12 Days of Holiday Giveaways! Day 4 — Do you celebrate all eight days of Hanukkah?

Welcome to PPP's 12 (working) days of holiday fun & giveaways! Each business day through December 21, we'll be asking a holiday-related question. One reply to each question (whether on this blog, Twitter, or Facebook) will be randomly chosen as our winner! That person may select one item ($20 retail and under) from our Web site as their prize. We enthusiastically welcome fun stories and photos. Good luck!

Chag sameach! (That's "happy holidays" in Hebrew.) For those of us counting, tonight marks the fourth candle in the menorah. Every Jewish kid's favorite eight-day stretch is here. Come sunset, tapered candles will glow in windows, gift recipients will gleefully rend wrapping paper, and children will bet all their M&Ms (or gelt*, or jelly beans) on a lucky spin of the dreidel.** Your question today, should you choose to accept it:

Do you light candles and give gifts on all eight nights of Hanukkah, or just the first few? Some people I know celebrate only on the first night. Some light the menorah every night, but give gifts only on some nights. Some go all-out, decorating with blue and gold crafts and perhaps throwing a Hanukkah party. Some observe quietly at home with family. My observance varies year to year. What's your preference?

Answer for a Hanukkah present from Peter Pauper! Have a lovely evening, and the warmest and pleasantest of holidays. Until tomorrow, esteemed readers!

*True story: Until I was about 12, I thought Hanukkah gelt–chocolate coins covered in gold foil–was called "guilt." Made perfect sense to me.

**I remember staring intently at that little whirling top and thinking, "Land on gimmel, gimmel, gimmel, hay will do in a pinch, please not shin!" My parents were sensibly sparing in their sugar-distribution, so dreidel played for chocolate stakes was a serious business in our house.

Image credits:

First image — Cate Frost/Shutterstock.com

Second image — Scott Rothstein/Shutterstock.com

Recipe Thursdays: Pop.O.Licious Cake Pops Dreidels!

Spin the dreidel. Everybody wins a cake pop! This week's recipe is from our new book POP.O.LICIOUS Cake Pops by Joey Dellino and Tony Dellino of www.365cakepops.com. Cake pops are a fun and delicious treat. The creative options are endless and there is no limit to what you can do with these little dessert bites.

DREIDELS
Makes 24 cake pops

WHAT YOU'LL NEED
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Basic Cake Pops Recipe
Dreidel Shaping Instructions

BASIC CAKE POPS RECIPE
Makes approximately 36-40 Cake Pops*

WHAT YOU'LL NEED
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18.25 oz. box cake mix, any flavor
9" x 13" cake pan
16 oz. container store-bought frosting
Cookie scoop (about 1-1/2" diameter)
32-oz. bag of candy coating, any flavor
48 lollipop sticks
Sprinkles, any color
Styrofoam or wooden block

WHAT TO DO
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1. Bake the cake, following the instructions on the box, using a 9" x 13" cake pan. Let it cool completely and gather the rest of the supplies.

2. Cut the cake into 16 equal pieces while still in the cake pan. This will make it easier to crumble the cake in the electric mixer. Place 8 pieces into the bowl of the mixer and turn on at medium speed. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes until the cake is completely crumbled.

3. Add the remaining half of the cake to the bowl and continue mixing for another 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add about half of the container of frosting (or 8 oz.) to the crumbled cake. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes until everything is completely mixed together and the cake reaches a dough-like consistency. Depending on how moist you want your cake pops, you may want to add more frosting.

5. Use the cookie scoop to create the cake balls. (The cookie scoop will help to keep your cake pops consistent in size.) Remove the dough from the scoop and finish rounding them by hand. Place them all on a plate or cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

*The number of cake pops this recipe yields depends on how large or small you make your cake balls. I recommend using a cookie scoop to make the balls a more consistent size. Even though this recipe will yield more than 24 cake balls, it's always a good idea to have extras on hand when decorating, in case you run into any cracking/breaking problems and have to do some over.

DREIDEL SHAPING INSTRUCTIONS

WHAT YOU'LL NEED
—————————————————————————————————————————————————
24 uncoated cake dreidels (shaping instructions below)
1 14- or 16-oz. bag white candy coating
24 lollipop sticks
Blue edible color pen
Blue sugar sprinkles

WHAT TO DO
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1.  Prepare the uncoated cake dreidels by first rolling out all of the individual balls for the basic cake pops. Then shape each ball into a dreidel by rolling each into a cylinder shape. Gently press the cake against wax paper on the countertop to create four flat sides. Form the tip of the dreidel with your thumb and forefinger. Place them all on a plate or cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

2.  Place the candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in the microwave, following the instructions on the package. Stir until you get a smooth consistency.

3.  Dip the tip of a lollipop stick into the candy coating about a half inch. Insert dipped end of stick into the bottom of a cake dreidel, making sure it is inserted far enough to achieve stability.  Place on a plate or cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat with remaining cake dreidels.

4.  Chill the cake pops in refrigerator (for about 15 minutes).

5.  Remove the cake pops from the refrigerator. Dip a cake pop into the candy coating. Once completely covered, gently pull the cake pop out and gently tap the stick on the edge of the bowl to allow the excess candy coating to drip off. Place in a stand and let dry completely. Repeat with remaining cake pops.

6.  Draw the border lines with the blue edible color pen down all four corners and all the way around on the top and bottom. Draw one symbol on each side: nun, gimel, hay, shin.  Repeat with remaining cake pops.

7.  Dip the tip of a toothpick into the white candy coating and gently spread at the base of a pop near the stick.  While holding the pop over a bowl, pour the blue sugar sprinkles over the base of the cake pop. Repeat with the remaining cake pops.

8.  Let pops stand and dry completely.

TIPS
  The lines and detailing for the dreidel can also be done with blue candy coating, using a decorating bag or squeeze bottle.

•  To create the basic round cake pops also shown in the photo, (follow Basic Cake Pops Recipe and tie strands of blue ribbon (about 7" each) around the lollipop sticks.

First and second images © Joey and Anthony Dellino

Third image © Margoe Edwards / Shutterstock.com

Holiday Gift Guide

I'm guessing everyone is ready for some turkey and stuffing already. Dreams of candied sweet potatoes topped with fluffy marshmallows fill your every waking moment, right? Of course, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I'm also sure you've all been bombarded with BLACK FRIDAY deals since before Halloween. Have you finished your holiday shopping? Do you plan on waiting in line for hours tomorrow and Friday? Or, are you going to just relax at home with family and friends enjoying what Thanksgiving is really about? Either way, there's still plenty of time to order some gifts and stocking stuffers from Peter Pauper Press using our 20% coupon code. Just use NOV20 during checkout. It's good until the end of November. If you're having trouble figuring out what to get people, I'll make some suggestions below.

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Women:

  • Stationery Set: Choose one of our popular designs like Dragonfly, Butterflies, Watercolor Birds, and more. Then you can add various products to make a beautiful present: Journal, Pen, Desk Notes, Address Book, Bookmark, Candle, Calendar, Playing Cards, and a matching Gift Bag in which to give it all! (Value: $30-$87 depending on which items you add)
  • Fifty Shades: Has she read the best-selling series? Does she have a sense of humor about it? Then she'd probably get a kick out of our conversation starting journal and bookmark. (Value: $12)

Men:

  • Masculine Journal & Pen Set: Does a rich looking leather journal with pen sound like something he'd like? Try one of ours! (Value: $35)
  • Little Black Books: We have some fun dirty joke books, and books on barbecue, beer, poker, casino games, and more. (Value: $10)

Kids:

  • Scratch & Sketch Books: Our best-selling product! We have over 35 titles available; each allows kids to learn a little something about a topic, as well as express their creative side by duplicating the line drawing on the left page — freehand. Colorful sparkle foil pages and rainbow swirls appear like magic. (Value: $13-$15)
  • Paper Craft Books: Got glue? That's all you need to put together 24 amazing paper craft creatures with either of these two books. Simply punch out the perforated parts, and use a glue stick to bring it to life. (Value: $18)
  • Nutcracker Fold-Out Play Set: A perennial best-seller for the holidays. This 3-D foldout circular stage (with 3 scenes) allows kids to re-enact the ballet with paper dolls. Includes over 35 dolls, and a 25-page storybook of The Nutcracker. (Value: $15)
  • Ready, Set, Draw… Books: Children 4 and up will love these sketch kits that teach them how to draw. 48-page removable sketch pad, 40-page instructional book, and 4 double-sided colored pencils included. (Value: $16)

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Anyone:

  • Trio Book Light: Powerful and portable, this book light can be used on books as well as with your Kindle. Requires two AAA batteries NOT included.(Value: $16)
  • E-reader and Tablet Covers: Have you already purchased an iPad or Kindle Fire for someone? Then why not get them a decorative cover to keep it safe? We have covers that fit all versions of the regular-sized iPad, Kindle Fire & Kindle Keyboard, Nook Simple Touch, Kindle/Kobo Touch & Kobo Glo. (Value: $15-$20)
  • Sketch Books: Do you know an artist who needs a new sketch book? Ours come in two sizes that work perfectly with all dry media. The pages are micro-perforated in case the artist would like to remove it to exhibit or share. The white cover label peels off for a solid black cover look. Pairs very well with our 26-piece pencil set. Currently out of stock, but will be back in stock on Dec. 20. (Value: $22-28)
  • Travel Guides: Our travel guides are updated frequently and have the most recent information for each city. Top Picks for each location, color coordinated maps for places to stay, shop, eat, and see plus a transportation map in the back of each guide. (Value: $15)
  • Playing Cards: We have some of our designs in high-quality 100% plastic playing cards in a matching presentation box. They shuffle wonderfully and are 100% washable. You can even play under water, if you want. Poker or Bridge sizes in a dual deck. (Value: $11)

Stocking Stuffers under $10:

  • Rescue Kits: Someone needs to adopt these poor little creatures: Yeti, Big Foot, Sock Monkey, Alien, and Zombie. Each comes with an adoption certificate and instruction booklet for the care of your chosen pet. (Value: $9-$10)
  • i-Lites Book Lights: Fun and functional, these 4 colored mini book lights make wonderful stocking stuffers. Each comes in a protective carry-case. Batteries included. (Value: $4)
  • Foil It Kits: These self-contained kits to make 20+ glittery foiled foam stickers are proven winners. Kids just love them. No mess! (Value: $8)
  • Game on! Puzzle Books: Pocket-sized for puzzle-lovers! Formats include: Crosswords, Word Searches, Sudoku, Wordoku, IQ Challenge — and a brand-new puzzle — Cross Word Searches! (Value: $8)

I hope my suggestions are helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Marketing@peterpauper.com. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget that coupon code (NOV20) at checkout and remember that all orders of $30 or more will receive free shipping!