The inspiration for this recipe was sparked in a recent conversation I had with Rabbi Jared H. Saks of Congregation Bet Ha'am about Passover sweets. I had been in the process of developing an introductory line of chocolates specifically for Passover (something our customers have been asking from us for years), and was getting confused about what was permitted and not permitted to eat during the holiday. Per a suggestion from a friend, I reached out to Rabbi Saks who graciously made time to answer my dozens of questions about Passover food, and the holiday in general. As an added bonus, he shared some of his own ideas for Passover-friendly confections, including something made from the stickier ingredients used in a Sephardic-style haroset (as opposed to the loose apple and nut texture of an Ashkenazic haroset).
After I developed the following recipe for these Haroset Bonbons, I stumbled upon similar recipes which appear on Seder tables in northern Africa. Of course, the major difference between those recipes and this one is the coating of chocolate and/or cocoa powder I use here. Personally, I love the slight crunch of the chocolate coating that gives way to the soft, textured center (so much like a truffle!). But you could achieve a similar affect by rolling the balls in superfine sugar, or toasted sesame seeds.
- You'll need a food processor to complete this recipe.
- I have given links to chocolate and tempering techniques in the instructions below. However, if you have my book Chocolate for Beginners, all of these techniques (and more!) are covered there.
- Of course, these techniques are not required to complete this recipe.
- 2 tablespoons / 1 ounce golden raisins
- 10-12 whole / 3 ounces dried apricots
- ¾ teaspoon grated fresh orange zest (¼ teaspoon dried)
- ½ cup / 2.5 ounces raw hazelnuts
- 4 large / 1.5 ounces medjool dates
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon boiled cider (apple molasses), sweet Kosher wine, or water (more or less depending on how moist/dry your fruit is)
- 16 ounces dark chocolate for coating and dipping (optional)
- Place the raisins, apricots, orange zest, hazelnuts, dates, vanilla extract, and spices in a food processor and process until the mixture forms a crumbly paste. If the mixture is dry and coarse, add a little boiled cider (or wine, water, whatever you're using) until it resembles cooked couscous or coarse wet sand.
- Roll this finely textured paste with your hands into walnut-sized balls. This task is infinitely easier if you wear latex or nitrile exam gloves. Set aside.
- Melt and temper the dark chocolate according to these instructions. If you're not ready to tackle tempering, no prob! You can instead coat your bonbons in cocoa powder, superfine sugar, or toasted sesame seeds and call it a day. Alternatively, you can simply melt the chocolate (without tempering it), coat the bonbons as with the tempered chocolate in step 4, and then roll in sesame seeds while the chocolate is still wet, rather than dip them again in a second layer of chocolate. Keep in mind that if you make your bonbons with melted chocolate rather than melted and tempered chocolate, they will need to be stored in the refrigerator to keep the chocolate from melting at room temperature.
- Coat your bonbons using this technique.
- If desired, dip your bonbons in a finishing coating of chocolate using this technique. Garnish with a few sesame seeds, a little ground ancho chile or turmeric, or a few grains of coarse sea salt.
This recipe is so easy and versatile! We coated some in maple toasted sesame seeds to keep some of them dairy free, and coated the rest in dark chocolate. Kate’s “Chocolate for Beginners” book made tempering a snap, even though that has never been my strongest skill. Definite crowd pleaser! Made ahead by 3 days and they kept just great, and making a triple batch all at once was not much more work than a single!
What a wonderful connection you’ve made with a very special Rabbi! I am so looking forward to trying these Pesach bonbons. I hope my daughter will learn to make them, too!
I’m gluten-free and dairy-free. Please continue to list a separate section for gluten and dairy-free products throughout the year. Thank you!
Love this recipe. Thanks for sharing it and inspiring us. I will be in for my Passover seder frogs this week. I am excited that you spoke with Rabbi Saks.
This recipe reads to my palate… absolutely must try. Thank you for sharing..,
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