“Raw” Chocolate Truffles (Gluten-Free & All Natural & Yummy!)

2 cups raw walnuts or pecans

2 cups of pitted dates

½ cup cocoa or carob powder, plus 2 tbsp for dusting

¼ cup raw agave nectar (light colored works best in this recipe)

¼ cup of raw almond or peanut butter

1 tsp of real vanilla extract

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of salt

Soak dates in warm water for ten minutes. Process nuts until nearly fine in a food processor. Drain dates and add to processor. Mixture will become thick. Pulse processor until dates are nearly as fine as the nuts. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until well mixed. You may have to use a rubber spatula to help move the mixture around. Remove blade and transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Stir if needed. Place the remaining carob/cocoa powder into another small bowl.

Begin rolling mixture into small balls and then roll each in the cocoa/carob powder. Place them into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

As an alternative, you could roll these truffles into powdered sugar.

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Best Baked Italian Meatballs

(adapted from an Alton Brown recipe) These meatballs are also excellent with ground lamb instead of turkey! They aren’t as good if you use all turkey or all beef. Something about the combo makes these extra tasty. Make them Gluten-free by using GF bread crumbs and Tinkyada’s GF pasta.


  • 1 pound ground dark meat turkey  (lean breast meat will make these meatballs dry)
  • 2 pounds ground beef (no leaner than 85/15)
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
  • 1 cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano or a good quality parmesan cheese (plus more for garish)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tbsp dried basil (or Italian herb blend)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley (or Italian herb blend)
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs, divided (plus more if needed)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, beef, spinach, ¾ cup of the cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs (use more if mixture is really wet). Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs in individual, miniature muffin tin cups. (a regular baking sheet works well also) Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

This makes around 60-70 small meatballs. I suggest using the entire recipe even if you don’t think you will need this many meatballs, as they can be frozen before or after you have cooked and cooled them. Store frozen in a gallon size freezer bag and cook frozen balls at 350 until heated through, or are golden in color. Serve with 1 lb. of spaghetti and olive oil sauce:


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste (may also add fresh herbs and/or red pepper flakes)


  1. Cook pasta al dente; reserving 1 cup of starchy cooking liquid.
  2. Put the olive oil and the garlic in a large skillet over a medium heat.
  3. When the garlic begins to change color add the fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, and salt
  4. Stir well and remove from heat.
  5. When the pasta is cooked, return the skillet to a low heat.
  6. Drain the pasta and add it and 1/2 cup of cooking liquid to the skillet with the oil.
  7. Toss until the pasta is well coated with sauce. (Use more lcooking liquid if needed)
  8. Serve at once with freshly grated parmesan cheese. (and in this case the meatballs!)
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Lighter-Than-Air Chocolate Cake (Wheat-free, Gluten–free, & Vegetarian)

Melts in your mouth!

Just one little structural concern: the cakes tend to come out a little uneven after baked. This will be fine once you frost it with the fresh whipped cream. (: We have served this cake at our Pesach family meal for the past three years. It is always a hit. This cake will not weigh you down and can easily be made with stevia instead of sugar for a low-carb version. It’s a little time consuming but well worth the effort. I have modified it slightly from the recipe found at: —–K. G.

To make four cake layers:
12 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened and no sweeter than semi-sweet), chopped
6 tablespoons water OR use left-over strong coffee (IMO coffee is best)
12 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (IMO the darker the better)

For filling:
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 2 tsp real vanilla extract


Fresh Raspberries (or berry of your choice)

Make cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease four 9-inch circular cake pans (I just buy the disposable variety) with Pam and line bottoms of circles with a piece of parchment paper—— don’t skip this step or you’ll have a mess.

Melt chocolate with water (or coffee) in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Cool to lukewarm.

Beat yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes in a standing mixer or about 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer. Fold in melted chocolate until blended. Beat whites with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks (you will need a large bowl for 12 egg whites).

Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Fold one third of whites into melted-chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Spread batter evenly over four cake pans and bake until puffed and top is dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating cakes between racks to ensure they bake evenly. Transfer pans to cooling racks and if necessary, loosen edges with a knife.

Sift cocoa powder over top of cake layers and place a piece of waxed paper over the top of the pans. (Don’t skip this step or they will “stick”) Place a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper lining. Place layers in the freezer for about an hour, until they are firm enough to be carefully lifted without breaking. (Or overnight if you’re making cake ahead)

Make filling: Beat cream with powdered sugar and Grand Marnier OR vanilla extract with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks.

Fill and stack cakes: Bring first cake layer out of the freezer and arrange on platter, cocoa side down. Spread one-quarter of filling evenly over the cake. Bring the next cake layer out of the freezer, placing it gently over the filling, again cocoa side down. Repeat this process until all layers and whipped cream are used.

Keep cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Two hours should be more than enough to assure that the layers are no longer frozen. Garish with fresh raspberries —–yummy! If making ahead, wait until “day of” to whip the cream for best results. Please don’t use cool whip———– the fresh cream “makes” this cake. (:

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Easy Challah Bread

  • 2 packages of yeast (regular or fast rising)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 4 eggs   (3 for dough, 1 for egg wash)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 to 7 cups all purpose unbleached flour*
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Dissolve yeast and tbsp of sugar in warm water. Allow yeast to develop until foamy. Mix developed yeast mixture with 3 of the eggs, oil, salt, and honey with a whisk. Add 4 cups of the flour. Then begin adding more flour ½ cup at a time until dough begins pulling away from the bowl. (This may take only 1 cup or 2 or 3 more) Dump out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes until dough ball is supple. Place dough ball into a large bowl sprayed with Pam. Cover with dry towel and let rise in a draft free area for 4 to 6 hours. By the time 6 hours has passed, dough should be more than doubled. However, sometimes (depending on the weather) it will not rise that well. Don’t worry it will still do just fine——— it’s just better if rises well.

Grease or spray with Pam a large cookie sheet. Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Before I knead the bread again, I flatten it out a little and divide it into sections. Either 2, 4, or 6 depending on how many loaves you want to make. I suggest dividing the dough into 4 sections on your first try. This will give you 4 good sized loaves, 2 loaves for 2 Shabbats! (2 loaves represent the two portions of manna that fell on Friday, enough for that day and for the Shabbat [Ex.16:22-26]) .

Take one of the 4 sections and divide it into 3 pieces. Knead one of the pieces and then roll between hands to form a “snake-like” strand. Repeat with other 2 pieces. Then, take all three strands and pinch one end of each together. Begin braiding just as you would hair. Pinch the bottom ends together and place on cookie sheet. Repeat process with remaining 3 sections.

You may let the dough rise a little more on the cookie sheet (about 45 min) under another towel OR you begin to bake. Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, take the last egg and mix with a tbsp of water to make an egg wash. Brush the loaves thoroughly and sprinkle sesame seeds on all or some of the loaves (represents the seed of Abraham)——- or none at all. Place on center oven rack. Baking time depends on the size of your loaves (how many did you make?). 4 loaves usually takes about 22-25 minutes in my oven. They should be golden brown and sound “hollow” when you tap them on the outside.

They are great right out of the oven——-especially served with honey for dipping. Store them either well wrapped or in a gallon size freezer baggie. If you made 4 or more loaves, you can freeze them after they have cooled in gallon sized freezer bags. It takes about 3 hours for them to thaw. I usually pull them out Friday morning for Shabbat.

*Sometimes, I do use some whole wheat flour, but the loaves are dry if you use too much. I still start with 4 cups of the white, and then add whole wheat from that point. This will keep it from being too dry. On your first try, I would use all white.

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