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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
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A Bountiful Basket

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        In 1893 the last and largest of the 19th century’s world fairs, the Columbian Exposition came to Chicago. Guests at the Palmer House Hotel received boxed lunches to take with them as they viewed the exposition. Bertha Palmer asked her chef to fix a dessert for the ladies that would not get their hands dirty. He created a small, rich and chewy chocolate square that later came to be called the brownie. The first published recipe for a brownie was in the 1897 Sears, Roebuck and Co. Catalog.
         Now-a-days brownie recipes, from the simple to the complex, can be found in many cookbooks, and brownie mixes grace the shelves of most groceries and supermarkets.
         However, there is no need to spend time with a cookbook and a hot oven. Today all you have to do is pay a visit to www.brownies.com the home of Fairytale Brownies (Greater Phoenix Vaad, dairy), makers one of the best-tasting brownies in the world.
         Founded in 1992 by two childhood friends, Fairytale Brownies are baked from scratch using the finest of ingredients – dark Belgian chocolate, farm fresh eggs and premium grade AA butter – and the taste – chewy and decadently delicious.
         The array of flavors the brownies come in are a delight to taste; amaretto, caramel, chocolate chip, raspberry swirl, toffee crunch – just to name a few. In our office we sampled all the flavors in two different sizes and had a hard time picking a favorite. However, when pushed to the wall, most chose toffee crunch and pecan.
         Another great thing about Fairytale Brownies, even the packages are beautiful and a delight to the eyes.
         As with many of the food products we review, the only downside is that you can’t find it in a store. However all the delicious flavors can only be ordered by going to www.brownies.com
         Biscotti are crisp Italian cookies traditionally baked with anise. Its name comes from bis meaning twice and cotto meaning cooked – biscotti dough is baked twice. While this treat is associated with Italy, the first versions were probably a form of hard tack or seaman’s biscuits. Sailors would very often be at sea for months on end and food that wouldn’t spoil was a necessity. These biscotti were thoroughly baked to draw out moisture and therefore resistant to mold. Legend has it that biscotti were introduced to the North American continent with Christopher Columbus who relied on them for his long sea voyages.
         The standard biscotto is made with anise, chocolates or nuts and is perfect for dipping in wine of coffee. They are a standard at coffee or espresso bars in the United States and Europe.
         Mandel bread, otherwise known as Jewish biscotti, dates back most probably to ancient Rome where it was popular with travelers. However, while there is a connection between the two, mandel bread is a bit softer then traditional biscotti. Jews enjoyed eating mandel bread with a cup of tea on Friday night or after Shabbat lunch.
         In 2003, a woman named Ellyn Glazer took the mandel bread from its usual Shabbat place and turned it into a gourmet dessert that you will want to eat any day of the week.
         Auntie Ellyn’s (Kof-K parve) biscotti/mandel bread comes in more than 60 flavors and can be made chocolate dipped or sugar free.
         A few weeks ago our office had the opportunity to try six different flavors and wow! That’s really the best way to describe it – wow! The taste was just overwhelmingly great. As a matter of fact, one person took the number to call before she had even finished her piece. Peanut butter and jelly, Rocky Road, Chocolate Cappuccino, Maple Walnut, Pecan Maple – the choices are so unusual, but amazingly delicious. (Have you figured out yet that we really liked them?) There is even whole wheat with honey, raisins and walnuts. You can even sign up for their mandel bread of the month club and constantly be surprised.

         To purchase just visit auntieellyns.com or call 732-786-1828 – be sure to tell them you read about them in The Jewish Press.

About the Author: Magazine Editor, The Jewish Press

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