Home-made Chocolate Peanut-Butter Balls (aka “Homemade Reeses”)

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Over 27 years ago, I attended the ordination party of my friend and colleague Rabbi Paula Winnig. Before they became popular, her mom was already making these "to-die for" home-made chocolate peanut-butter balls. I had to have the recipe. She wrote it on the back of the ordination program for me. Somewhere I still have that handwritten recipe. Everyone LOVES these! My cousin will call and ask: "Can you please make just 4 for me?" (Because she's afraid she doesn't have the willpower to refrain from eating the entire batch). It's a fun recipe to make with young children: lots of squooshing and mooshing of ingredients together. I have adapted the original recipe a bit. I recommend making them at least one day in advance (everything needs time to "meld together" for optimum taste). They freeze beautifully and also taste great frozen.

Bella’s Mini Date-Nut “Bites”

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Last night, some friends came for dinner and brought these delicious mini "cupcakes" (I'm calling them "bites".) As she handed them to me, Mona said, "I've observed that you hardly ever eat any bread, cake, or things like that, so I thought these would be perfect for you." (I'm on an anti-inflammatory grain-free diet for a neurological condition and follow it about 95% of the time). These yummy treats are absolutely divine! They are perfect for everyone (except for those who are allergic to nuts or eggs). They contain no added sugars, no flours of any kind, no added fats. The only ingredients are dried fruits, nuts and eggs! And they look gorgeous! Perfect for any occasion! I'm going to serve them for Rosh Hashanah and Passover! (from the Kitchen of Mona Saidens: Bella is Mona's mother)

My Friend Lynn’s Rustic Apple Cranberry Tart

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My friend Lynn Burton is a wonderful baker! She loves to present her friends with wonderful gifts from her kitchen. I had this delicious apple cranberry tart once at her house and she graciously shared the recipe with me. I love it because you can quickly make the pastry dough in the food processor and you can substitute whatever fruit you would like for the filling.

Sue Devor’s Decadent Flour-less Chocolate Torte

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When I lived in Toronto, Sue Devor, the owner of "Sweet Sue's" pastry shop was my congregant. She often led a "baking for Passover" cooking demo at my congregation. Passover baked goods shouldn't taste like "Passover". She introduced me to this rich and gooey chocolate torte. This recipe has become one of my most requested YEAR-ROUND favourites. My brother (the Culinary Institute of America trained chef) declared: "Wow! This cake is better than one of mine!" I've modified Sue's original recipe to make it serve a larger group and added a chocolate glaze. You can flavour it with mint extract (if you like mint), or use a strong espresso (in place of water) if you like a mocha flavour.  This is sure to be a show-stopper and a big hit! Here is my version of Sue's fabulous recipe. Thank you, Sue!