry staples I use year round. I love the great flavor and extra nutrition of the nut and coconut flours. These ingredients have more protein, healthy fats, and fiber which avoids the blood sugar spikes of your typical treat.
Almond Flour – This nutritious low-carb flour is rich in vitamins and healthy fats. It’s higher in protein than wheat. Blanched almond flour yields the best results because of its finer consistency. Stores best refrigerated or frozen. Kosher for Passover blanched almond flour is available from DigestiveWellness.com.
Almond Meal – Almond meal is made from ground whole almonds and has a coarser texture than blanched almond flour. Almond meal is not interchangeable for blanched almond flour but works well when a coarser texture is less important like crisps, crumbles, and breading for meats and fish. This can be made at home in a food processor.
Coconut Flour – Coconut flour is made from finely ground defatted coconut. It’s very high in fiber and needs a high ratio of wet to dry ingredients as it soaks up all the liquid in a recipe. It is more affordable than almond flour but cannot be substituted 1:1 with other flours. It’s best to use well tested recipes when learning to bake with this flour.
Via the OU: 100% pure coconut flour can be purchased before Passover and used during the chag without Kosher for Passover certification. The OU specifically recommends Nutiva brand available from Amazon or DigestiveWellness.com.
Tapioca Starch – Tapioca starch lightens up the texture of almond flour baked goods – the combination yields a texture very similar to white flour. For year round baking also experiment with arrowroot flour, another starch that works well with almond flour. Kosher for Passover tapioca starch is available in kosher markets.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is a healthful fat high in medium chain fatty acids and lauric acid, which has many health benefits. It’s a very stable oil that works well in baked goods. It’s a great pareve alternative to margarine. Store at room temperature. If necessary, place the jar of coconut oil in a bowl of warm water to liquify the oil for easier measuring. The OU recommends Spectrum unrefined coconut oil for Passover and does not require Passover certification.
Butter – Butter is the best and most flavorful baking fat when pareve (non-dairy) baking is not needed. It’s best to buy organic and/or grass-fed but any butter will be healthier than margarine. Butter is full of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2. It can be clarified to remove the milk solids for those that are lactose intolerant. Clarified butter also has a higher smoke point. Margarine is full of industrial oils and highly processed inflammatory fats and should not be used.
Raw Honey and Pure Maple Syrup are delicious healthier alternatives to white sugar. Avoid agave nectar, corn syrup, white sugar, and artificial sweeteners as they are all very processed.
Organic Whole Cane Sugar can be used when a granulated sweetener is preferred, it replaces white sugar 1:1. Whole cane sugar is the dried, unrefined, naturally evaporated sugar cane juice which retains vitamins and minerals. As with all sweeteners, it’s best to limit consumption and try to reduce the amount in your recipes.
Cocoa Powder and dark chocolate (at least 70%) are great ingredients for Passover baking. 100% cocoa powder does not require Passover certification, chocolate does. A new item this year is fair-trade chocolate chips from Harrison’s Sweet Shoppe. I’m not sure how widely available it is but Whole Foods Los Angeles and Miami both carried this product.
Vanilla extract contains alcohol that is not suitable for Passover. But it’s so easy to make your own homemade vanilla extract. I like to use a kosher for passover date vodka. But it does need time to release the flavors (about 4-6 weeks). Otherwise use whole vanilla beans and scrape out the vanilla powder.
Fine Sea Salt – Most salt has been processed which removes important trace minerals. It’s best to use unrefined Celtic sea salt or real salt since it is minimally processed and high in minerals. Use finely ground sea salt for baking. Sea salt does not require Passover certification (OU).
Baking Soda gives rise to baked goods – does not require Passover certification (baking powder does).
Grain-Free Baking Resources
So now that you’ve learned about the ingredients… you may need some inspiration and guidance on how to use them!
Over 90% of the dessert recipes on my blog are suitable for passover. Some of my favorites are my crunchy vanilla shortbread cookies (try dipping them in melted chocolate for a fancy presentation), chocolate chip muffins, and honey cake. And don’t forget breakfast! Try my nut flour pancakes or dutch baby pancake for a tasty alternative to matza brie.
These books below are wonderful resources for almond flour and coconut flour baked goods, plus some other grain-free snack ideas.
These electronic cookbooks are my favorites for grain-free baking. You get an instant PDF download that can be viewed on a computer or tablet. They use both almond and coconut flours, and those with nut allergies I recommend “Indulge and Heal”.
The following websites have amazing recipes for grain-free and refined sugar free baking and cooking:
Living Healthy with Chocolate (also see her fabulous e-book above)
The Urban Poser
Rawmazing – one of my favorite raw food recipe sites. Raw food recipes uses very clean ingredients and are a change of pace from regular baked goods.