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Tropical Shalach Manot?

I am soooo sorry to have to be asking this, but I'm at a complete loss. My daughter has her heart set on a tropical theme for this year's shalach manot and I have no brilliant ideas. On one hand, it does make sense since I tend to make a number of tropical fruit flavored hamantaschen in addition to the traditional flavors. On the other hand, where's the time gotten to?

The only ideas I have so far are juice boxes of fruit punch and mini bottles of rum and a white chocolate bark with dried tropical fruit and nuts.

All ideas are welcome (other than ordering pre-made from the internet...way too expensive).

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  1. I make a Cuban pound cake with coconut, almonds, and lime zest - I can post the recipe if you'd like to attempt it in cupcake form.

    1. Are you only looking for edible things (or other fillers to go along with the theme)? What about bags of dried pineapple or plaintains; a rum cake would be nice too.

      1. I did this theme one year... I don't remember exactly what was included in it, though! Pineapple, banana, macadamia nuts, and coconut milk (those little cartons made by So Delicious) were in there for sure.

        1. A pineapple? A coconut, maybe? I like your rum idea. And then... mango salsa? Tropical laffy-taffys?

          I think a better investment would be the container and accessories than the actual contents of the shalach manos. Try Oriental Trading. A quick search gave me these ideas:


          Good luck!

          1. Dates are tropical, so anything made with them, or just them alone, would certainly fit the bill. I make an amazingly moist date cake, and gave them (baked in mini-loaves) one year that I did a shiva minim theme.

            BTW, what tropical flavors of hamantashen do you make?

            4 Replies
            1. re: queenscook

              Hmmm, not sure what you mean. Dates are not tropical. They grow in dry climates and no measurable amounts are grown in the Caribbean or the South Pacific.

              1. re: DeisCane

                Yeah, now that you mention it, I guess you're right. I was thinking of the palm trees they come from, and thought "tropical." On the other hand, I have definitely seen date palms--with fruit growing on them--in Myrtle Beach, and that's certainly not a dry climate, so I wonder if they can grow in less dry places as well.

              2. re: queenscook

                Queenscook, I frequently use lime curd as a filling and have used guava in the past. This year I will be making pomegranate (not exactly tropical, but somewhat exotic, nonetheless). The lime may or may not acquire some coconut this year, depending on how I feel when I'm baking.

                At the moment, I'm leaning towards baking a Cuban rum cake as mini cupcakes. I may not go to much over the top this year as I am also baking hamantaschen for a retirement home and may be getting in over my head.

                1. re: rockycat

                  Don't forget to throw in a plastic flowered lei! You can get them at party supply stores and are not very expensive.

              3. Pineapple juice. Last year my theme was "things beginning with P", and I found small cans of pineapple juice at Shoprite at a very reasonable price.

                Also plantain chips. I didn't include these because they were about $1 each and I already had enough stuff.

                1. I was at Marshall's in Freeport, NY yesterday, and there were a lot of interesting Mexican candies there with flavors such as chile mango. Many had a Mexican hechsher (consult your local rabbinic authority if need be) and were in packages of four, marked down to one dollar. You can also play up the sunny factor of the tropics by including Sunny Doodles cupcakes or Sunshine brand crackers. Or go for the sand factor and make some pecan sandies...

                  1. funky monkey banana snacks. jelly belly's - tropical fruit flavor. go up and down the candy aisle in just about any kosher grocery - you'll be inspired!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                      "Kosher grocery?" What's that? LOL
                      There is no such thing in my neck of the woods. But the ideas I'm getting here are great and not overly complicated. I tend to forget that Jelly Belly is now OU. Excellent idea. Thanks so much for all the input.

                      1. re: rockycat

                        How about dried mango, banana chips, or anything with coconut such as mounds, almond joy, or the coconut M & M's? Ditch the macaroons; everybody gets more than enough of those in about a month! You could even include some sort of drink mix for margaritas or dacqueries (not sure of spelling). Take a tour of your grocery. I'm sure some things will jump out at you.

                    2. Package it all together in a really big party cup with a straw and umbrella on the top!

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: DeisCane

                          Or one of those Island Hibiscus Treat bags from Oriental Trading that Cameraman linked to above. They'll be larger than a party cup, and easier to obtain than hollowed-out coconuts!

                          1. re: queenscook

                            I guess growing up in Miami with about 5-6 coconut palms on our property made me a bit spoiled...:-)

                      1. If you live in an area with a significant Mexican or Central American population, you can probably find pulparindo candies (Vaad of Mexico City, I think) in the 'Latin-American' part of grocery stores or even dollar stores. They're tamarind, which is definitely tropical and usually very cheap.