There are many long-established foods served for this holiday, but this post will focus specifically on traditional Rosh Hashanah desserts.
Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year, is an integral part of Jewish religious holiday celebrations.
Before we jump into all the tasty sweet treats, though, let me give you a little background on Rosh Hashanah.
Typically, it takes place in September or October, though the specific dates vary.
It’s the celebration of the creation of the world and Adam and Eve.
Along with Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah is considered one of the two High Holy Days of the Jewish year.
As you can see, it’s a significant holiday, and as such, everything about it, from the bread and meat to the Rosh Hashanah desserts, deserves special care and consideration.
1. Honey Cookies
Honey cookies are a staple of any Rosh Hashanah celebration.
They’re small, round, and sweet, and they’ll put you in mind of vanilla wafers, though honey cookies are softer.
They’re simple to make and use only the most fundamental ingredients – flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and oil.
Their sweet and slightly spicy flavor comes from the addition of honey and cinnamon.
2. Applesauce Cake
Whether you’re making it for Rosh Hashanah or just because it’s the ideal fall dessert, applesauce cake is always a big hit.
Thanks to the walnuts, raisins, and applesauce, it’s surprisingly filling, and the blend of fall spices – cinnamon, sugar, and cloves – gives it a delightful spicy sweetness.
It also smells amazing and is thick and dense like a slice of banana nut bread.
3. Honey-Sweetened Carrot Kugel
Made with carrots, honey, vanilla, lemon zest, and common baking ingredients, carrot kugel tastes a bit like carrot cake.
However, while there’s some sweetness to it, it’s more savory than carrot cake.
In fact, in most Jewish households, people serve carrot kugel as a side dish instead of a dessert.
Whether you eat it for dessert or with your meal, though, it’s super tasty.
4. Jewish Apple Cake
This dense, sweet cake is one of my favorites, thanks primarily to the large chunks of tart apples inside it.
You bite into it expecting a sweet, crumbly cake, and instead, you’ll taste the sharp tanginess of a Gala apple. It’s almost the perfect cake.
5. Lekach (Honey Cake)
Though it looks like a loaf of dark bread, lekach is actually a super moist sponge cake made with honey and plenty of spices.
It takes a little over an hour to make, but it’s worth the time you spend on it.
There’s already a lot going on in this cake between the toasted walnuts, honey, apple juice, and whisky.
When you add the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ground mace, it becomes almost heavenly.
Plus, your kitchen will smell phenomenal while this is cooking.
Crescent roll desserts are always a hit in my house because of how soft, flaky, and buttery they are.
For authentic rugelach, you’ll want to make homemade crescent roll dough.
Once you finish the dough, the filling is a breeze.
Simply combine granulated sugar, light brown sugar, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Then, coat your rolled-out dough with the filling, roll them up, and bake them for 30 minutes. Easy-peasy!
7. Apple Crisp
Apple crisp is one dessert that’s so good, I could eat it any time of year.
However, thanks to the sweetly tart apples, aromatic cinnamon, and yummy brown sugar, it’s just right for fall and winter.
And yes, you’ll notice the ingredients list contains a bottle of Mountain Dew.
Please don’t leave it out! It adds a unique, tangy flavor and makes the dish delightfully moist.
8. Sweet Lokshen Kugel
Sweet lokshen kugel takes a little time and effort to get right, but once you do, you’ll have a dish that everyone will want to try.
The inside of the kugel is creamy, moist, and incredibly tasty, while the top has a wonderfully crunchy noodle topping to add some texture.
The recipe calls for raisins, but I prefer pineapple. It makes it a bit sweeter and, though you’ll drain the pineapples, a little juicier, as well.
9. Baked Apples
You’ve likely had baked apples before, but you’ve probably never had them like this.
You’ll take a whole apple and stuff it with yummy goodies like dates, walnuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, and honey.
Then, you’ll bake them, top them with more honey and walnuts, and serve them. They’re warm, wrinkly, sweet, and delicious.
10. Apple and Honey Granita
If you’ve never had it, granita is a frozen fruit dessert that’s light, refreshing, and unbelievably good. It’s also easy to make.
Simply mix your unsweetened applesauce and honey and freeze them overnight.
Then, scrape the frozen mixture with a fork into serving dishes. It’ll have a consistency similar to shaved ice.
Top it with pomegranate seeds or your favorite fruits and berries. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
11. Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
Apple pie cinnamon rolls. Let me say that again. Apple. Pie. Cinnamon. Rolls.
If that doesn’t sound like the most perfect dessert you’ve ever heard of, then you and I need to talk about priorities.
These are sticky, gooey cinnamon rolls filled with a warm, cinnamon and brown sugar apple filling and topped with rich cream cheese icing. They’re delectable.
12. Cinnamon Apple Stuffed Challah
This beautifully braided bread roll looks gorgeous and supremely tasty as-is.
It’s soft and fluffy on the inside but has a perfectly crispy exterior, made even yummier by the honey glaze.
However, there’s even more to love about this once you bite into it and realize it’s full of cinnamon- and sugar-coated apples.
If you’re making this tasty treat for a family gathering, you might want to make at least two.
13. Cocoa Apple Cake
Cocoa and apple are two ingredients that many people don’t often combine, but after one bite of this cocoa apple cake, you’ll understand why more people should.
The two go together, as Forrest Gump would say, “Like peas and carrots!”
The rich, moist chocolate cake is scrumptious; the walnuts add plenty of nutty crunch, and the apples and cinnamon give it that delightful fall flavor that we love.
14. Apple Meringue Galette
Any dessert with the words “no guilt” in the name is one that I like, except for this no-guilt apple meringue galette. I don’t like it.
I love it!
First of all, it looks gorgeous, and everyone knows how much I enjoy pretty food.
Secondly, it’s very low in cholesterol and doesn’t include many common baking ingredients that are “bad for you.”
Finally, it just tastes so incredible. It’s like a warm, sweet apple pie with a biscuit-like crust, topped with fluffy meringue. Every bite tastes better than the last.
15. Apple Butter Babka
If you enjoy the unique, sweet, but earthy flavor of apple butter, apple butter babka will quickly rise to the top of your favorite desserts list.
Basically, it’s a thick, savory brioche bread loaf with a generous apple butter swirl running throughout its middle.
Whether you toast it and serve it for breakfast or eat it for dessert, it won’t disappoint.
16. Apple Blondies
Not only are these apple blondies ideal for Rosh Hashanah, but they’re also gluten-free, vegan, and paleo-friendly.
If you have a family with lots of dietary restrictions, these will work just fine.
Plus, they taste fantastic. They’re soft and chewy, and they have an extraordinary spice and apple autumn flavor.
The warm, gooey caramel sauce on top is just a bonus – a delicious, decadent, delightful bonus.
17. Coconut Macaroons
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love the sweet, chewy goodness of a coconut macaroon. With this recipe, you can make your own in less than 30 minutes.
All you’ll need to make them are egg whites, honey, vanilla extract, shredded coconut, and just a dash of salt. They’re quick, simple, and super yummy.
This traditional Israeli dessert is another one that’s ideal for families whose members are on all kinds of different diets.
Halva is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan-friendly, and if you leave off the almonds on top, they can be nut-free, as well.
Oh! And did I mention they’re thick, chewy, and supremely tasty?
19. Chocolate Challah Bread
Challah bread always looks like a work of art to me, but chocolate challah bread is probably one of the most beautiful varieties.
It’s really too pretty to eat, but it tastes too good not to eat, so it always gets eaten, anyway.
It’s soft and sweet, and the chocolate filling is perfect, not overwhelmingly sweet.
And despite how intricate and complex it looks, it’s not hard to make.
20. Tahini Cookies
I love tahini cookies because of their simplicity. They require fewer than ten ingredients, and you can make three dozen in 30 minutes.
They have a consistency that’s somewhere between sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies, and they have a light, nutty taste that’s hard not to love.
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