Posts Tagged ‘chanukah’

Sufganiyot, Jerusalem

December 8, 2015


My husband was in Israel on Chanukah and didn’t eat any sufganiyot. The lines were too long and he didn’t have the cheshek. But, as you can see, they really looked amazing. There is this new thing (well, new to me, anyway) (correction: apparently, this a just-new-to-me-in-the boonies-of-Chutz La’Aretz thing) of putting the filling into a plastic pipette, which you squirt into the doughnut yourself before eating it. Is this to prevent sogginess? Is it just a trendy thing? Does anyone know?



Easy Latkes

December 21, 2014


Okay, so, like the cookies previously posted, these are really easier latkes. Easy latkes are the kind someone else makes. As long as you are doing more than just reheating, latkes are never really easy. But, this recipe comes close.

Here is the short-cut: refrigerated hash brown potatoes, which are cooked and shredded potatoes. To make the latke batter, just add eggs, flour, salt and pepper. The potatoes won’t change color because they are pre-cooked (and also treated with preservatives), so you don’t have to worry about your latkes turning grey-ish.

You can oven-fry them (that is really easy), but truthfully, they taste best fried.

I got the idea from Rachael Ray a few years ago, but never got around to trying it until this year.

Here is another thing on my to-try list: these oven baked latkes with add-ins like broccoli-cheddar, sweet potato-scallion, lemon-herb, and smoked paprika-red bell pepper. You will note that the recipe calls them mini-hash browns, but I say laktes.


Chag Sameach! (Easy Chanukah Cookies)

December 21, 2014


“We are lucky to be living in an age where we have products that our grandparents never even dreamed of, probably because they had priorities . . . So nowadays you can buy a package of cookie cutters that comes with a menorah shape, a dreidel shape, a Magen David, a shield, and a Maccabee. At least  we think it’s a Maccabee. We’re not sure what the Maccabees looked like, but they probably looked like gingerbread men.” –“Chanukah Gelt,” Mordechai Schmutter, Inyan Magazine, Hamodia, December 17, 2014.

Yes, the Maccabees in the Chanukah cookie cutter set are basically just gingerbread men–that is until you decorate them. My daughter added tzitzit and kippot, which at least makes them obviously Jewish gingerbread men.

Easy is probably not the right word for these cookies. You still have to make a dough, roll it out, cut out shapes, bake the cookies and then decorate them.

I really mean easier Chanukah cookies. The dough is oil-based, which means you can just stir everything together instead of getting out the mixer to cream the butter and sugar together. That is easier.

The hard way to decorate cookies is with lots of different colors of royal icing in lots of different piping bags. The easier way is dipping the cookies in icing, letting the icing dry and then drawing on details with food coloring markers.

So, easier, not easy, but still . . .


Chanukah Mac ‘n Cheese

November 27, 2013


About 20 years ago, I made macaroni and cheese to bring to a family Chanukah party. The next year I was asked to bring it again. “It can be a tradition,” my sister enthused, “every year the kids will look forward to your mac ‘n cheese!” I wasn’t so keen on the idea. The idea of making the same thing over and over wasn’t so appealing.

But, here we are all these years later, and I am still bringing macaroni and cheese to the family Chanukah party.

I have posted this before, but it is worth reposting.


Chanukah Hush Puppies

November 18, 2013


A popular theme for Chanukah this year is “Food that is Thanksgiving-ish or Autumnal but still recognizable as Chanukah fare.” Put another way, the question is: What Thanksgiving food can be fried as latkes or sufganiyot?

I offer you hush puppies. It is fried–perfect for Chanukah. It is a traditional recipe from the American South that is a twist on cornbread, a Thanksgiving classic. Basically, hush puppies are mini latkes made from cornbread batter. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that hush puppies are to cornbread what latkes are to kugel.

Why hush puppies are not more popular (outside the South) I will never understand. They are, according to one journalist, “the best fried food in existence.” Hush puppies may be ready to have their moment, though. The New York Times just featured an article about quinoa hush puppies, as served at Market Table. I wouldn’t be shocked if the NYT quinoa hush puppies recipe makes the rounds for Chanukah.

There are a lot of stories about how Hush Puppies got their name. A popular story is that hush puppies were made from cornmeal leftover from frying fish and thrown to the dogs to quiet them.

My husband was reminiscing recently how his mother would make little latkes from matzoh meal/breadcrumbs and egg that was leftover from breading something for frying. I’ve done that, too. You don’t want to throw away the extra egg and breading, right?

That is kind of what hush puppies taste like, those little breading latkes, but there are also little bits of onion, like with potato latkes. Actually, they also kind of remind me of falafel, but cornbread flavored, of course.

Traditionally, hush puppies are served with fried fish and tartar sauce, but I am not such a fan of dipping deep-fried food into a fat-based sauce. I think the hush puppies taste nice by themselves or served with cranberry applesauce.

But serving hush puppies with a rich sauce is apparently the norm. Curious whether anyone else is serving hush puppies for Chanukah, I came across an article about Amanda Cohen chef/owner of Dirt Candy in New York City. Apparently, Dirt Candy has a super popular appetizer consisting of hush puppies with a side of maple Dijon butter. Market Table offers a spicy aioli to go with the quinoa hush puppies, which is a mayo-based sauce. If that appeals to you, follow the links to get the Maple Dijon Butter and Chili Aioli sauce recipes.

There are lots of recipes for hush puppies, but I offer you the recipe I have been making for many years, which comes right off the side of a bag of Indian Head cornmeal.


Easy Rugelach (aka Babka Bites)

November 11, 2013


Did you know that you can make rugelach from challah dough? Well, you can!

These won’t be super flaky yeast dough rugelach. For that texture, you need what is called a “laminated dough,” or a dough that has layers of butter or margarine rolled into it (like puff pastry, croissant or danish dough). The difference between these rugelach and the super-flaky kind is the difference between doughnuts and cronuts.

If you want super-flaky yeast dough rugelach, take a look at this. If you want something easy to make and trans-fat free (no margarine!) that tastes like bite-sized chocolate babka, read on.



Caramel Spice Applesauce and Lemon Ginger Applesauce

December 10, 2012


It isn’t so hard to make you own applesauce, and the flavor is exponentially superior.

Lemon ginger applesauce is a wholesome mix of apples, ginger, lemon and a bit of honey. The bright lively flavor of this applesauce is an antidote to the heaviness of fried food. The famous tummy soothing properties of ginger mean that this applesauce will make you feel a bit better if you over indulge in latkes.

The other applesauce is comparatively a rich treat, with buttery caramel flavor.

Hanukkah Blog Party


Gelt Trip: Brown Butter Toffee Crunch Bars

December 6, 2012


Toffee bars, but with the toffee and butter flavors amplified. Browning makes the butter flavor more intense and complex, and toffee chips add texture and highlight the caramel flavor of the crust. Using chocolate gelt is a fun holiday touch.


Three Doughs, Endless Possibilities: Julia G.’s Rugelach

December 29, 2011

I don’t know why, but I usually feel the urge to make rugelach this time of year. Not pareve yeast rugelach, but dairy rugelach, with real butter and cream cheese.

It always seems like a fabulous idea . . . until I am halfway through rolling out, filling and shaping the dough. Then I remember why I only make rugelach once a year. These aren’t simple drop cookies. These are hand crafted miniature pastries. Rugelach are not hard to make, but they are rather labor intensive.

It helps if you are prepared for that aspect and think ahead to make things a little easier. Make the dough a day ahead. Divide the dough up into individually wrapped packets and flatten the dough a bit so you have a head start on rolling out. It is also a little easier to make rugelach logs instead of crescents.

When you serve the rugelach for dessert at a party, all the hard work pays off.  At the end of a heavy meal, what most people want is a little something rich and sweet with coffee, and rugelach hits the spot.

Rugelach making is as much about the shaping as it is about the filling and the dough. I have three different dough recipes, and I play around with different fillings, but I have found that I can get very different effects just by changing from the crescent shape to a log shape or even a larger strudel shape.  You can even make a completely different cookie by using just jam as a filling and shaping the dough like danishes.

Another thing to think about is size. One of my tricks is to make miniature rugelach, but any size is delicious.

I just posted Grandma Rose’s sour cream pastry dough, which is used to make miniature danishes or strudel. Now, I am giving you the cream cheese dough recipe from my brother-in-law’s grandmother. Julia G. A”H was a superior baker, and she was famous for her rugelach (among other specialties).


Three Doughs, Endless Possibilities: Old World Mock Strudel

December 29, 2011

I mentioned in my last post that Grandma Rose’s filled cookies are a bit labor intensive, with a lot of rolling and shaping. The dough gets divided into four parts, and by the time I had rolled and filled the first three parts, I was ready for something new to do with the remaining quarter of dough.

Grandma Rose’s dough is versatile. You can use it for many pastry purposes, but I was particularly keen on using it for making mock strudel.

Mock strudel is another “old world” delicacy that is substitutes flaky pastry dough for strudel dough. My husband’s grandmother used to make a pareve version (and Batmitbach has posted a pareve pastry strudel from her husband’s grandmother).

Many years ago Marrion Burros and Lois Levine published a recipe for this kind of mock strudel in Elegant But Easy (1960). The revised version of this cookbook (1998) also featured Ann Amernick’s variation on this recipe.

The original filling from Elegant But Easy: 6 ounces marmalade, 6 ounces apricot jam, 6 Tbl.  cup brown sugar, 1 Tbl. cinnamon, 1 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup golden raisins. The jam is spread over 4 pieces of dough, each rolled 6″x10″, the nuts, sugar, cinnamon and raisins are sprinkled over and each pieces is rolled up like a jelly roll and baked whole. It is kind of a cross between rugelach and strudel.

According to Marrion Burros, Ann Amernick’s filling was different because it called for all apricot jam, no brown sugar and lots more cinnamon, nuts, raisins and currant. Ann Amernick has actually published a few different versions of this recipe (I guess she must keep revising it). In all her versions, Ann Amernick adds much, much more filling than the Elegant But Easy version, pulling it away from its similarity to rugelach.

I ended up going with the version that appears in her 1992 book, Special Desserts, but I will explain her more recent versions.

Why did I want to make this strudel and why did I go with Ann Amernick’s version (well, one of her versions)? Well, Ann Amernick is a top-notch pastry chef with many, many years of experience. She worked as Roland Mesnier’s pastry assistant at the White House during the Carter era (she remembers the time they koshered the White House kitchen). She was pastry chef for Jean-Louis Palladin.  Her pastry role models are Gaston Lenotre and Yves Thuries. And she said in an EGullet interview that the one food she cannot resist is this particular strudel. “I love it more than anything,” she said.

Now, THAT is a dessert I have to try.