Tuesday, November 30, 2010

(C)hanuk(k)ah: DIY Gelt Goes Wrong


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!

14 comments:

Daydreamer Desserts said...

Look at you breaking out the power tools and everything for this project! All I can say is well come to the "I got chocolate on my camera/lens" Club! Happy Tempering! :)

Carolyn said...

The idea was brilliant! So the execution needs a little work, hey, I think it was amazing that you tried. And that you cut that poor dreidel in half.

Isabelle said...

Lady, you are HARDCORE!
Also, geld is nasty. Seriously nasty. It's even worse than the dollar store foil-covered "chocolate" easter eggs, which I suspect are actually just brown-coloured wax with sugar.

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I love multitasking! and I sure that despite this little failure you have learnt a lot...like not challenge your impatience in front of chocolate, how to use tools to drill...hmm....cookie cutter?! Well, you do know now that you can temper chocolate! I can't say that yet! And btw, feel free to send over any failure you might encounter in your way :)

Sandra said...

When you commit to a project you really commit!Bet your family loves the chocolate coins.

Kathy Gori said...

I have been known to do some weird stuff with my cooking but you definitely win the prize for this one!! Power tools and chocolate?! I love it. I totally agree chocolate you blend yourself always taste better.

Lizzy said...

I love how inventive you are!!! So sorry you didn't get a great imprint with all that effort, but my family would rather have good chocolate than pretty chocolate :)

Jackie said...

Hahaha, hilarious :D Well, you tried, and though you failed you learned valuable lessons for next time!...like hot yellow plastic in hair is NEVER good. And hey! Chocolate!

Jax x

Amelia PS said...

so great that you attempted such a feat (impressed)... and tempering chocolate is no joke. Enjoy the chocolate (no matter what the shape!)

saltyseattle said...

It's still fucking badass, even if you don't view it as a great success. xoxo

Sara@OneTribeGourmet said...

wow I'm impressed with all of the power tools & all! Kudos to you for trying! Happy Hanukkah! :)

Adelina said...

Pretty scary stuff... make sure to hide the power tools if we meet one day :) Happy Hanukkah and hope you find what you're looking for so that you don't need to go crazy, but maybe that's okay too. Your chocolates look great and love your passion.

Monet said...

You are one dedicated woman! I get very frightened by power tools, which is why I don't make creme brulee (even a blow torch scares me) I'm sorry that these didn't turn out...but at least they tasted good! Happy Hanukkah

Chefwife said...

Mmmmmm powertools and chocolate.....my favorite!

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