During Hanukkah, yellow mesh bags of chocolate gelt appear out of nowhere, and just seem to multiply. Every party must have some, and every dreidel game demands them. Unfortunately, the appeal of eating those foil-wrapped coins can wane long before the cache of sweets does.
From the candy cafe, I draw on its lava-like hot chocolate. From the ancient civilization, I take the peppy blend of spices that accompanied the drink's savory ancestors.
2 cups milk, divided
1/2 cup water
1/2-1 cup leftover Hanukkah gelt (or other chocolate candy), at room temperature
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of the milk until just steaming. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir with a fork or wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. If the chocolate isn't dissolving, return the saucepan to the stove and stir constantly over very low heat, or heat in a double boiler. Continue until completely blended and smooth.
Using the fork or whisk, gradually incorporate the rest of the milk and the water. Add the spices and vanilla extract. When the mixture is blended, heat over a medium burner until hot. To achieve a traditional South American scorched flavor, allow the milk to boil for a few seconds before allowing to cool slightly and serving.
Ladle into big mugs, and sip as you put away your Hanukkiah and stash your dreidels for next year's games.
Pronounced: DRAY-dul, Origin: Yiddish, a spinning top, with four sides, each marked with a different Hebrew letter (nun, gimel, hay and shin), it is played with on Hanukkah.