November 16, 2018

Eight nights of Chanukah chocolate

Each bite of chocolate makes him want “more,” confessed my friend. Here are eight ideas for adding “more chocolate” to each night's celebration of Chanukah.

On the First Night of Chanukah: Dec. 16, 2014

Bake: Peanut Butter Chanukah Gelt Cookies

This easy treat maintains the shape of the chocolate gelt on top of the peanut butter drop cookie which is also gluten free. Use dark chocolate to keep the cookies pareve. Here is the recipe:

1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1 cup sugar
1 egg

About 36 quality chocolate gelt coins

Beat the peanut butter, sugar and egg together. Shape cookies in rounds with flat tops to the size of the gelt. Bake on buttered cookie pan at 350º for about twelve minutes. While warm and somewhat cooled from the oven, gently press one piece of gelt on each cookie. Cool. Makes approximately 36 chocolate Chanukah gelt coin cookies.

On the Second Night of Chanukah: Dec. 17, 2014

Listen: Woody' Guthrie's “Hanukah Gelt” Song

Woody Guthrie wrote freilach lyrics for a number of celebratory Chanukah songs collected as “Happy Joyous Hannukah CD” by the Klezmatics in 2006. Guthrie came to know Coney Island's Jewish Community through his mother-in-law, the Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt, when he moved to Brooklyn in 1942. These songs were discovered in 1998 by his daughter, Nora Guthrie, who then requested that the Klezmatics record them. Listen to the freilach Woody Guthrie Chanukah Gelt song at: “>lyrics may be found on-line as well. Here is a sample of the counting love song for Chanukah gelt: 

“Hanuka, Hanukahh, Eight, Nine, Ten!

Hanuka Geltula, kiss me again!

Hug me purple! Squeezle me blue!

Makes me love even you! You! You!

Makes me love even you! You! You!”

On the Third Night of Chanukah: Dec. 18, 2014

Discuss: Child Slavery in Some Chocolate Growing Countries

As Chanukah nights deepen into winter, drink in some knowledge about the tragedy of child slavery and child labor in chocolate growing countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. Consider the Chanukah messages of freedom and courage as context. Watch one or more of the following videos:

*“>Cocoa Slave Tastes Sweet Freedom-The rescue of a 12-year-old slave on a cocoa farm and his reunion with his mother.

*On the Fourth Night of Chanukah: Dec. 19, 2014

Compare: Gelt Samples

Run a taste test of several different chocolate gelt options. Rate the quality of the taste, the crunch, and the social justice aspects of the chocolate. Is it a kosher product? Is it certified Fair Trade? Is the chocolate milk or dark? Are there other unusual ingredient add-ins? Is it organic chocolate? Is the company concerned with green packaging?

Explore chocolate coins from companies such as “>Divine, “>Lake Champlain, “>Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates and any others you may find.

A number of companies are producing On the Fifth Night of Chanukah: Dec. 20, 2014

Explore: Fair Trade Chanukah Gelt

When celebrating Chanukah's messages of liberation from tyranny, learn more about fair trade chocolate and consider a commitment to fair trade Chanukah gelt. Consider how Chanukah’s values of freedom apply to our selection of gelt. Use very readable and accessible materials available on-line, such as
“>Eating [Fair Trade] Hanukkah Gelt,” by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, recognizes the potency of chocolate mixed with Chanukah’s theme of enlightening the world’s dark places, an important spin on good gelt for Chanukah, especially for children. This would be lovely introduction to eating Fair Trade chocolate gelt.

Several resources offer discussion prompts for Hanukkah experiences. Lesson plans for adults and children (downloadable for free at On the Sixth Night of Chanukah: Dec. 21, 2014

DIY: Chocolate Gelt

Craft your own homemade gelt using your favorite chocolate. Aim for a quality chocolate with high cocoa content and few, if any, additives. Check those certifications, of course. Find fun Jewish themed molds at a gift shop or on line. Explore how gelt came to be chocolate in “>doing it yourself Chanukah gelt.

On the Seventh Night of Chanukah: Dec. 22, 2014

Rap: With Gelt

Spend a few moments watching this music video about Chanukah gelt. It will entertain you, your children or your grandchildren at candle lighting for the sixth night. Maybe you will also create your own rap or video. Have fun with the On the Eighth Night of Chanukah: Dec. 23, 2014

Fry: Chocolate Latkes

Make this last night’s latkes really special by sprinkling cocoa nibs, chocolate shavings or chocolate chips on your latkes. Or, drizzle some chocolate sauce over them. Or, mix cocoa nibs into the latke batter and then fry. Here is our favorite, basic “>Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz lectures about chocolate and Jews around the world. Her book, “>Jewish Lights (bulk prices available) and is in its second printing. The book is used in adult study, “>book clubs and chocolate tastings. The development of chocolate Chanukah gelt is discussed in the “>Free download: Materials and discussion guides for book groups.