Purim seems to creep up on us so quickly and while there are no special foods that need to be prepared for the traditional Purim seudah, we do need to busy ourselves with moshlochei manot. The Purim mitzvah of sending moshloachei manot (literally meaning “the sending of portions”) is a beautiful one, requiring us to send two items of food, each requiring a different blessing, to at least one person on the day of Purim. The reasons for this are to ensure that everyone has sufficient food for the Purim feast as well as to counteract Haman’s accusation that the Jews are a divided and scattered people.
Everyone wants to make their mishlochei manot a little special. I believe that there’s nothing more unique than adding some of your own home made goodies to the basket. This is part one of a series of recipes for yummy goodies you can add to your mishloachei manot. I will post my recipe for Oznei Haman in this series…
To ensure that your baked goodies don’t mess the rest of your offerings, take cellophane paper and cut small squares that are about three times the size of each bar or cookie, and wrap each one by twisting the sides together like a candy wrapper. This will make them look really pretty and will stop crumbs and goo from falling all over.
My first recipe is for a really delicious Peanut Butter Bar that tastes a lot like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’ve had this recipe for years, and resurrected it when my son complained that you can’t get Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in Israel. This reminded me of the recipe, which I dug up from my recipe archives. The advantages of this bar is that it can easily be made parev, there’s no cooking required, and everyone loves them. I had to work very quickly to get a picture taken because before I looked around, they had been devoured.
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE BARS
¾ cup butter/margarine
2 cups petit beurre or Graham Cracker crumbs
340 g (12 oz) peanut butter
100 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
340 g (12 oz) semi sweet chocolate broken into pieces
How to do it
1. Soften the peanut butter in a microwave (optional but recommended) on medium heat for about 20-30 seconds, making sure not to melt it. Melt the butter/margarine and mix with the cookie crumbs, powdered sugar and the peanut butter. Spread the mixture evenly into an ungreased medium sized pan lined with baking paper, making sure the top is smooth and compacted. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
2. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler (I take a medium-sized pot with about 2 cm of boiling water at the bottom, over medium heat on the stove, and place a smaller pot with the chocolate in in on top. Preferably use a saucepan, as it’s easier to use with its long handle. Do not let the top pot touch the water.). Keep stirring the chocolate over the water until it’s all melted. Spread evenly over the base. Refrigerate until the chocolate has set.
3. Using a sharp, heavy knife dipped in boiling water, carefully cut bars. (You can cut the bars before the chocolate is hard, but this results in messy bars. The extra effort to cut the hardened chocolate is worthwhile as the bars look much nicer.)
This should yield 48-64 bars depending on how small you cut them.