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Cult Kosher

Cult Kosher

The top 10 treats we love to eat during Pesach.

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Passover’s almost here and supermarkets are starting to fill up with those kosher for Passover foods you can’t get, or wouldn’t care to eat, any other time of year. No, not matzah and potato starch: I mean the good stuff.

#10: Coca-Cola with the yellow top. The colored cap means the Coke is made with cane sugar, so it tastes the way it did back in the day, before high fructose corn syrup took over the world. Corn, of course, is kitnyiot, that category of grains and legumes that are forbidden to Ashkenazi Jews during the holiday along with the more obvious foods like bread and pasta. Sarah Klinkowitz, author of the blog "Food, Words & Photos," says her family fights about which version actually tastes better. But taste aside, everyone knows that Coke made with sugar is healthier than that high fructose corn syrup kind, right? Ditto Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda, also made with sugar during Passover.

#9 Hashachar H’aole Special Cocoa Spread. Folks like Sina Mizrahi at The Kosher Spoon like to wet their matzah just slightly under cold running water and then spread it with the chocolate. According to the scuttlebutt, this is an Israeli thing, and it means the holiday is coming. “ I’m getting excited for Pesach now!” Mirzrahi said.

#8 Manischewitz Coconut Patties. If you, like me, are always on a diet, you allow yourself to eat these candies—a cross between macaroons and Mound’s candy bars—only during Passover. My brother stocks them in his freezer and I actually could have them any old time. But I don’t. I really don’t.

#7 Tam Tams. Because they’re beyond crackers. “They make me want more of everything,” reflected Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me, who has found all sorts of interesting ways to use these savory old reliables: as soup croutons, for instance. Who knew?

#6 Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup. Because any self-respecting person whose family ever lived in Brooklyn or the Bronx knows that you can’t make a decent egg cream without Fox’s U-Bet. Don’t even think about Bosco and especially don’t ever make one of those fancy Food & Wine versions with homemade chocolate syrup, cinnamon, pepper and cardamom. Egg creams are a holiday treat. Do it right. And besides, on Passover it’s healthier, for the same reason as #10.

#5 Chocolate Lollypops. On Passover even the most health-conscious parents stop pretending that their kids’ favorite treat is kale chips and give in and serve these, at least for the Seder. “People come to buy these way before Passover because they think we might run out of them,” said Eli Siegel, manager at Seasons in Flushing, New York.    

#4 Baby Fingers. So many parents—including Chanie Apfelbaum of Busy in Brooklyn—who never, ever buy packaged or processed foods own up to buying these cookies. “My kids wouldn’t survive Passover without them,” Apfelbaum said. Her sister-in-law even uses baby fingers crumbled up with milk instead of Passover breakfast cereal. At Empire Kosher Supermarket in Crown Heights, I’m told, they can never have too many boxes. Fun fact: Baby fingers were once called lady fingers, but that name was considered too suggestive.

#3 Manischewitz Rocky Road Macaroons. Because even though they’re just canned macaroons, they’re loaded with coconut, chocolate chips, cashews and marshmallow bits. Need I say more? “They fly off the shelves before Passover begins," said Siegel of Seasons in Flushing.

#2 Jelly Half Moons. True, there were no jelly half moon candies crusted with sugar in the desert during the exodus. But these chewy, crunchy sweets that get stuck between every tooth have shown up on Passover shelves for as long as I can remember. Why? Who knows? Who cares? They just do. And for those who aren’t in the know, Ian Pilarski, buyer at Fairway supermarkets, said, “The secret to the jelly candies is that they go in the freezer before they’re served.” Jamie Geller, cookbook author and head of Kosher Media Network — she knows her way around kosher food — thinks of them as the ultimate: “Jelly rings and jelly slices - so Pesach!” she said.

#1 Chocolate-Covered Jelly Rings. Because if candy jellies are among the most wanted musts on Passover, why not cover them with chocolate just to gild the lily? Besides, you can put one of these on each finger, which is really convenient, and eat a whole handful at a time. Chocolate-covered jelly rings on Passover are the equivalent of Chinese food on Christmas. Everyone knows that—you just might not have realized you knew it until now.

Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author and cooking teacher in Stamford. Her latest book is Hip Kosher. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at and follow on Twitter at @RonnieVFein.

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