By Mabel Frank, MHWOW Program Coordinator
The Ten Plagues have it all when it comes to low-barrier MHWOW program potential: intrigue, complexities for discussion, and a certain gross-but-you-can’t-look-away quality. When I dreamt up this particular activity, I wanted to bring friends together in dialogue, creativity, and sugar. The program blueprint is simple and flexible so you can make it work for your group: talk about the Ten Plagues, then decorate cookies (or matzah, or anything else) representing them.
Here’s how it went down at my recent gathering. We began by going over what the Ten Plagues are. I came armed with printouts of this article in case folks wanted to learn more, or we needed some discussion inspiration, but I should have known my friends wouldn’t need prompting to start talking. We discussed the impact of the plagues on the Egyptian people, and their suffering for the decisions made by their leader. There are a number of directions you could lead the conversation based on the above article, or you can see where your guests take it!
Next, we got to the cookie decorating. I’d baked the cookies ahead of time and had all of the supplies set up, so we were able to get started right away. My friends were fueled by a sense of cookie-based nostalgia and excitement, and I was floored by their creativity. There were literal and more symbolic interpretations, gross and cute ones, and some straight-up masterpieces.
This activity is all about imagination and flexibility. The cookie base, decorations, and direction of discussion are all entirely up to you, inspired by a staple of the Passover story. We can’t wait to see your masterpieces!
Note: You can make this program Kosher for Passover and host during the holiday, but you also may find it easier as a pre or post-Passover extravaganza. Get creative with matzah, Tam Tams, or your other favorite Passover-friendly foods. Regardless, it will be a celebratory and thought-provoking program!
Ten Plagues Passover Cookies
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or your preferred/Kosher for Passover flour)
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, or your arms, beat the butter/margarine and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture until just incorporated. Shape into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 350F. On a floured surface, roll out dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough into desired shapes. You can use cookie cutters if you have them, but a small cup works just as well.
- Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Cookie Topping Ideas:
- Dried fruits
- Whatever you have!