Don’t get me wrong, I love all the delicious fried foods that Chanukah has to offer (most notably latkes and doughnuts), but it does seem like those people who celebrate Christmas instead get all the chocolate fun. Well, not any more! I have taken matters into my own hands, and created Chanukah chocolate bark – the Jewish answer to all those chocolate tree decorations, selection packs, and other Christmassy chocolate delights.
In fairness, it didn’t take much creating. And we do, of course, have our own chocolatey Chanukah treat in the shape of ‘Chanukah gelt’ AKA chocolate coins. Apparently in the good old days when our grandparents lived in grinding poverty they would get a coin as a present on Chanukah. These days, we get actual presents, and the coins have been turned into chocolates to preserve the tradition. Something like that, anyway.
So, I made a crispy chocolate bark base and topped it with Chanukah-themed decorations i.e. chocolate coins (see above) and some white chocolate dreidels, lovingly crafted by my own fair hands.
Dreidels, for those who don’t know, are four-sided spinning tops which are traditionally played with on the festival. Each of the four sides bears a hebrew letter, and they are the first letters of the hebrew words “Nes Gadol Haya Sham” – a great miracle happened there. (In Israel, the final letter is Pey as the sentence reads “a great miracle happened HERE.”)
But I digress, I made white chocolate dreidels, and used those and the milk chocolate coins to decorate the crispy, dark chocolate bark. Also, because I am pathologically incapable of not including something with a smidgen of nutritional value, I threw in some dried cranberries. These were actually a really good addition, as their slightly tart flavour cut through the otherwise tooth-aching sweetness of the 3 sorts of chocolate.
The chocolate dreidels look fiddly, but are actually pretty easy to make, as long as you cut the chocolate before it has fully set. You can use them to decorate other things too – cupcakes, biscuits etc – or just scoff them on their own. Yum.
- 75g white chocolate (2.5 oz)
- 5-6 pretzel or biscuit sticks
- 150g dark chocolate (5 oz)
- 25g dried cranberries (2 tbsp)
- 20g crispy rice cereal (3/4 cup)
- 7-8 milk chocolate coins
- Line two baking sheets with parchment or greaseproof paper.
- Melt the white chocolate then spread into a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It will set quite quickly. Use a knife to cut out driedel shapes, then ‘glue’ a pretzel stick handle onto each one using more melted chocolate. (I found the easiest way to make the shapes was to cut strips, then cut an X across the middle of each one to make the points of two driedels.) Make the dreidels in a range of sizes. Put in the fridge to set.
- Now melt the dark chocolate. Stir in the cranberries and crispy rice till well combined. Spread the mixture onto the second parchment-lined baking sheet to form a rectangle approx 10 x 20cm or thereabouts.
- Peel the foil off the chocolate coins. Arrange the coins and white chocolate driedels on the surface of the dark chocolate mixture and press down lightly.
- Use a toothpick and a little melted dark chocolate to paint the hebrew letters onto the driedels.
- Place the whole thing in the fridge to firm up. Once cold and set, admire, then break into chunks and enjoy!