Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Make a Candy Menorah for a Sweet Chanukah

This year the Jewish festival of lights starts the evening of December 8.  This delicious hanukkiah (Chanukah nine-candle menorah) celebrates eight nights of sweetness, that is if you can keep your child (or inner child) from consuming it immediately.
Making candy and even marshmallow menorahs is not new, but these “candykiahs” have lots of options for customization. Switch the candy candle “flames” to mini marshmallows (colored ones look impressive) or other small treats.   Skip the lollipop and use an additional pretzel stick-gum drop “candle” for the shamesh, or the taller “helper” candle. Use a bit of the icing to attach gold-foil covered chocolate gelt perpendicular to the front of or flat as a base for each marshmallow.  Use additional decorating gel for designs or lettering on the marshmallows.  Spread additional frosting on the marshmallows and scatter with sprinkles, colored sugar or edible sugar glitter.

If younger children are making the menorahs, have them skip the pretzel stick candles and attach the gum drops directly to the top of the marshmallows with a bit of the icing. 

If you plan to move your creation, be sure to use the sturdy, oval heavy paper plate (I used Chinet 12 5/8” x 10” plates).  Other options include foil-wrapped cardboard or a regular dinner plates.  Be sure any base can accommodate nine of the full-sized marshmallows in a row.

A note about ingredients – you can find all the ingredients certified kosher (heckshered).  Local kosher markets and some Whole Foods stores carry the marshmallows or  they can be purchased on online.  I found kosher gum drops and lollipops at Trader Joe’s, but other brands are available locally and online.  The pretzel sticks, icing and decorating gel were purchased at Target and are widely available.
Chanukah Candy Menorah
You might need extra candy if you have nibblers and extra pretzel sticks to accommodate any breakage. 

For each menorah you will need
10 full-sized marshmallows
2-3 Tbs. of blue or white prepared icing or frosting
8 small gum drops
8 pretzel sticks, optional
1 lollipop
Blue decorating gel (from a tube), optional
Large, oval, heavy paper plate

Place nine marshmallows in a straight or curved line to fit on plate or other base.  Make sure the center marshmallow is snuggly touching the marshmallows on each side (needed for added support). Attach each marshmallow to base with a bit of icing.  Top center “helper candle” with just a bit more icing and attach a second marshmallow (don’t use too much or the top marshmallow will slide around). Push and turn the paper stick of the lollipop into the doubled marshmallow until it is secure.
If using pretzel sticks, gently push and turn into the base of the gum drop.  (If necessary, adults can use skewers to make guide holes for the pretzels).  Holding the marshmallow, gently push and turn the pretzel stick with the attached gum drop into the marshmallow.  Repeat for the 7 other marshmallows.

If not using pretzels, top the 8 remaining marshmallows with a dot of icing and attach gum drops.
If using decorating gel, pipe a Jewish star or other design on the front of center marshmallow.
A version of this Chanukah (or Hanukkah)  post appeared in the December 2012 Temple Beth Abraham Omer.

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