When I was a young girl, I loved making our family’s mishloach manot, the gifts of food we would give to our friends, family and neighbors on Purim. Although they were not very fancy, we put a lot of effort and creativity into making them.
On Purim, I remember waiting with my siblings to see what exciting things we would receive from my aunt and our neighbors. In those days, we would make all the cakes and cookies ourselves, not like today when so many people just buy expensive packaged items. In my opinion, this has made the holiday less special and less exciting for kids.Learn more about Pascale's Kitchen here>>
So I thought, now that we’ve survived this crazy year, this Purim is the perfect time to go back to our roots and prepare special homemade cookies and treats for mishloach manot. As it seems we will not yet be able to spend the upcoming holiday with extended families and friends, this is the perfect way to express our love from afar while we engage our creative sides.
To that end, I invited pastry chef and food blogger Adi Klinghofer, aka Adikosh (a nickname her father came up with), to spend the day with me in my kitchen. The first time I saw Adi’s blog, I was shocked by two things: First, that she has 295,000 followers, and second, that she’s only 23 years old.
After a short introductory conversation on the phone, we decided to meet up (wearing masks and following all the other COVID-19 guidelines) so we could spend the day together doing what we both love doing more than anything else: making tasty cookies that are perfect for mishloach manot. Below, you will find two of Adi’s cookie recipes that are full of love (and lots of chocolate).
As we sat down to work in my kitchen, Adi told me about her love of art and how she spent a good part of her childhood drawing, and also experimenting in the kitchen with her caring aunt who loved baking.
Eight years ago, when Adi was just 15, she lost her mother to cancer. During that difficult time, Adi fell into such a depression that it physically paralyzed her. The pain was so great that she lost all interest in everything, except for the fleeting moments she spent baking in the kitchen. Slowly, she clawed her way out of the depression and began spending hours in the kitchen as a form of therapy, since this was the only place she could escape the overwhelming pain.
Adi took basic ingredients like chocolate, sugar, flour and butter, and designed magical creations with them. The incredible aromas of baked goods filled her home and brought her tremendous comfort. When Adi was baking, she felt empowered and comforted.
Slowly, Adi brought herself back to life. Although her precarious mental state did not allow her to be drafted into the IDF, she took advantage of the time to enroll in Bishulim Culinary School in Tel Aviv, where she learned many secrets from the world of confections. Adi began selling cakes she made at home, and soon she began publishing recipes, methods and advice on her blog (adikosh.co.il), as well as on her Instagram page.
Adi has created many original recipes, which she posts on social media. Here are two of them. The first is for crackle-top chocolate brownies. The second is for lotus, oat and white chocolate squares. Both are perfect for sending in mishloach manot to loved ones for Purim.
CRACKLE-TOP CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
Makes 12 large brownies.
225 gr. bittersweet chocolate
55 gr. butter
160 gr. white sugar
15 gr. cocoa powder
100 gr. flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup chocolate chips
30 gr. walnuts, chopped
Place the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl. Melt them in the microwave a few seconds at a time until completely melted.
Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip for 5 minutes until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and mix well.
While mixing, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
Add the chocolate chips and walnuts (saving a few pieces to add on top before serving). Fold batter with a spatula to mix.
Line a baking dish with baking paper. Using an ice cream scoop, place dollops of batter on the tray with plenty of space between each one.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 175°C for 14 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 30 minutes.
LOTUS, OAT AND WHITE CHOCOLATE SQUARES
Use a 20 cm. x 20 cm. pan.
130 gr. butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
150 gr. lotus cream
150 gr. honey
300 gr. oats
230 gr. white chocolate
3 Tbsp. lotus cream
10 lotus cookies
Place the butter, sugar, lotus cream and honey in a large pot and heat over a low flame while stirring.
Bring to a boil while stirring and then add the oats. Mix well.
Transfer mixture to a 20 cm. x 20 cm .pan that is lined with baking paper and greased with oil spray. Flatten the mixture using a spoon. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 160°C for 20 minutes. Let cool.
To prepare the icing, place the white chocolate in a bowl and melt a few seconds at a time in the microwave until completely melted. Pour the white chocolate over the cake and spread evenly with an icing spreader.
Melt the lotus cream in the microwave and then pour into an icing bag. Spread lines of lotus cream on top of the white chocolate, then use a toothpick to make creative shapes. Sprinkle the lotus cookies on top and then put the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
Remove the cake from the pan and cut into squares using a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 3 hours.
Status: Dairy.TiPascale: Tips for preparing mishloach manot
Cookies: Make bite-sized cookies, so you end up with more cookies that have fewer calories per piece.
Filling: Variety is the name of the game. You can use any dried fruit or nut spreads of your choice. Just make sure they’re not too hard or dry. You can also add cocoa powder or fruit spreads to the dough.
Time-saving tips: Use store-bought spreads such as almond, hazelnut, sesame, chocolate and cinnamon filling.
Appearance: Cupcake holders make cookies look fancier. You can use different colors, textures and flavors to enhance your cookies.
Additional items: Add a small jar of homemade jam to your mishloach manot. This is a great way to take advantage of seasonal fruits that will soon be unavailable.
Packaging: Purchase colorful cellophane, ribbons, pinking shears and construction paper so you can add personalized notes to your mishloach manot.
I like to collect cookie tins and repurpose them, tied with a pretty ribbon, for sending loved ones cookies. You can also use baskets or boxes that you cover with wrapping paper. These are great jobs to give kids so they can feel involved and also express their creativity.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.