Chocolatey treats from the UK's "Jewish Princesses," Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn, pair well with Torah. (Screenshot/
Chocolatey treats from the UK's "Jewish Princesses," Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn, pair well with Torah. (Screenshot/

These easy, chocolatey treats will sweeten your Simchat Torah

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Adding a little chocolate to your celebration of Simchat Torah is sure to increase the sweetness of the holiday, which marks the conclusion of Torah readings for the year and the beginning of a new cycle.

This year, the holiday starts at sundown Oct. 12 outside of Israel, and the evening before in Israel. Wherever you are, you can be sure there will be lots of dancing and singing with the Torah scrolls.

One popular custom nowadays is offering something sweet to reflect the “sweetness” of the Torah. Perhaps this is based on an old Ashkenazi custom of giving children a bit of honey on their first day of studying Torah so they would associate the treat with learning.

I have found two fun-to-make treats in “The Modern Jewish Table,” a new cookbook by two self-described British “Jewish Princesses” (Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn). In offering up 100 kosher recipes from around the globe, Fine and Tarn take a light-hearted approach and aim to simplify preparation. Many Jewish standards are included, some with a twist, such as “Street Food Gefilte Fish Bites.” Recipes are infused with touches from Britain, Vietnam, Italy, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Here are two of the book’s dessert recipes, adapted for style and to reflect my experience making them.

“Nutella” Cookies

Adapted from “The Modern Jewish Table”

Makes 32 cookies

1½ cups ground almonds
½ cup light muscovado sugar (see notes)
3 Tbs. Nutella, or other chocolate-hazelnut or chocolate-almond spread
1 large egg, beaten

“Nutella” Cookies and Rock on Rocky Road made by Faith Kramer, inspired by The Jewish Princesses (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking trays with parchment paper. In bowl, mix almonds, sugar, chocolate spread and egg until a thick, smooth paste is formed.

Take a measuring teaspoon full of batter and roll into a ball. Place on baking tray, leaving room between cookies.

Bake about 10-15 minutes until puffed and the top springs back when touched. Cool in pan for 2 minutes, remove to rack. Cool completely. Cookies firm as they cool. Store airtight.

Notes: Muscovado sugar is partially unrefined sugar with molasses in it; I substituted light brown sugar. Also, I slathered additional chocolate spread on the flat side of cooled cookies and topped each with another (flat side down) to make cookie sandwiches.

Rock on Rocky Road

Adapted from “The Modern Jewish Table”

Makes about 30 pieces

7 oz. graham crackers (see notes)
4½ oz. butter, softened
10½ oz. dark chocolate, broken into pieces
5 Tbs. golden syrup (see notes)
6 oz. mini marshmallows
3½ oz. shelled, salted peanuts
Confectioners sugar, for dusting

Line an 8-by-8-inch rimmed baking pan (at least 2 inches deep) with plastic wrap, making sure wrap comes up and over all sides. Put crackers in a heavy plastic bag. Seal. Bash with a rolling pin until most are bite sized. Combine butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy sauce pan. Melt, stirring occasionally.

Place half of the graham crackers and half the marshmallows in a bowl. Pour half of the melted chocolate over and mix well. Add in peanuts, remaining crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. Stir well, making sure everything is well coated. Pour into pan, spreading out with the back of a large spoon. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Cut into squares with sharp knife. Turn out of pan. Dust with sieved confectioners sugar. Wrap pieces in wax paper. Store airtight in refrigerator.

Notes: As a variation, I used half the graham crackers and added a half cup of dried, pitted sweet cherries. Golden syrup is sugar cane syrup available from some specialty stores. I substituted light corn syrup.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].