Translated, mishloach manot means “sending of portions.” So, on Purim, we send delicious foods to our friends and family. We have a long, ingrained and biblical tradition of providing food and sustenance for those who are less fortunate. But Purim is a bit different. We not only provide for those who have less, but we bring food to all our friends and relatives. The goal is to bring them joy and happiness and food that does not need preparation. So we fill bags and baskets with gel candies, wine and juices, chocolates and more, and, of course, hamentaschen.
Bringing food that is not necessary for sustenance is bringing food for the fun and joy of sharing and letting people know they are in your heart and part of your community.
While many of us bake, many do not, but the custom is still easily fulfilled. If you can, take a day and bake up a bunch of treats for the holiday. Hamentaschen is delicious and fun to make, but bars and cookies are also welcomed treats, as are tea breads and more. However, if you do not have the time to bake, there are so many kinds of foods that you can put in a gift basket, that no one will miss a home-baked touch. In addition, I have seen kosher certified hamantashcen in more and more grocery stores over the years and kosher bakeries are filling up their cases already. Let kids help fill and decorate the bags or baskets you use and let them help you deliver the treats.
And, if all that is too much for your hectic schedule, there are lots of Jewish groups that put together wonderful shalach manot bags that come with lovely cards. So, however you send shalach manot — whether homemade or ordered over the Internet — I know that the generous gift of fun foods will accepted with smiles and appreciation. Chag sameach!
Brown Sugar Fudge (Dairy)
Wrap pieces in plastic wrap or cellophane and drop a few in each bag. Yum!
4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 can evaporated milk (Do not use condensed milk.)
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. butter
OPTIONAL: 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts
OPTIONAL: Mini chocolate chips or grated white chocolate
Generously butter a 9x13 glass baking dish. A slightly smaller one will work and result in thicker pieces.
Combine the sugar and milk in a medium, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Stir very frequently.
When the mixture comes to a boil, increase heat to medium-high and boil for 4 TO 7 minutes, until a thermometer reaches 235 degrees or a drop of the mixture forms a soft, pliable, ball when dropped into cold water.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until thick and creamy and the mixture loses its glossy sheen.
Mix in the nuts and, if using, quickly and with as little mixing as possible, mix in the mini-chips or grated/chopped white chocolate.
Pour into the prepared pan, let set and cool. Refrigerate. Makes 24 to 36 pieces.
Brown Sugar Pecan Pie Goldies (Dairy)
These are a favorite. I wrap them separately and get about 24 bars.
1-1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/8 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 cup light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 extra large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 to one-half tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
OPTIONAL: 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips melted with 1 Tbsp. canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside. Put the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Add the butter by pieces and rub together with you CLEAN hands to incorporate the butter into the flour. When the mixture is all small crumbs, pour them into the pan and press them evenly over the bottom.
Place the corn syrup, sugars, flour, eggs, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set to medium speed and beat until mixture is well combined. Remove the bowl from the stand and add the pecan pieces. Mix with a spoon and pour the topping evenly over the crumb mixture. Spread the topping evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees until lightly golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. If using, melt the chocolate with the oil and spread over the top of the bars. Let cool completely before cutting.
Basic Cookie Dough Hamentaschen (Pareve)
We prefer cookie dough hamentaschen. You can use traditional fillings or some that are listed below.
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups unbleached flour
Line two or three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Gather whatever fillings you want and place them nearby. Place the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend on medium speed until smooth.
Add the baking powder to the flower and add to the eggs in three additions. Use the mixer to blend the first two, remove the bowl from the stand, add the third one and blend by hand. When the dough comes together, gather into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lay a piece of parchment on the table and flour generously. Place 1/3 of the dough on the surface, flour generously and place another piece of parchment on top. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4-inch thick.
Use a 3-inch glass and cut out circles of dough. Place a small spoonful of filling in the center of a circle and pinch the edges to form a triangle. Fold the rounded sides over the filling to leave a small opening through which filling can be seen. Repeat until all the dough is used. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Makes about 2 to 3 dozen hamentaschen.
Some Delicious Fillings for
Measurements for these are not specific. Make sure the filling is thicker than you might think because they will run during the baking process. Nutty ‘Tella: Nutella mixed with chopped, toasted hazelnuts
1. Smores:. Chocolate chips, snipped marshmallows, crushed graham crackers
2. PB&J: a dollop of peanut butter and jelly next to each other
3. Toffee Chocolate: Crushed toffee candy mixed with mini chocolate chips
4. Razzle-berry Chocolate: Raspberry jam mixed with mini chocolate chips
5. Cherry Pistachio: White chocolate chips, chopped pistachio nuts, dried cherries
6. Apple Pie: Finely chopped apples cooked with cinnamon, sugar, until softened
7. Cinnamon Nut: Chopped walnuts, cinnamon, sugar and a bit of melted butter
8. Chocolate Salted Caramel: Snip soft caramels, dark chocolate chips, sea salt
9. Apricot and Halvah: Mix apricot jam with crumbled almond halvah