For eight nights the celebration of Chanukah will last, each night a special prayer will be said as the candles are lit. There are total of nine candles, the Shamash is to light the eight candles known as the festival of lights, beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kisley (the ninth month in the Jewish calendar marks New Year’s in the beginning of November/December. Each night a candle is added; the first night the Shamash is the candle used to light the first candle from right to left, which will burn to the end of the candle. The second night the Shamash is used to light two candles, each night all the candles are lit until they out on their own.The adding of the candles continues till the eighth night when all the eight candles and the Shamash are brightly lit; as the candles are lit a special Chanukkah prayer is spoken.
The story of Chanukah is “according to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been refiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the Menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.”
Chanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews!) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. Children play with a dreidel, which is a top with a point and four sides lettered in hebrew. A child spins the dreidel. If it lands on Nun, nothing happens; on Gimel (or, as we called it as kids, “gimme!”), you get the whole pot; on Hei, you get half of the pot; and on Shin, you put one in. When the pot is empty, everybody puts one in. Keep playing until one child has everything.
Although potato latkes are served during festive celebrations I thought marbled bark with hazelnuts would be a perfect dessert to bring to the hostess/host.
Marble Hazelnut Bark:
◆ 340 grams/ 1-1/2-cups white chocolate
◆ 340 grams/ 1 1/2-cups bittersweet chocolate
◆ 61 grams/ ½-cup hazelnuts roasted and chopped coarse
◆ 90 grams/ ½ -cup dried cranberries, chopped coarse
Prepare your mise en place, and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
Melt both bittersweet chocolate and ivory chocolate in a double or bain marie.
The chocolates will need to be tempered. I have found it is easier to temper if you melt the chocolate ¾ of the way, remove from heat, and stir with a rubber spatula (heat resistant). Add about 40 grams of each chocolate after the chocolate has been stirred until it is smooth. Repeat the process,stirring with the spatula till the chocolate registers between 26 to 28 degrees C/ 82 to 84 degrees F 28 and for the dark chocolate, it should register between 28 and 32 degrees C/ 84 to 90 degrees F.
As the chocolate melts, check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 82 and 86 degrees F. If it starts to rise above this temperature, quickly transfer the chocolate to the bowl on reserve and stir quickly to reduce the heat. Return the bowl to the double boiler to maintain the heat between 82 and 86 degrees F.
Place all 340 grams/1 1/2-cups tempered ivory chocolate in the middle of a parchment paper lined jelly roll pan, on either side of ivory chocolate place 170 grams/ 3/4-cup of the tempered bittersweet chocolate.
Using a regular butter knife draw swirls through both chocolates.
Swirl the chocolates to your liking and top with roasted hazelnuts and dried cranberries.
Place the bark on the jelly roll pan in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or until solid and break into shards.
Have a Happy Chanukkah celebration and may your dreidel land on Gimel!