Drunken Purim Babka

Portrait of King Stanislaus Leszczyński.

To really celebrate Purim, we should consume so much alcohol that we cannot tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai. Unlike at all the other Jewish holidays, alcohol takes center stage during Purim. Why not extend this pleasure to all the recipients of your mishloach manot packages? Mishloach manot are the gifts of food that are traditionally given out during Purim. One delicious Purim food from the Polish Jewish community that can be added to a gift package is shikkor babka, or drunken babka. [Read more…]

Six Mishloach Manot Theme Ideas

— by Ronit Treatman

One of the most fun activities for Purim is putting together gifts of food for friends. The legal requirement for a mishloach manot is that there will be at least two types of food that are ready to be consumed immediately. This is to ensure that everyone in the community may celebrate Purim with a feast. This mitzvah is even bigger if the recipient is an orphan, widow, or financially disadvantaged. When we give these gifts to the poor (Matanot La’evyonim) we perform a mitzvah, which may “revive the spirit of the humble” and “revive the heart of the downtrodden” (Isaiah 57:15).

This is an opportunity to be very creative. Here are some fun ideas for food packages that you may assemble. I like to place everything in a straw basket. I tie it up with cellophane and ribbons, and it is ready to be presented.

Package ideas after the jump.
Coffee Shop Manot

  • Quality ground coffee
  • Hamentaschen
  • Biscotti
  • Coffee Cake
  • 2 personalized coffee mugs

Chocoholic Manot

Israeli Wine Manot

Fruit And Nut Manot

  • Hamentaschen
  • Dried fruits
  • Roasted nuts
  • Dark chocolate

Movie Night Manot

  • Hamentaschen
  • Popcorn
  • Candy
  • Lemonade

Israeli Treats Manot

Purim From Bakery29: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Tel-Aviv-based Bakery29 enables you to send a gourmet Purim gift package to your family and friends in Israel, with all profits going to the  Friends of the IDF’s IMPACT program, a college scholarship program for low-income combat soldiers.

You may order online. You may also create your own mishloach manot with any of Bakery29’s products.

Bakery29 is kosher dairy, with certification from the Tel-Aviv Rabbinate.

More images after the jump.  

Enhance Your Purim with a Delicious Chocolate Babka

— Michael Schapira

Cook Kosher has created a video guide to making an excellent Babka with minimum effort. It is a Purim favorite and great for Mishloach Manot!  Please cook along with this clip.

Chocolate Babka Recipe after the jump.

— Dough:

  • 2 oz fresh yeast (or 6 3/4 tsp dry yeast)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 6 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 oz margarine (3sticks)
  • 1/2 cup warm orange juice
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch salt

— Filing:

  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup sifted cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp coffee granules
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar

— Topping:

  • 4 oz margarine (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar

— To assemble:

  • oil for smearing
  • 1 egg, beaten for egg wash


— Dough:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water with a drop of the sugar.
  2. After it has completely dissolved, combine with the remaining ingredients in the mixer bowl.
  3. Mix well with a dough hook to obtain a smooth dough.
  4. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour.

— Filling:

  1. Mix all ingredients and mix well.

— Topping:

  1. Mix by hand to form crumbs.

— To assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease 3 loaf pan. Divide dough into 3 parts. Work with one section at time.
  3. Roll the dough to double the length of the pan (about the size of a cookie sheet) and smear with oil.
  4. Smear 1/3 of the chocolate filling over the dough.
  5. Roll up jelly roll style and pinch the ends closed.
  6. Fold the roll in half and twist 3 times.
  7. Transfer to loaf pan.
  8. Brush with beaten egg.
  9. Sprinkle the streusel over the entire roll.
  10. Repeat with the remaining two parts of dough.
  11. Bake for 1 hour.

Please rate and review this babka recipe.

Visit CookKosher.com for more kosher recipes.

Authentic Persian Mishloach Manot (Purim Basket)

Photo: Jypsygen

— by Ronit Treatman

Purim is a foodie’s paradise!  The Book Of Esther (9:22) instructs us to feast in celebration of the Jews’ deliverance from Haman.  It also tells us to send gifts of food to one another, so everyone may rejoice.  According to the Halakha, “gifts of food” means at least two different foods that are ready to be consumed.  In my family, the tradition was to have a minimum of three items in the Purim basket.  We always baked Hamantaschen, and included nuts and fruits in our gifts.  This year you can take your friends on a magic carpet ride to exotic, faraway Persia by sending them Purim packages with authentic Persian treats.  

I found recipes for four traditional Persian sweets.  They are pareve and gluten-free.  Best of all, they are really easy to prepare.

Recipes after the jump.

Photo: Shirni Sara

Nan-e Nokhochi:  Persian Chickpea Cookies
Adapted from Nooschi

  • 3 1/2 cups of roasted chickpea flour (available at Kalustyan’s)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • Crushed unsalted pistachios
  1. Place the chickpea flour, cardamom, sugar, oil, and rose water in a mixer.  Blend well.  
  2. Place the dough in an 11 X 7 brownie pan.  Flatten the dough so it fits snugly in the pan.  
  3. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour.  
  4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Cut the dough with a linzer cookie cutter.
  6. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet.  
  7. Decorate with the crushed pistachios.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes until they turn a golden-brown color.

These cookies are very crumbly, not too sweet, and melt in your mouth.

Naan Berenji: Persian Rice Cookies
Adapted from the Iran Chamber Society

  • 1 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rose water
  • Crushed pistachio
  1. Mix all the ingredients except the pistachio together.  Refrigerate for overnight.  
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  3. Roll out the dough.  Cut the dough with a round cookie cutter.  Garnish with the crushed pistachio.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.  

Naan Berenji are soft, moist, fragrant, and delicious.

Toot: Persian Marzipan
Adapted from Turmeric & Saffron

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons rose water
  • Slivered pistachios for garnish
  1. Mix all the ingredients except the granulated sugar and crushed pistachios.  Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.  Pick off small pieces of dough and roll them around a clean surface to shape them into the traditional shape: that of a mulberry.  
  2. Sprinkle some sugar on each confection.  
  3. Insert a sliver of pistachio at one end of each “berry” to be the stem.

Toot is rich, chewy, and intensely satisfying.  

Nan-E Gerdui: Persian Walnut Cookies
Adapted from New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij

  • 2 cups ground walnuts
  • 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Crushed pistachios for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  2. Grease a cookie sheet.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients except the crushed pistachios in a bowl.
  4. Scoop out the batter with a teaspoon, and drop little mounds of it onto the cookie sheet.  
  5. Sprinkle crushed pistachios on the cookies.  
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.

These cookies are sweet, nutty, crunchy, and delectable.

When you have finished concocting these exotic, delicious treats, it will be time for you to present them in a fashion that befits them.  I think it’s fun to imagine how they would have been served at Queen Esther’s party.  You can find an inexpensive silver-like tray at a thrift store, or a disposable metal tray.  Place each confection in an individual bakery tissue, and arrange it on the tray.   When your friends bite into these cookies, they will experience the sensual pleasures of rosewater, cardamom, and nuts.  Your magic carpet will transport them to Shushan, to Queen Esther’s table.