The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, means a time of reflection, certainly, but like many holidays, it's also a time to join together with family and enjoy a meal. There are traditions that span all types of observants, including slight variations passed through generations of families, but a few common themes, flavors and ingredients are sure to be found in any holiday spread.

Sweets are important, so expect lots of fruit, especially the traditional "New Fruit," which could be anything from pomegranate to star fruit to something the family has not yet tasted this season. Sweet things in general are meant to symbolize a "sweet" new year, but honey in particular gets found in multiple types of dishes from cakes to breads to dips for fruit. Apples (see below) dipped in honey are a common sighting at a Rosh Hashanah celebration, as are bowls of the sweet stuff for dunking breads like challah. We won't say the teddy bear honey dispensers are horrible (oh wait), but a locally grown honey will taste that much sweeter.

Round objects are also important as they symbolize the cycle of the seasons and the continuity of a year spent orbiting the sun. Things like bagels are a common way to break the Yom Kippur fast, which takes place a week after Rosh Hashanah. You'll also find other pastries and breads baked into circles to celebrate the holiday.

Challah with built in honey bowls from Breads Bakery (Brian Kennedy)

CHALLAH BREAD: These beautiful, braided breads are found at many religious meals in the Jewish faith and Rosh Hashanah is no exception. For this holiday, however, many bakeries choose to construct the braids in the shape of a circle, once again signifying the circle of time. Challah can be both savory and sweet, as it's often topped with nuts and seeds, especially during the New Year; its fluffy interior easily soaks up honey, though beware losing part of your bread in the dipping vessel.

Harlem's Hot Bread Kitchen will debut a savory Sephardic challah at their Greenmarket stalls and Maison Kayser will be baking up round honey challah breads with or without raisins. Breads Bakery is also crafting superb challah rings topped with poppy, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and nigella seeds with honey bowls baked right into the bread.

Apple Babka from Breads Bakery (Brian Kennedy)

BABKA: These tasty twisted yeast cakes are perfect for diving in with your hands and pulling apart the sweet dough. Between the wrinkles of dough are strands of chocolate, cinnamon or other sweet spreads; the cakes can also be studded with raisins, topped with almonds or any other imaginable permutation. Try the homestyle babka from Zabar's or the Apple Babka from Breads Bakery with sliced apples, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts.

Honey Cake and Honey Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery

HONEY CAKE: Variations on honey cake are very popular during the New Year celebration. These dense, sweet cakes can come studded with raisins or simply dusted with sugar. Magnolia Bakery offers both honey cake ($30) and honey cupcakes ($3) which are both spiced with citrus and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Union Square's Breads Bakery also bakes up honey cakes, including a cinnamon version that's both traditional ($15.95) and dairy-free ($9.95).

Apple & Honey Basket from Eli Zabar

APPLES: As noted above, apples are common to a holiday table not only for their sweetness but also their association with the harvest—it's the fall, after all. Simple slices with the aforementioned honey are an easy way to tie in the season or the fruits can be baked into things like babkas, cakes and other pastries. Breads Bakery offers several ways to enjoy the season's bounty, including apple galettes with marzipan dough and a more traditional American apple pie. If you're not ready to pick your own apples, grocers like Eli Zabar's offer nice baskets for an easy hostess gift to the holiday table.

Rugelach from Zabar's

RUGELACH: These cookie-pastry hybrids, especially in their cinnamon varieties, are another sweet staple at the Rosh Hashanah table. The dense, croissant-like pastry sees all sorts of fillings rolled up and baked; nuts, which are also associated with the harvest holiday, are a common filling, as are fruits, jams, raisins, chocolate and cinnamon paste. Upper West Side institution Zabar's can ship you cinnamon and chocolate flavored rugelach; they also bake them fresh in chocolate and raisin flavors.

Happy New Year!