Make this entirely edible cookie dreidel for all your Hanukkah celebrations
Sorry Sufganiyot, this spinning sweet is the new star of the season
Playing dreidel is undoubtedly one of the hallmarks of each year’s Hanukkah celebrations, and it’s not just because of the infectiously catchy tune that goes with it. The origins of the spinning top game go all the way back to second century B.C. when the Jewish people had to keep their study of the Torah quiet after it had been outlawed by the Greek armies, who governed over Israel at the time. That’s why the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hey and shin, which stand for ‘a great miracle happened there’, always top the dreidel’s four sides.
And while the game is often played for tiny treats like gelt or nuts, the faithful tradition just got a whole lot more delicious thanks to this entirely edible cookie version from pastry chef and bake shop owner Lindsey Gazel. Lindsey’s known for her ridiculously creative sweets, like this Gingerbread Advent Calendar and these pint-sized cookie cottages, and this spinning sugar cookie is no exception. It not only makes a perfect host gift for this season’s slew of Hanukkah parties — because, let’s face it, there’s already going to be enough Sufganiyot to go around — but you can actually play along with it, too! (Here’s a primer on the rules if it’s been a while.) Even if you’re doing a small menorah lighting celebration at home, it’s worth giving this dreidel a twirl — before devouring the entire thing.
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
For royal icing:
- 212 grams royal icing powder, prepared according to package instructions, (you will need at least 2 cups of royal icing)
- Blue food colouring paste, as much as desired
- 2-3 lollipop sticks, from a bulk food store, cut in half, or 4-5 snipped from lollipops you may have around
First make the dough. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth. Beat in egg, vanilla and continue beating until fluffy. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. To mixer, add dry ingredients a little at a time until fully incorporated. Remove dough to counter, cover with plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least one hour (or overnight for best results).
Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Roll out dough to desired thickness of about ½ an inch. For each dreidel, cut out 4 equal rectangles (2 inch x 1 inch), 4 equilateral triangles (1 inch), and one square (1 inch square). Pierce a small hole in the centre of the square shape using a lollipop stick, reserve stick for later. Bake cutouts for 7-8 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet and let cool completely.
While cookies bake, colour your royal icing. Using food colouring paste (only a small amount is needed for strong colour), dye a little more than 1 cup of icing light blue and keep the remaining scant cup of your icing as is. Place a damp paper towel or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the Royal icing and cover tightly with plastic wrap or jar lid until you’re ready to use it.
Once cookies are cooled use a spoon to spread a thin layer of blue icing on top of each shape, let cool a few minutes before adding white symbols. Add white icing to a piping bag with a thin tip and pipe symbols on each rectangle. Insert reserved lollipop stick into the hole of the iced square. Let dry for 4-6 hours until completely dry and firm.
To assemble your dreidel add ½ cup of blue royal icing to a piping bag with a thin tip. First glue your 4 rectangles together as shown in the video. Next glue on your 4 triangles as shown in the video. Next glue on square as shown in the video. Pipe on extra blue icing to exposed cookie sides, wipe off excess and smooth sides. Let dry another 4-6 hours. Use a fine microplane or rasp to shave off excess dried royal icing.