I was invited to appear on WFSB’s Better Connecticut and asked Chef Greg O’Gorman to help create a few healthy Easter and Passover treats. We came up with the easy and tasty recipes below. The fruit filled shredded wheat baskets are so pretty and delicious the kids won’t miss the traditional chocolate eggs and jelly beans. For a new sweet and tangy twist on carrot muffins Greg added Granny Smith apples. The macaroons are made with almonds instead of coconut which saves on calories and saturated fat. Whole wheat Matzo with almond butter makes for a great lunch or snack for Passover. Of course these are great recipes all year round!
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds (1 3/4 oz.)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (1 1/2 oz.)
2 large egg whites
2 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
2 tablespoons No Fat half-and-half
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Pulse almonds with cocoa and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until very fine and powdery.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks, then add remaining 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, a little at a time, beating until whites just hold stiff peaks.
Fold one third of almond mixture into whites with a rubber spatula, then fold in remaining almond mixture gently but thoroughly.
Transfer batter to pastry bag and pipe 24 (1 1/2-inch-wide) rounds (1/3 inch thick) about 1 inch apart onto baking sheet. Tap down any peaks with a finger dipped in cold water. Bake until macaroons are puffed and edges are slightly darker, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack 20 minutes.
While macaroons bake, heat chocolate and half-and-half in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted. Cool to room temperature.
Pipe a small mound (1 teaspoon) of chocolate filling onto flat sides of 12 macaroons, then top with remaining 12 macaroons to form sandwich cookies, pressing flat sides together gently. (You may have some filling left over.)
Carrot muffins give your morning a healthy boost with fiber, beta carotene, and protein. You can make these regular size or mini-muffins.
1 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
½ Cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups sugar
1/4 pound carrots
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 Large Egg
2 Egg Whites
1/2 cup corn oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Granny Smith apple
Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk in sugar. Coarsely shred enough carrots to measure 2 cups and chop pecans. Add shredded carrots and pecans to flour mixture with raisins and coconut and toss well.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Peel and core apple and coarsely shred. Stir shredded apple into egg mixture and add to flour mixture, stirring until batter is just combined well. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them three fourths full, and bake in middle of oven until puffed and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
Cool muffins in cups on racks 5 minutes before turning out onto racks to cool completely. Muffins keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.
Shredded Wheat Baskets
½ box (about 7 ounces) Original Shredded Wheat
4 Ounces sugar
4 Ounces Smart Balance lite-melted
3 Ounces Dark chocolate-melted
24 Ounces fresh/frozen fruit – try grapes, berries, cut up mango and apples
Crumble shredded wheat into a bowl add sugar and toss together.
Melt Smart balance and add to shredded wheat mixing well
Divide mixture into 12 muffin pans pressing into bottom and sides.
Place into preheated 350 degree oven for six minutes.
While baskets are baking carefully melt dark chocolate (microwave works fine).
After six minutes remove from oven and allow cooling for several minutes then drizzle chocolate over baskets and allow to cool completely.
Fill with favorite fruits or berries and serve.
Almond butter and honey on whole wheat Matzo
Whole wheat matzo
Almond butter (no sugar or salt added)
Fresh fruit e.g. bananas, strawberries
Spread a thin coating of almond butter on whole wheat matzo broken into pieces. Add a few slices of banana or strawberries. Drizzle with a little honey.