Nut and seed treats
Total time: 40 minutes, plus cooling time
Note: Packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, these are among the most healthful mishloach manot you can make. Queen Esther, a devout vegetarian (because the palace wasn't kosher), would have kvelled. For a Middle Eastern touch, a few drops of rosewater may be added to the oil mixture. Adapted from "The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking" by Phyllis Glazer with Miriyam Glazer.
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup untoasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped regular or toasted cashews
1/2 cup coarsely chopped regular or toasted almonds
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup canola or peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mild-flavored honey
6 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, wheat germ, salt and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, mix the oil, vanilla, honey and molasses until smooth. Pour the oil mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon till coated. Knead the mixture well with oiled hands until uniform and press firmly into the prepared pan. The mixture will be very sticky.
3. Bake until golden on top, about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for even cooking. Remove the pan from the oven and cut the sweets into square or diamond shapes. The mixture will be very soft and crumbly at first. Cool thoroughly in the pan so the sweets firm up and then remove carefully. (The first piece is the hardest to get out whole.)
4. Divide the pieces among colorful decorative paper muffin cups, or carefully cut into smaller pieces and place in mini-muffin paper cups.
Each serving: 340 calories; 7 grams protein; 39 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 19 grams sugar; 17 mg. sodium.