Since posting my original Kichel recipe several years ago, I have had many requests for a Passover Kichel recipe. After many iterations, I landed on a formula that I enjoy. Also known as Jewish bow tie cookies or nothings, these kichel are light, fun to make, and an enjoyable Passover treat.
What are Kichel?
Kichel is actually the Yiddish word for cookie, but for those of us regulars at Jewish bakeries, we know that it means a specific type of cookie – a light, airy, crunchy, kind of part cookie/part cracker, usually coated in sugar, yet eaten both as a sweet and with savory. Kichel are often shaped as bow ties but can really be made in any shape, such as rectangle, square, triangle, or circle.
Ingredients for Jewish Bow Tie Cookies or Nothings
With just a handful of ingredients, you can have kichel for Passover:
- Eggs: 3 large and I large egg yolk are all we need.
- Sugar: Just a couple teaspoons in the batter and more for rolling out and dredging.
- Oil: Any kosher for Passover oil works well here.
- Flavor: Depending on what you can find for Passover, you can use kosher for Passover vanilla extract, seeds of a vanilla bean, or flavored liquor such as amaretto, brandy, rum, or cognac. Lieber’s makes a kosher for Passover pure vanilla extract and an imitation vanilla extract (which is more economical and sufficient for these kichel.) Gefen also makes a pure vanilla extract.
- Matzo Cake Meal: Be sure to use cake meal, as it is more finely ground than matzo meal.
- Potato starch: Improves the crispness of the kichel, making them a bit delicate.
How to Make Passover Kichel
While there are similarities between making Passover kichel and my regular kichel recipe, there are key differences. In my regular recipe, we mix the dough for a longer period of time to develop the gluten in the flour. In this recipe, we beat the eggs with the sugar for a long period of time to create stronger bonds between the protein strands in the eggs.
It is actually quite easy to make Passover kichel. The first and key step is to beat the eggs with the sugar for 10 minutes using an electric mixer with either the paddle or the whisk attachment. To that, add in the oil and vanilla, then all the dry ingredients until the dough is fully formed. You want to mix until the dough is no longer sticky, which could take several minutes. Pour onto some sugar, top it with more sugar, roll out, cut and shape.
These “nothings” take longer to bake than my regular kichel recipe. However, they seem to bake faster for some people, which may be due to use of different brands of ingredients. Start checking them at the 20 minute mark. You want to be sure that they are fully cooked through so that they are crisp, even in the middle, without burning.
If you’re looking for more Passover treats, be sure to check out:
- Light, fluffy, citrus-filled Passover Sponge Cake
- Grain free, gluten free, dairy free, super delicious Lemon Blondies
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Passover Kichel
What is a good substitute for vanilla extract?
If you cannot find kosher for Passover vanilla extract, you can spilt a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Press the seeds into the 2 teaspoons of sugar before adding to the eggs. Alternatively, you can use 2 teaspoons of any kosher for Passover liquor..
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 108 grams vegetable oil (½ cup)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (See note below)
- 84 grams matzo cake meal (⅔ cup)
- 36 grams potato starch (3 Tablespoons)
- 150 grams sugar, divided (¾ cup)
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In mixer with paddle attachment, combine eggs, egg yolk, and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Mix on high speed for 10 minutes.
- While the eggs are beating, whisk together the cake meal and potato starch in a small bowl.
- Reduce the mixer speed and pour in the oil and vanilla extract. Mix on high until all ingredients are fully combined, 3-5 minutes. Make sure the oil is fully emulsified into the egg mixture. If you see any signs of oil, keep beating.
- Reduce mixer to low speed and mix in dry ingredients until they are fully absorbed. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high or high and keep beating. You may have to stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat for 3- 5 minutes. The dough should feel slightly wet, but not sticky.
- Liberally spread approximately ¼ cup sugar on parchment paper set on countertop. (You can do this directly on the countertop, but it makes for a much easier cleanup to do it on parchment paper.) Use a rubber spatula or bowl scraper to scoop the dough onto the top of the sugar. Liberally spread an additional ¼ cup of sugar on top of the mound of dough. Roll dough to approximately ¼ inch thick, using a bench scraper to guide the dough to create and maintain a rectangle, approximately 7 inches by 12 inches. Continue to coat the dough using as much of the remaining sugar as necessary (top and bottom) while rolling out the dough.
- With a pizza cutter or a knife, cut rectangles, 1 inch by 2 inches. (Make 1 inch cuts along the side of the dough that is 7 inches, and make 2 inch cuts along the side of the dough that is 12 inches.) Carefully twist each rectangle in the middle. Place on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart from each other. Bake in the center of the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, but check them at the 20 minute mark and then the 30 minute mark, as ovens vary. (If they are done in 20 minutes, it means you probably did not mix the ingredients long enough before shaping.) They are done when the edges and bottoms are deep golden brown. You can always break one apart to make sure the dough is no longer soft in the middle. Allow to cool completely, leaving them out at room temperature for several hours.
- If you cannot find kosher for Passover vanilla extract, split a vanilla bean down the middle and scrape the seeds out with the back of a paring knife. Use your fingertips to press the seeds into the 2 teaspoons of sugar. Add the vanilla sugar to the eggs in Step 2. Alternatively, you can use 2 teaspoons of any kosher for Passover liquor such as amaretto, brandy, rum, or cognac.
- Kichel will stay fresh for at least several days stored in an airtight container. They also freeze very well.