Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and like most Jewish holidays, it usually revolves around a big feast and ends with a plethora of desserts to mark the celebration. Most sweet treats will incorporate Rosh Hashanah’s star ingredients: apples and honey. The meal begins by dipping apples in honey to symbolize the start of a sweet new year. This is also the reason apples and honey are heavily featured in most Rosh Hashanah desserts. During this holiday it’s customary to wish someone “Shana Tova U’metuka” or “Have a Sweet and Happy New Year” to ring in a new, sweet start.
Related: Classic Rosh Hashanah Brisket
Upside Down Apple Cake
During this holiday, cakes reign supreme. Honey cakes, coffee cakes and apple cakes are often found on Rosh Hashanah dessert tables, so this upside down glazed apple cake that infuses both apples and honey is the dessert to make. It takes the traditional honey cake and flips it on its head, literally, by exposing sweet and gooey salted caramel apples on top.
Hasselback Apples Topped with Coconut Oat Streusel
When you’re looking to feature apples as the star of the dessert table, instead of baking them into a pie or cake, try these cinnamon and brown sugar dusted hasselback apples. They’re baked to gooey perfection, as the sweet streusel crisps on top and inside the little slits of the softened hasselback apples.
Cinnamon Twist Cookies
If there aren’t any cookies on the table, can you really call it dessert? Like many Jewish foods, these cinnamon twist cookies are enjoyed throughout many Jewish holidays. Although they don’t feature apples or honey, the cinnamon spice elicits the feelings of sweetness (the sugar helps too!) to ring in the new year.
Halva Magic Bars
Halva is a really popular Middle Eastern dessert and literally translates to the word “sweet”. It’s a combination of crushed sesame seeds with honey. These halva magic bars can definitely help celebrate a sweet new year, especially with the addition of ingredients like dark chocolate, coconut and rosewater.
Sephardic Spiced Challah
While challah is technically not a dessert, most eggy, sweet and pillowy challahs resemble a light cake, which is why it’s on this list. This challah takes on a Sephardic twist, meaning the flavours originate from places where Sephardic Jews are from (North Africa, Middle East, Spain and Portugal). During Rosh Hashanah, challahs are round in shape, rather than long, as the roundness symbolizes the cyclical nature and continuity of life as a new year begins.
Apple Cider Coffee Cake
Next on the list of Rosh Hashanah desserts is this sweet, tender apple cider coffee cake that’s topped with a cinnamon crumble. It’s the quintessential dessert for this time of year, featuring apples in the form of apple cider. This sweet, apple-infused beverage gets baked into the cake and is also needed to make the sticky glaze. The spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, all help to elevate the apple flavour making this a real treat on Rosh Hashanah.
Miso Apple Crumble
When making a list of Rosh Hashanah-inspired desserts, obviously an apple crumble is a must. Crumbles are one of the easiest ways to incorporate apples into sweets, even for the most novice baker. This simple, unfussy dessert elevates your typical apple crumble with the addition of miso, adding saltiness and a rich caramel flavour.
Air Fryer Churros
While churros are not a traditional Rosh Hashanah or Jewish dessert, this recipe is perfect for ringing in the Jewish near year — also, who doesn’t love fried, sweet dough coated in cinnamon-sugar? Jewish cuisine uses a lot of tahini, so accompanying these churros with a chocolate-tahini dipping sauce makes it a great Rosh Hashanah treat.
Related: Tahini Honey Rice Krispies Treats
Baklava French Toast Bake
You may think French toast is reserved only for breakfast time, but this indulgent baklava French toast bake will make all dessert lovers swoon. It may be a less traditional Rosh Hashanah dessert, but the incorporation of honey helps celebrate the sweetness of a new year. Baklava is a very popular dessert for many cultures and religions, including Jews, making this a wonderful sweet for celebration. The base of the French toast is croissants, rather than bread, giving it that puff pastry, baklava flair.
Babka is that delicious twisted cake-bread that’s commonly swirled with chocolate, cinnamon, raisins or jam. It originates from Eastern Europe as “babka” translates into “grandmother” in Polish. Babka is a classic Jewish dessert for most holidays, especially on Rosh Hashanah. This chocolate babka has a healthy twist that can even be enjoyed for breakfast the next day — especially when toasted with a dab of butter, just perfection!