Mishloach Manot Madness
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Mishloach Manot Madness

Mishloach Manot Madness

English Tea Time and Movie Night theme baskets.

by

One week until Purim and the excitement in my house is rising every day. I’m not a great one to fuss with costumes, but my mind is bubbling over with ideas for Mishloach Manot. The practice of giving food – specifically two different types — was mandated as a mitzvah at the suggestion of Queen Esther (you’ll find it in the Megillah), and we’re still obeying to this day. I like to go out of my way to give Mishloach Manot to people I just met or to new friends: it’s a great opportunity to break the ice with new neighbors too.

When it comes to your goodie basket, you can go from cheap and cheerful to expensive and exotic. The only things that limit you are your imagination and your wallet.

At first, I couldn’t decide between two ideas, so I developed two EASY recipes for you and me. I “borrowed” a few ideas from my friends, Tamar and Hadassah, but I can’t remember which was which. Anyway, you’re welcome to borrow these ideas from us, and we won’t tell a soul.

Option 1: an English Tea Time Shalach Manos. 
Homemade jam is so easy to make, so (literally) sweet, and a perfect way to use up all those bits of frozen berries in your freezer. You can package homemade jam and some biscuits, crackers, scones or English muffins (you can buy all of these) and a box of tea. To that end, I present you with a recipe for Homemade Mixed Berry Jam.

Option 2: a “movie night”  theme is fun and family friendly. 
You get to satisfy all your cravings for Twizzlers, soda and popcorn. But not just any popcorn: we’re talking homemade, gourmet Maple Almond Popcorn. Don’t worry – it’s truly Quick & Kosher and so easy you’ll do it again and again.

I decided to go with this one, so I picked up some plastic movie style popcorn tubs, and I’m rounding out the package with a can of soda tucked into a Coke cup with a lid (got ‘em from the pizza store). And of course, I’ll add a pack of Twizzlers. As soon as I put it together, I’ll take a pic for you and post it here.

Homemade Mixed Berry Jam

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups
  • Kosher Designation: Pareve
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups frozen mixed berries (raspberries and blueberries)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup diced peeled granny smith apple
  • 2 tablespoons water

Preparation:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until thickened and berries are broken down. Cool completely.
  2. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or can be canned and stored for up to 6 months.

Maple Almond Popcorn

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Serves: 8
  • Yield: 6 cups
  • Kosher Designation: Pareve
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups popcorn
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup maple syrup

Preparation:

  1. Grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Add popcorn and almonds and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Line a large sheet pan with foil and grease with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium heavy bottom saucepan over medium high heat, bring maple syrup to a boil. Boil until maple syrup reaches 300 F on a candy thermometer. Immediately pour over popcorn and stir vigorously to coat. Quickly spread popcorn mixture onto prepared pan and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

White Chocolate Bark

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Serves: 8 to 10
  • Yield: about 1 pound
  • Kosher Designation: Dairy
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients:

  • 11 1/2-ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried figs, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Line an 8×8-inch sheet pan with foil and set aside.
  2. Heat chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula until melted and smooth. Pour melted chocolate onto sheet pan and smooth with spatula to create an even layer. Sprinkle with dried fruits and nuts.
  3. Chill 30 minutes or until set. Peel foil away and break or cut into large chunks. Serve slightly chilled. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Serves: 24
  • Yield: 4 dozen
  • Kosher Designation: Pareve
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 sticks vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 4 tablespoons crushed peppermint candies

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder and whisk together. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream shortening and sugar for 2 minutes or just until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated. Add peppermint extract and mix well. Slowly mix in dry ingredients and beat on low speed until mixture comes together and forms a ball.
  3. Scoop out 1-inch balls and roll between the palms of your hands. Place on parchment paper and flatten with fingers or a spatula to about 1/8” thick. Sprinkle cookies with crushed candy and bake 13 to 15 minutes or until set. Cook 5 minutes on sheet pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Published: March 12, 2011


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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) Hadassah, March 21, 2011 3:02 PM

Great recipes/ideas!

While I didn't make any of these recipes for Purim this year, I plan to make them in the future. I really like the idea of the English tea, and I want to try the maple/almond popcorn and the bark with dried fruit (though will probably try it with milk or dark chocolate (not a big fan of white chocolate). I like you you state the prep time and level of difficulty. Happy Shushan Purim!

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