Passover almond bars
FoodEasy to prepare

Passover almond bars

Tasty and gluten-free

Passover almond bars (Photo by Jessica Grann)
Passover almond bars (Photo by Jessica Grann)

I’m excited to share my Passover almond bar recipe because it’s the closest thing I’ve ever made to a cookie bar for the holiday. My husband and kids couldn’t believe that these were gluten-free.

This recipe is easy to put together. The bottom layer is made from a mixture of ground almonds, which is topped first with a toffee layer and baked. The toffee layer sinks into the nut crust while baking, making a chewy bottom with bits of toffee crunch. After baking, you cover the bars with chocolate, sliced almonds and flaky sea salt.

I like these a lot because the flavors reveal themselves one by one. First, you taste the nut crust and the toffee flavor, then the chocolate starts to melt in your mouth before the flaky sea salt brings it all together.

I’ve been experimenting a lot with crusts made from nuts, and I finally have the best combination. If you’re avoiding extra matzo or are simply watching your gluten intake, this recipe uses simple ingredients without any grain or potato starch. Tuck this one away because you can use it to make a gluten-free pie crust for cheesecake any time of year.

If you don’t have a food processor, I recommend getting a small version before the holiday for projects like this. You will definitely get lots of use out of it. I use my mini food processor to make all sorts of food, including sauces and dressings.

Use the best quality ingredients you can find, especially when it comes to chocolate. I have found the best chocolate with Passover certification is the Elite bittersweet chocolate bars and California Gourmet chocolate chips, and I use both brands year-round.

Makes 16 squares

Almond crust
2 cups whole almonds, measured before grinding
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
A pinch of kosher salt (1/16th teaspoon)

Toffee layer
1 stick (½ cup) butter or margarine
¾ cup packed light brown sugar


1 cup dark chocolate chips or the equivalent broken from a chocolate bar
¼ cup sliced almonds
A sprinkle of flaky sea salt

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line a square glass or metal baking pan with two sheets of trimmed parchment paper going in opposite directions. This creates a cradle to lift the bars out of the pan when it’s time to cut them, while also keeping the pan as clean as possible.

Grind 2 cups of whole almonds in a food processor until finely ground.

Scoop the ground almonds into a bowl and mix with the egg whites, sugar and salt. (You can store the egg yolks not used in the crust for a day or two and use them in another dessert that calls for egg yolks only, or you can add them to scrambled eggs or a quiche so that they don’t go to waste.)

Passover almond bar, step by step (Photo by Jessica Grann)
Press the mixture into the parchment-lined pan. I smooth the mixture with the back of a spoon to make sure it is evenly distributed. Spread the mixture about a half-inch up the sides of the pan to create an edge for the dessert.

Add the butter or margarine to a small saucepan with the brown sugar and turn the heat to medium-low. Whisk regularly until the mixture is combined, which will take about 4-5 minutes. The mixture will start to thicken and should be gently bubbling when it’s ready to use.

Remove the pan from heat and use a spatula to pour the toffee mixture over the almond crust. Spread it evenly across the crust with a spatula and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and add the chocolate immediately. After a few minutes, the chocolate will soften and you can easily spread it across the top. Butter and margarine can react differently when hot. It’s OK if the toffee mixture mixes in with the chocolate.

Let it rest for 5 minutes before sprinkling with sliced almonds and a pinch or two of flaky sea salt. I don’t measure the salt, but imagine the bars cut into 16 pieces and try to get one to two flakes on each bar. Don’t oversalt: You just want a hint of sea salt every bite or two.

Allow the bars to cool for about a half-hour before refrigerating for at least an hour and a half. Don’t put a hot pan into the refrigerator because it will raise the temperature of your refrigerator, which can cause other foods to spoil.

Take the pan from the refrigerator about a half-hour before serving. Allowing the bars to warm up a bit will allow you to cut them nicely with a sharp knife; if the bars are too cold the chocolate layer will crack.

If your home is hot you may want to keep the remaining bars well covered in the refrigerator, but if your home is cool you can leave them covered at room temperature and they will last for several days.

This recipe is non-gebrokts for those who don’t bake with matzo cake meal or matzo sheets during the holiday.

Chag kasher v’sameach to you and your loved ones. Enjoy and bless your hands! PJC

Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.

read more: