This time of year can be strange for Jews, and Christmas parties can exacerbate the weirdness. Many a Jew has gone to a Christmas party wondering: Is it okay if I eat Christmas cookies? Is it okay if I make them? Do they have to be in the shapes of Jewish stars and dreidels?
For me, the Christmas cookie tradition has never posed much of a problem. I grew up making traditional Christmas cookies like gingerbread men with my mom, who wasn’t Jewish, and I love spending weekends making batch after batch of holiday cookies for my husband’s office and other loved ones. The concept that food is love transcends ethnicity or religion, and so I relish this time of the year to show my affections through the universal language of COOKIES.
Holiday cookies don’t have to be overtly for “Christmas” in fact my fellow food-loving writer Tamar Fox suggests a Hanukkah Sugar Cookie, with a special Austrian twist, perfect for a Jewish celebration or for other holiday treats.
Another way to update a cookie-classic with some Jewish spirit? Shades of Blue Rainbow Cookies from Nosher contributor Joy Prevor.
Or go totally “non-traditional” with my Salty Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies! My husband loves these, and who doesn’t just love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate.
Here are some of my other favorite cookie and treats recipes that I will be making later this week, Do you bake holiday cookies? Post your favorite recipes below!
Chai-Spiced Cookies from Whole Foods (pictured above)
Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti from King Arthur Flour
Poppy Seed Hanukkah Sugar Cookies from Weelicious
Oreo Cheesecake Brownies from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
Salted Fudge Brownies from Food and Wine
Traditional Rugelach from Joan Nathan
Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Cherries (pictured below)
Noshers! Here are our Hanukkah gift picks for a happy and healthy holiday around the table.
Quality olive oil is key to all tasty recipes—especially latkes! We love Baja Precious Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($9.99): it’s fragrant, beautiful, and BPA-free. Put that in your menorah and burn it.
What is Hanukkah without gelt? Exactly! Get your gelt on with these Belgian Hanukkah Milk Chocolate Gold Gelt Coins ($21.99).
Do you strive to be a balaboosta? (That’s Yiddish for “perfect homemaker.”) Well, the Balaboosta Cookbook features 140 delicious Mediterranean recipes and will put you well on your way!
Are latkes and knishes ever in your hunger wishes? If so, this “Latkes & Knishes Are My Wishes” ($19.99) is adorable and all black, so you can get it as oil-drenched as you’d like!
This Star of David Bundt Pan ($28.27) makes a festive Hanukkah cake with limited effort!
You can’t be more prepared for serving up latkes this Hanukkah with this Stainless Steel Hanukkah Latke Server ($8.95).
Let’s Nosh! ($6.29) is the perfect book of easy and satisfying Jewish comfort foods, from bagels to latkes and everything in between. Your family will be very pleased with these snacks.
You weren’t just going to line up those naked bottles of wine and call it a party, were you? We didn’t think so. These Happy Hanukkah Wine Charms ($35) look pretty cute around any (glass) neck.
These Hanukkah Menorah Kitchen Towels ($9.40) come in sets of three and will bring some easy festivity to your home (and cleanup!).
We hope this guide makes it easy for you to pick out all the gifts for the nosher in you and your family! Happy Thanksgivukkah 2013 to you!
With St. Patricks Day this weekend, I know I should be posting about green foods, or traditional Irish fare. But somehow I’m in an ‘orange’ sort of mood and was drawn to recipes surely rich in beta-carotene.
This Shaved Carrot and Pear Salad with Curry Dressing is both fresh and beautiful looking – and a totally different kind of salad to serve at your Shabbat meal.
And for another potential ‘orange’ side dish, check out these simple Coconut Roasted Sweet Potatoes. My favorite part of this recipe is the lime zest – a flavor compliment I would never have thought of on my own, but that really packs a punch.
And for an entree with a little orange flare, try this Roast Chicken with Tangerines – a sweet twist on a classic Friday night roast chicken.
Last but not least of course is dessert. I am seeing s’mores everywhere these days, so this recipe for Shabbat S’mores really caught my eye.
Shabbat Shalom and happy cooking!
Happy Tu Bishvat! Today we celebrate the birthday of the trees by eating fruit, nuts, grains, and other things that grow from the ground. Some people like to plant a tree on Tu Bishvat, but personally, I just like to eat cake. For instance, this morning I had a piece of our scandalously delicious Banana Cake for Tu Bishvat. As some people have pointed out, bananas don’t grow on trees, but this cake is also packed with nuts, dates, figs and raisins, and I added some chocolate to my version, too. I cannot stress enough how unbelievably good this is. Definitely the best Tu Bishvat dish I’ve ever made.
But if you’re still looking, we have a lemon lavender cake I can recommend, and a lemon and almond semolina cake that will knock your socks off. Combine any of these with a hot cup of tea and you are guaranteed a sweet and happy Tu Bishvat.
Perhaps you’re one of the lucky people who went to a Tu Bishvat seder last night, where you drank delicious wine and sangria, maybe got to eat fruit salad, orange and maple baked tofu, granola, Israeli salad, or persimmon cupcakes, all which are yummy Tu Bishvat foods. There’s still time to make any of these recipes today if you missed them yesterday.
Or if you’re looking for a very low maintenance way to celebrate, how about just stopping by your local grocery and picking up a nice bag of trail mix. As you enjoy the dried fruits and nuts, you can think about all of the great things trees bring to your life. L’chaim! To trees!