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Chanukah: A Holiday Tailor-Made for Kids

December 14, 2011 By:
Rivka Tal, Jewish Exponent Feature
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The festive holiday of Chanukah lasts eight days -- even here in Israel, where some of the holidays are short a day. And it's a good thing, too, for we have eight days in which to light candles every night and show thanks for the Jews' miraculous victory over the Greeks.

It's a time to party with family and friends. And Chanukah is tailor-made for kids.
 
Chanukah treats such as latkes and doughnuts and other fried foods usually reign at nightly parties, but children will love making the simple but so-memorable Edible Chanukah Candle, Menorah Salad and Cupcake Menorah detailed below.
 
I'm including a recipe for Rosti, a "Swiss latke," which is cut into individual servings after cooking. Great for those who are latke-challenged (like me).
 
Edible Chanukah Candles
(Parve)
 4 bananas (try to buy "straight" ones)
 8 pineapple rings
 8 red gumdrops
 lettuce
 
Cut bananas in half and trim tips. Stand upright in pineapple centers. Top with gumdrops to represent flames. Serve on a bed of lettuce.
 
Cupcake Menorah
(Dairy or Parve)
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes (9 for the menorah and 3 for the cook -- or cook's helpers to enjoy!).
 1 cup white sugar
 1/2 cup butter or margarine
 2 eggs
 2 tsps. vanilla extract
 11/2 cups flour
  13/4 tsps. baking powder
 1/3 cup milk or soy milk
 
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
 
Cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.
 
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cupcakes spring back to the touch.
 
To assemble menorah: Frost nine cooled cupcakes with your favorite frosting (add silver sprinkles, if you choose). Line a tray or platter with aluminum foil. Line eight cupcakes in a row. Raise one for the shamash higher than the rest. Insert a candle into the center of each cupcake.
 
Menorah Salad
(Dairy)
 3/4 lb. cream cheese, softened
 1 can pineapple spears, well-drained
 9 maraschino cherries
 foil-wrapped chocolate "coins"
 
Spread cream cheese over a foil-lined rectangular tray.
Arrange pineapple in the shape of a menorah and candles. Top each spear with a cherry to represent a flame. Surround menorah with foil-wrapped "coins."
 
Rosti
(Dairy or Parve)
Rosti may be defined for our purposes as a "Swiss latke," which is cut into individual servings after cooking. Great for those who are latke-challenged.
 3 lbs. potatoes
 4-5 Tbsps. oil for frying
 1 Tbsp. salt (or to taste)
 
Scrub potatoes. Peel and grate into thin sticks (on a grater or with grater attachment of food processor). Place in a colander. Rinse with running water to remove excess starch, drain, and squeeze out excess water with your hands.
Heat oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. Add potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and turn several times until well coated with oil. Reduce heat, cover and continue to fry for 20 to 30 minutes, turning twice. Uncover potatoes, increase heat to medium-high and fry an additional 20 minutes, or until crisp and brown.
Serve immediately.

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