Once upon a time, making Mishloach Manot, or food gifts for Purim, was a simple affair. Homemade hamantaschen, of course, were always the centerpiece. There were usually little bags of chips or pretzels, some candy or fruit, and maybe a little bottle of grape juice in the more extravagant baskets.
Nowadays, themed Purim baskets rule, and many gifters try to outdo themselves each year with new and imaginative takes on the mitzvah. Whether you're sending baskets to 2 people or 25, here are lots... of ideas and recipes to help you assemble creative, delicious Purim baskets. Have other great ideas? Share them in my forum!
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Simple and Healthy
If you plan to send a lot of mishloach manot, this combo of healthy treats is practical, delicious, and economical to assemble. This is also a nice option to have on hand as backup, in case you receive unexpected gifts and want to reciprocate.
The citrus, nuts, and dried fruits are also attractive enough to package simply in a large cellophane bag tied with ribbon (wrap the trail mix, bonbons, and hamantaschen in smaller bags first).
- Chocolate Hazelnut Stuffed Dates (Pareve)
- Homemade... trail mix
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Cheese Lovers' Basket
If you're fortunate enough to live in an area where high quality kosher cheese is available, offer it along with several gourmet accoutrements. If you're sticking to just a couple of mishloach manot, and really want to impress, place the items on a cheese board and package in cellophane. Just make sure the recipient will be able to refrigerate the perishable cheese immediately.
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Chocolate is almost universally loved, so why not theme a basket around it? The possibilities are nearly endless, but you can keep this one pretty simple and I doubt anyone will complain.
- Chocolate coconut water
- Homemade Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (Pareve)
- Dark chocolate bar
- Hamantaschen with Chocolate Dough (Dairy)
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The Breakfast Basket
Breakfast is fun any time of day, so build a basket filled with brunch-worthy goodies. This is a great option if you secretly hate rolling out dough for hamantaschen, but still like whipping up a batch of homemade muffins.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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South of the Border
Who says mishloach manot have to center around sweet stuff? Go spicy, savory, and totally snackable with chips, salsa, and tropical fruit.
- Tortilla chips
- Hot sauce
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Celebrate Queen Esther's heroic role in the Purim story by making mishloah manot that pay tribute to her. The pomegranate, cucumbers, and hamantaschen are a nod to Persian cuisine; the sunflower seeds mark Esther's commitment to keeping kosher in Achashverosh's palace, where she is said to have eaten nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes instead of meat.
- Persian cucumbers
- Sunflower Seeds
- Rose Water Pistachio Hamantaschen (Dairy)
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If you've got an oenophile on your list, you can't go wrong with a bottle of wine. This is a bit of a splurge, so keep the go-withs simple.
- Bottle of kosher wine
- Water crackers or grissini
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This basket is inspired by some of the iconic elements of Israeli cuisine; if you take it a step further and buy Israeli foodstuffs, it's a great way to support the country's economy too.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Handmade challah is a thoughtful gift, and the recipient will know you invested time and effort in their mishloach manot if you offer one. Even a small jar of gourmet salt for dipping will last for many Shabbatot, and does double duty as a weekday finishing salt, too. If any newlyweds are on your Purim basket list, a jar of honey is a nice touch -- some have the minhag (custom) of dipping their Shabbat challah in honey instead of salt for the first year of marriage to ensure a sweet life... together.
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Popcorn is delicious -- even nutritious (if you stick to air popped, that is). A favorite spice is a great way to jazz it up, and homemade chocolate raisins (or another favorite movie candy) drive the theme home.
- Popcorn (already popped)
- Curry powder, zaatar, or Old Bay for sprinkling
- Glass bottle of specialty soda
- Chocolate covered raisins
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Take Me Out To The Ballgame
What spring holiday falls between Purim and Pesach? To diehard baseball fans, it's MLB's Opening Day. If you know any baseball lovers, they'll flip for ballpark goodies, and you might just make their wait for the season opener a little easier.
- In-shell sunflower seeds
- Cracker Jack
- Soft pretzels