Monday, December 8, 2014

Incredible Edible Hanukkah Traditions

Guest post by Ellen Zimmerman, creator of Jewish Holidays in a Box

If you’re like me, you might think it’s hard to find fun Hanukkah kitchen activities for little ones–but that is only if you think about fried foods like latkes and donuts. Even cutout Hanukkah cookies take some dexterity.

But, then, aha! I realized that there are so many options. I discovered edible dreidels, thanks to Joanna Brichetto, the Bible Belt Balabusta. They are made with marshmallows, pretzels, and chocolate kisses. I’ve made them with little kids and Sisterhood ladies. I don’t know who had more fun.

Then, I realized that we could quickly make an edible menorah that we could eat for dessert or as part of a meal. I came up with several options:

  • Donut menorah: This version wasn’t messy, just a little sticky. We made ours with brownies and donut holes. My grandkids decorated the tops of the brownies so that they were extra festive. Then we assembled them using toothpicks and double brownies to make the shamash (Remember to remove the toothpicks when eating.)

  • Marshmallow menorah: This version required a few more ingredients, a little more time and tolerance for more mess. But it was worth it. We used regular-sized, not mini, marshmallows; unwrapped chocolate gelt and Nutella. We glued the marshmallow to the gelt with a dab of Nutella to form a base. For the shamash, we used extra gelt or an extra marshmallow to elevate it. Colorful frosting can be used instead of Nutella.

  • Fruit and vegetable flat menorah: You’ve seen the amazing food art that people create with fruits and veggies, making patterns, faces, and animals. You can easily do the same with a menorah design that lies flat on a plate–you don’t need to figure out how to stand it up. Here are some options: alternate carrot, celery, and zucchini sticks for candles; red grapes or cherry tomatoes for flames. Check out this asparagus and radish menorah! Want to make a big hanukkiah? Get a large platter. Then use whole carrots as candles and kiwi rounds or halved strawberries as flames. The options are endless! Let your kids go wild.

If your kids are ages seven and up, you can turn over the entire activity to them and even make it a competition. If the makers of these treats can wait until after candle lighting, you can eat these menorahs while the candles are burning.

I created another fun holiday treat after I bought large Hanukkah cookie cutters. The cutters were much bigger than the precious, but smaller shapes I still have from when I was a child and that I used with my daughters when they were little. I remembered that my grandchildren loved pancakes— regular and cottage cheese. Hmm. What about a special Hanukkah breakfast—pancakes made in the shape of a dreidel, menorah, shield and Jewish star? They were a hit!

Of course, you can also be traditional and make Hanukkah cookies!

Happy Hanukkah!

Jewish Holidays in a Box designs and develops fun and interactive materials to help families celebrate the Jewish holidays, and build powerful and positive Jewish memories through creative celebrations. Follow Ellen and Jewish Holidays in a Box @JewishFamilyFun.