Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Treats: White Chocolate Chip & Cran-raisin Cookies, and Hanukkah

So, I'm beginning my festive season of baking with white chocolate chip and cran-raisin cookies: a sweet, healthy treat reminiscent of winter and fall at the same time. The sweet, snow-like white chocolate chips are a perfect complement to the tart, chewy cran-raisins (or "craisins") that are reminiscent of the fall harvest. Mixed with a classic chocolate chip cookie dough, they're one fantastic kind of cookie that has my family and I returning to the cookie jar again and again. Perfect with a glass of egg nog.

On Wednesday, Hanukkah will start. My family and I already had our Hanukkah dinner at church last week, where we had latkes and grape juice, and shared stories and songs with our friends. We played dreidel, too.

If you've never played dreidel before, the rules are quite simple. Everyone, to start, gets maybe ten tokens of some kind, whether it's pennies, or in the case of last week, dried macaroni. First each person puts one token in the middle of the table, or the "pot." Everyone takes turns spinning the dreidel, a four-sided top that has a different Hebrew symbol on each side, and whatever it lands on is what you have to do with your macaroni. If it lands on "Gimel," you get everything in the pot. If it lands on "Hey," you get half of what's in the pot. If it lands on "Nun," you get nothing. If it lands on "Shin," you have to put two tokens into the pot (three, counting the ante). After each person takes their turn, everyone has to put one token into the pot. Whoever has the most at the end wins. My sister won when we played last week. I may just have to challenge her, as there are still eight nights of Hanukkah left.


  1. Hey Jen!

    Cheers/double thumbs up on your delicious treats. Safe travels as you make your final preparations for your trip to San Luis Obispo to celebrate & share the joy of the season with your family...Happy Hanukkah!

    Back next week to find out if your sister's reign as dreidel champion was short lived, and if a new dreidel champion travels, Jen, Shalom...

  2. Safe travels to you too, Al :) and happy holidays.

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  5. I will try this again.... *sigh*

    Hi Jen!

    Happy Hanukkah - Happy Holidays to you and yours! Your site is "eye-candy"!

    I never played dreidel before, quite honestly I have heard about it...never knew what it all entailed, thank you for the explanation. It sounds like fun! Good luck, if you're anything like my sisters....we all compete too! Are you the younger one of the two? If so, I know exactly what you're talking about. I am rooting for you...CHEERS!

  6. Hi Meesh, it's nice to hear from you :). Sorry you were having trouble with earlier comments, glad everything is ok now. Thanks for the holiday greetings, I hope you're having a nice holiday season too.

    Dreidel is a fun game, I enjoy it every year. I am the older sister, and I usually win at dreidel pretty often but it's kind of a game of chance. I always like to think if you spin the dreidel and it spins for a long time, it's more likely to land on something good.

  7. Hi Jen!

    No problems, it's just me,I'm kind of dense when it comes to posting.But I think, I now get it. When I looked in, I marveled with the visual aspect of your site...and of course what you have to say. As I stated, I have often seen references of a dreidel, but didn't know how it was played. Now I get it, thanks to you.

    Also, I can relate with being BOTH the older and younger of sisters...I'm the middle one. Soooo I am still rooting for you!

    With having to work, I hope to spend some "Me" time with my love ones too. But there IS something magical about this time of the year...if one looks beyond the commercial aspect. It IS a special time of the year, no doubt about it!

    All the best to you and yours, Jen!

  8. Thanks, Meesh, I'm glad you enjoy my blog :). It makes me happy to share a little view into my life with others. I hope you get to spend lots of quality time with your family over these holidays. What I enjoy the most is baking things and watching Christmas movies with my family.

  9. Hey Jen!

    Trust that you are experiencing all of the blessings, joy and peace of this holiday season, and certainly extend the same to Meesh as well.

    Do I dare ask who the reigning dreidel champion is? Noticed you've created a new post, so, am scrolling up...