In my last post I whined about my inability to find Chanukah anything despite my very Jewish location. What most caused my ire was the lack of mini cookie cutters for my holiday despite the glut of Christmas cutters out there. The reason for my concern is also the basis for this post. You see, I'm a fan of multitaskers and do-it-yourself projects. I like to experiment in the kitchen even if it ends in disaster. This project? Total disaster. I had it in my head that I could make my own Chanukah gelt without a mold. Mostly I wanted to do this because molds are the epitome of unitaskers. What else do you do with it until next year, if even then? My idea was to temper chocolate, spread it out, and when it was almost set, lightly press a mini cutter into it for design. I'd follow up with a slightly warm, round cutter to extract the coins.
Let's tackle my experience in order. While I had a mini round cutter, I needed something for a design. Finally, I found a plastic dreidel that I decided I was going to cut in half. I took it into the garage and whipped out the Dremel--my answer to everything. Once locked into the clamp, I started cutting away with a disk-shaped cutter. Halfway through, it broke. My dad and I contemplated this and decided to finish it off with a handsaw. With the dreidel halved, I put the sanding bit on the Dremel, clamped it back down, and started to sand the exposed side. Unfortunately, it was a bit too large for my round cutter. A combination of my three prior methods were used to whittle it down to the desired shape and size. Score--I had a stamp for my project. And a lot of pieces of hot, mangled, yellow plastic in my hair.
|Garage lighting is not flattering to even the prettiest of dreidels.|
The only positive to come out of this experience was that, on my first attempt ever, I successfully tempered chocolate. Before doing so, I drew a bunch of round circles on parchment paper and taped it down. The goal was to have as little chocolate "waste" needing to be re-tempered, so I smoothed chocolate as much within the circles as possible. I kind of made a delicious mess, with chocolate on the counter, floor and my camera. I think my biggest problem here was that I was not patient enough for the chocolate to set. It was slightly thick, so needed longer than my patience allowed me. Also, as you can tell with the photo at the top and sort of below, the dreidel didn't leave much of an imprint. In fact, the chocolate pretty much covered the dreidel. However, I tried my original idea with part of another cutter, and am happy to say that if I had a mini cutter, it would have left a lovely imprint on my coins. The circles also cut well when the chocolate was 100% set, but made a mess if I attempted to cut prior to that.
So, I currently have a bunch of messed up chocolate coins in a container for my family to eat. They don't have any cool imprints on them, but I will tell you this: they're sure as hell a lot better than any of the Chanukah gelt sold in stores. Seriously, what kind of crap do they use to make those?
Look for another Chanukah recipe sometime later this week!