An explanation of Hanukkah Gelt, for those who only got one day of Christmas presents: Gelt is yiddish for money. It is customary on Hanukkah to give children a little money in the form of coins. Apparently the tradition started in 17th century Poland and the coins were intended for the children’s school teachers. I remember going as a young child to a family friend’s home on Hanukkah and a grandfather looking kind of man that was there pulled a silver dollar out of his pocket for every kid at the party, year after year. This moment of getting the silver dollar, from a man who seemed to gift them purely for the joy of watching children’s faces light up, is one of my indelibly printed memories of Hanukkah.
Nowadays, usually when we speak of Hanukkah Gelt, we are referring to those gold wrapped chocolate coins that everyone loves this time of year. These cookies are shaped like those chocolates, except the gold is on the inside in the form of extra virgin olive oil.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
1 cup oat flour (option: gluten-free oat flour)
1 cup almond meal (almond flour)
¾ cup best quality unsweetened chocolate powder*, plus optional 1 teaspoon for sprinkling when done.
1 3.5 oz bar 70% best quality dark chocolate
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt (it is ok to substitute kosher salt)
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup unsweetened rice milk, almond milk, soy or dairy milk
* Recommended chocolate brands for powder and bar: Green and Black’s Organic, Scharffen
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Chop the chocolate bar into ⅛- ¼ inch pieces....no need for perfection.
4. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Add the olive oil, rice milk, and egg. Get your hands in there and mix it all together.
6. Don’t worry if the dough tastes a little off. It all gets perfect in the oven.
7. For a more rustic look: Pinch together one inch “balls” and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart.
8. For a more polished look: Using the palms of your hands, roll dough into one inch smooth-edged balls and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart.
9. Bake for 13 minutes. Practice patience and let cool until they can be picked up without breaking.
10. Optional: Use your fingers to sprinkle an extra teaspoon of cocoa powder on the cookies.
Elana Horwich teaches cooking classes in Beverly Hills, CA. For more information and a link to her blog, go to mealandaspiel.com. These recipes are printed with the permission of the Jewish Journal. Image courtesy of Elana Horwich.