Hanukkah

Chocolate Pretzel Baskets

Source: Adapted from "Chocolate Holidays" by Alice Medrich
Yield: 1 large basket or 3 small baskets

3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
3 or more cups thin pretzel sticks, salted or unsalted

1.Line 2-quart bowl with plastic wrap. (Or lay out wax paper for small nests.) Heat water in bottom of double boiler to simmer.

2.Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water or in microwave on medium (50 percent) power. Cool to lukewarm. In medium bowl, pour most of chocolate over pretzels. Use rubber spatula to turn pretzels gently in chocolate until they are lightly coated, adding as much of chocolate as necessary. (It’s OK if some of pretzel shows through chocolate.)

3.For large basket or nest, scrape pretzels into prepared bowl. Arrange sticky pretzels against sides of container to resemble basket or nest. (Shape small nests on sheets of wax paper.)

4. Refrigerate to set chocolate. To unmold large basket, lift plastic liner from container and peel away from pretzels. Fill with Chocolate Latkes or chocolate Hanukkah gelt (coins).


Chocolate Latkes

Source: "Chocolate Holidays" by Alice Medrich
Yield: 2 dozen 2 1/4-inch cookies

4 large egg whites
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3 1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. Put some water in skillet and bring to low simmer.

2.Combine all ingredients in large heatproof mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel (ingredients heat up faster in stainless steel than in glass). Set bowl in skillet of barely simmering water and stir mixture, scraping bottom to prevent burning, until sticky and hot to touch.

3. Scoop rounded tablespoons of mixture about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly with fingers to resemble miniature potato pancakes.

4. Bake until cookies feel dry on surface and edges and protruding coconut shreds are dark golden brown (despite chocolate color) and interior still looks like melted chocolate, 13 to 15 minutes. Rotate sheets from front to bake and upper to lower about halfway through. Slide parchment paper onto cooling rack. Cool cookies completely before removing from parchment. The cookies are most delicious on day they are baked – the exterior is crisp and chewy and interior soft and moist. Cookies may be stored, airtight, 4 to 5 days.


Honey-Drizzled Chocolate Cheese Fritters

Source: “Chocolate Holidays" by Alice Medrich
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

For frying: Vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm honey

1. Mix ricotta and eggs with fork. Add flour and mix just until incorporated. Add butter, orange zest, salt and chocolate, and stir just until thoroughly combined. Batter may be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.

2.In wide skillet, heat 1/2 inch oil over medium heat until few drops of batter sizzle vigorously when added to pan. Carefully add rounded tablespoonfuls of batter to hot oil. Do not crowd fritters; they need space to fry properly and to turn. Fry until brown on one side, then turn and fry other side until brown. Transfer fritters to warm platter with fork or tongs (see cook’s note). Repeat until all batter is fried. Serve drizzled with warm honey, or pass honey separately.

Note: Fry fritters up to 2 hours in advance of serving and serve at room temperature, or fry and serve hot or warm. Do not keep fritters in warm oven for long or they will dry and toughen. Just before serving time, or up to 2 hours before, place small ovenproof platter lined with several layers of paper towel or cloth napkin in 200-degree oven.


Chocolate Banana Blintzes

Source: "Chocolate Holidays" by Alice Medrich
Yield: 6 (3-blintz) servings

For crepes:
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted butter

For frying: Butter or oil

For sauce:
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup milk, plus extra if needed
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For assembly: 3 large ripe bananas
For frying: Butter
Optional for serving: Sour cream

Procedure:
1. Prepare crepes: Combine eggs, flour, salt, milk and melted butter in blender or food processor. Pulse just until blended. Chill 1 hour or up to 1 day.

2. Heat 6-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush lightly with butter. Pour in 2 tablespoons crepe batter and tilt pan immediately to coat entire surface evenly. When crepe is uniformly translucent and surface no longer looks wet, 45 seconds to 1 minute, loosen edges with spatula and invert pan over piece of wax paper. Repeat with remaining batter, buttering pan as necessary. Use crepes immediately, or stack between sheets of wax paper, cover airtight, and refrigerate up to 2 days.

3.Prepare sauce: Mix chocolate, milk, sugar and vanilla in top of double boiler over barely simmering water. Or microwave on medium (50 percent) power, about 2 minutes. Stir frequently until smooth, adding milk as necessary. Use warm sauce immediately or set aside and use cool. Sauce keeps several days in refrigerator. Warm gently before use.


Posted in Submitted by Judy on Wed, 11/28/2007 - 11:25am.

Hanukkah Comes Early This Year, And the Potato Latkes Are Ready

My column on OU's web site features easy latkes for Hanukkah. Click here to read it.


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