As I was pondering Thanksgiving desserts beyond pie and beyond pi (because we should have more than 3 options for such a bountiful meal), I realized that with a few tweaks, I could turn a favorite Chanukah treat into a new Thanksgiving tradition. This is fitting given the unusual overlap between the two holidays. Thus, my edible marshmallow dreidels are now edible acorns. The faux acorns resemble spinning tops, so I suppose they can double for dreidels on Thanksgivukkah.
Before I delve into directions, you and your sous chef have to do some math. If you plan on two acorns per dinner guest, how many complete treats do you need to make? Once you figure that out, clean off the counters, cover them with foil, parchment or wax paper and let the snacktivity begin!
You’ll need Hershey’s Kisses, Mini Nilla Wafers (or similar tiny cookie), pretzel sticks and a ruler or tape measure.
Each acorn is made up of one Kiss, one cookie, and a bit of pretzel for the stem. As you count out the necessary number of cookies, ask your helper to predict whether the total number of cookies required will be even or odd. Since you’re planning on two treats per guest, you will need an even number regardless of how many quests you’re expecting. What if you want three treats per guest?
Things get a bit trickier with the pretzels; they require a bit of experimentation to determine the ideal stem length. You’ll likely break the sticks in half or in thirds (fractions!). The ends of the pretzel make the prettiest stems, meaning that for each pretzel stick you can make two acorns. This is a pretzel-to-acorn ration of 1:2.
While your little one is laying out the cookies and counting the chocolates, place two or three additional unwrapped Kisses in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 50 seconds and 50% power to melt. The melted chocolate will be the “glue” ‘that holds your acorn together.
The cookie will serve as the acorn crown, the chocolate with be the nut and the pretzel will serve as the stem. Measure a pretzel with your ruler and discuss whether that’s a good size for the stem. If your child has seen a real acorn, he’ll know it’s a bit long. Discuss a good size and break a pretzel to reach it. Measuring the first couple will give your child a sense of how to estimate size as you continue on.
Dip one pretzel end into the melted chocolate and affix it to the convex, or rounded, side of the cookie. The longer the pretzel, the harder it will be to make it stay upright. Figure out the ideal stem size (just under an inch, in my experience). It can be challenging to break the pretzels to just the right size, but remember you can snack on the rejects later.
Let the crowns and stems cool while you unwrap the Kisses. When the tops are set, use your chocolate glue (re-warming, if needed) to affix the base of the Kiss to the underside of the cookie. Leave them on the counter to set and you’ll have one cool treat for dessert. Be sure to keep these in a special place so that squirrelly family members don’t gobble them up before dinner.
Before move into the Hanukkah portion of this treat, check out this Bedtime Math problem about squirrels and real acorns!
The dreidel game is a Hanukkah tradition. The rules are straight forward, the concept fun, and everyone loves playing for chocolate, but you can use coins or even pieces of cereal. Each person puts in 10-15 pennies (chocolates, etc.) in the center or pot. The dreidel has four Hebrew letters on its side; here’s a quick summary:
Once everyone knows the rules, select dreidels and get started. Younger kids can keep track of their pot by counting how many coins, chocolates, the traditional “gelt” of chocolate coins wrapped in golden foil or whatever the booty is. Older children, you can use the dreidel to talk about probability with the four sides.
Ready for a twist of the dreidel action?
See who can spin their dreidel the longest. Try for personal best records and keep going. If you have dreidels made of wood, plastic, and other items see if there difference in how those dreidels spin. Does the size of the dreidel affect overall spin time? Now time to impress the kids, spin the dreidel upside down on it’s stem for an added challenge. See how many tries it takes for others to get it. Once finished, set your timer and see who can peel off the shiny gold on the gelt and dive into their chocolate first.
Thanks to Add It Up Blogger Beth Levine for her dreidel tips.