When I was brainstorming my Thanksgivukkah menu I kept dwelling on one of my favorite childhood holiday dishes – what my family calls “Sweet Potato Yum Yum” (or what another family might call sweet potato casserole). You are probably familiar with the heavenly combination of pureed sweet potatoes, margarine, brown sugar and spices, topped with marshmallows and baked to sweet, melted perfection.
Combining the flavors from my family’s Sweet Potato Yum Yum into individual-sized sweet potato latkes topped with toast marshmallows seemed like the perfect crowd-pleasing dish to mark this once-in-a-lifetime holiday. And it is. Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Reprinted courtesy of www.thebigfatjewishwedding.com
1 lb sweet potatoes
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
½ tsp salt
1 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Peel and coarsely grate the sweet potatoes.
Place grated potatoes in a dish towel and wring out as much excess liquid as possible. This step is key to making sure your latkes are crispy. In a medium bowl stir together potatoes, flour, salt, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl. Fold eggs into potato mixture until combined.
Heat oil in a deep skillet over moderately high heat.
Check to see if oil is hot enough by putting a small drop of the potato mixture in the oil. If it starts bubbling it is ready for frying.
Spoon approximately 1/8 cup potato mixture per latke into the oil. Flatten with a spatula and don’t crowd the pan otherwise the latkes won’t crispy properly.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until golden brown, about 1- 2 minutes per side.
Transfer latkes to a cookie rack to cool.
Turn on your oven’s broiler. Place latkes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and top each latke with marshmallows. Place latkes with marshmallows in the oven and watch carefully to make sure the marshmallows don’t brown too much.
Once marshmallows toasted until just brown, remove from oven and serve.
The day I moved into my very first apartment was an important day for me. I was starting my senior year in college, and for what seemed like the first time, I was taking a leap towards independence. Sure, I moved halfway across the country to go to school where I knew only a couple people, but living on campus, there’s a certain safety net in place to catch (and comfort) the students if they fall.
I remember taking great care to choose an apartment within my budget, and carefully selecting my roommates. We plotted and planned how we’d decorate, and made memories building our ready-to-assemble furniture from our favorite Swedish retailer. Not surprising, the part of apartment living I was most excited about was that I would finally have a kitchen of my own. While my roommates concentrated on finding art to decorate our walls and the perfect rug to tie the room together, I focused on stocking our kitchen with our favorite foods and the tools with which to cook them. I found mismatched sets of pots and pans at my local discount store, and piece by piece, built our little kitchen into a functional one our friends begged to come and borrow. It was nothing fancy, but it worked for us. Granted, we could never invite more than four people for dinner, because that was how many plates we had, but we made it work.
My mom noticed my efforts, and took it upon herself to stock our little kitchen with its crowning jewel: a tostonera. A tostonera is a device specifically designed to smash chunks of fried green plantains into crisp, golden coins, called tostones. And the fact that my mom was gifting me a tostonera was a really big deal, because this served as an informal invitation to join the culinary ranks of the matriarchs in the family.
Just about every Cuban person who cooks has a tostonera, and now, I did too. I was so excited to put my tostonera to use, and at the first Hanukkah party of the season, I surprised my friends with a new treat. I figured that in many ways, Cubans use plantain bananas the way Americans use potatoes, so swapping traditional potato latkes with savory tostones seemed like a natural choice.
As my friends oohed and aahed while they crunched their way through the small plate of tostones, I smiled with delight, because I knew I was on my way to earning my culinary stripes.
This Hanukkah, if you’re looking for something outside the traditional latke box, take a cue from the Cuban cookbook, and serve tostones alongside your festive meal. And if your mother hasn’t gifted you with a tostonera, fear not. You can achieve similar results with the bottom of a frying pan.
Vegetable oil for frying
2 green (under ripe) plantain bananas
Kosher salt to taste
In a large frying pan, pour in enough vegetable oil to fill the pan about halfway, and place over medium to high heat.
Remove the peel from the plantains, and discard. Chop the pulp into rounds of about 1-1½ inch thickness.
To test the oil temperature, carefully place a small piece of plantain into the oil. If the oil bubbles around the plantain, it is ready. If it doesn't, continue heating the oil until it does.
Once the oil is ready, carefully drop the plantain rounds into the oil, and fry for two minutes before flipping and frying for two minutes on the other side.
Remove the plantains from the oil, and using either a tostonera or a frying pan and a flat surface, smash the rounds until they flatten.
Return the now-flattened plantain rounds to the oil, and fry until golden and crisp, about two more minutes.
Remove the plantains from the oil, and immediately place on a platter lined with paper towel to catch any unnecessary oil.
Sprinkle with kosher salt while the plantains are still hot, and serve.
Wondering what to do with all your leftover gelt after making the DIY Thanksgivukkah table runner? I’ve got the perfect pie recipe to use up those chocolates!
Both decadent and delicious, this Bourbon Pecan and Gelt Pie is the perfect way to end your Thanksgivukkah meal this holiday season. To create this recipe, I combined a classic pecan pie with some chocolate gelt candy and then added a touch of Bourbon for a little something extra.
Just like Thanksgivukkah itself, everyone is sure to love it!
For the crust:
2 cups of flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup cold shortening
7 Tbsp milk. Almond milk is a great non-dairy alternative.
For the filling:
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp bourbon
20-25 pieces of gelt—enough to cover the bottom of the crust. (You can order pareve gelt online.)
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup halved pecans
To make the crust:
Whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Cut shortening into the flour mixture until it is almost incorporated.
Add milk and mix until just combined. You do not want to over mix here, or the crust will be rubbery. Form a large ball with the dough and place in the middle of a flat surface covered with flour.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 2 inches larger than the upside down pie plate. Once it is big enough, flip the pie plate back over and lay the dough in the plate lightly pushing it to the bottom and the sides.
With a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and push the sides of the crust into the side of the plate. Then, to make the lip of the pie look fancy, use the fork to make marks in the dough on the lip of the plate (picture shown) and rip off any excess dough. Set aside for filling.
Note: You can also use the extra dough to make decorations. Roll out the extra dough and cut out any shape you want – here I used a turkey. With a fork, mix 1 egg and 1 Tbsp of water. Lightly brush a small amount of the eff mixture over the cut out and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 until golden brown (about 2-5 minutes depending on how big your cut out is).
To make the filling and assemble pie:
Mix melted butter or margarine and corn syrup together until it has a glossy look. Add salt and sugar and mix until it is completely integrated into the mixture. Mix in eggs and bourbon until the entire mixture is a pale yellow color (no darker yellow egg streaks). Set aside.
Start filling the crust by placing the unwrapped gelt at the bottom of the pie crust. Add both chopped and halved pecans. Then add filling mixture.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. The edges of the crust should be a golden brown and the filling should be completely congealed.
I have to give credit where credit is due, and while I maintain that I am the supreme cook in my house, my husband does often inspire my creations. And today’s recipe came straight from him: “Hanukkah” decorated chocolate dipped oreo cookies.
I often lament how this time of year Jews really get the short end of the stick – there are so many fun Christmas candies, treats and decorations, but no equally-festive Jewish equivalent.
And while these oreos can’t quite compete with, say, gingerbread or chocolate-peppermint whoopie pies, they are cute and SUPER easy!
Looking for some good sprinkles? I came across these “Judaica sprinkles” at Bed, Bath & Beyond! Although I used a mixture of white and blue sprinkles I already had laying around – I like Williams Sonoma Sanding Sugar, and Wilton sprinkles.
12 oreo cookies
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp butter
sprinkles or other blue and white cookie decorations
In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted. Stir well to ensure no lumps.
Dip oreo cookies into the melted chocolate, making sure to cover the sides. remove the oreo from chocolate using a fork and put on baking sheet covered with tin foil or wax paper.
Scatter tops of chocolate covered cookies with sprinkles of your choosing.
Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
Just when I’m starting to recover from the gluttony fest known as Thanksgiving, bam! It’s already time for Hanukkah. Bring on the fried. Growing up, my Mom cooked both traditional and sweet potato latkes every year for my brother and me. We looked forward to these tasty fried treats almost as much as getting the latest Everclear CD or a new set of Pogs, hypothetically speaking of course.
I continue the tradition by cooking for our annual Chrismukkah gathering and showing my friends that latkes are way more than a Jewish hashbrown. Last year, I served up Mexican Potato Latkes, which were gobbled up faster than you can say “chag sameach.” This year, inspired by my leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving, I went with a slightly sweet approach. Coconut gives the latkes a subtle flavor and extra crunch, while the cranberry applesauce and cardamom mascarpone brings a tartness that lends itself to the perfect bite. Since I am not hopeful of having a white Hanukkah with the 80-degree weather we have be having in my home in Austin, TX, I garnished the plate with extra coconut to resemble snow. Wishful thinking, perhaps?
Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her grandmother’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.
2 cups (2/3 pound) russet potatoes, washed and peeled
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsps flour
2 Tbsps granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil
For Cranberry Applesauce
3 pounds apples (any apples you would use for baking, I used golden delicious), peeled and diced
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 Tbsps granulated sugar (up to 4 if you want it sweeter)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground all spice
Zest and juice from 1 orange
2/3 cup water (1/2 cup if using frozen cranberries)
1 Tbsp brandy (if desired)
For Cardamom Mascarpone:
¼ cup mascarpone
1 tsp cardamom (or more to taste)
To make the Coconut Latkes, start by shredding your potatoes with a grater.
Ring out all the moisture with a strainer and paper towel until all the moisture is gone and then add in the coconut, eggs, flour, sugar and salt and combine.
Meanwhile, heat up canola oil in a large sauté pan. Scoop two-tablespoon dollops of the potato mixture and flatten lightly and fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Then flip and fry the other side. Drain on a rack over paper towels.
To make Cranberry Applesauce, in a large saucepan, combine apples, cranberries, sugar, spices, orange juice and zest, water, and brandy if desired.
Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes until apples are tender and some of the cranberries have burst. Stir every so often, adding water if it gets too thick.
Remove from heat and let cool. Blend with an immersion blender or smash with a fork.
To make Cardamom Mascarpone, combine cardamom and mascarpone in a bowl until blended.
Garnish latkes with applesauce and mascarpone!
Last week at work (well my other work), I had my first sufganiya, or traditional Hanukkah jelly doughnut, of the season. Each Hanukkah I usually focus my culinary attention on the latke. But this year I’ve been thinking on what kinds of unique sufganiyot flavors are out there, and what kinds of possibilities lie on the horizon.
For example, instead of just the jelly, what about a PB&J flavor? Or peaches n cream, with peach compote and whipped cream in the middle…
Instead of just musing on the possibilities, I put together a few unique recipes for a less “traditional” jelly doughnut experience:
The Kosher Gastronome has a recipe for Sufganiyot with Dulce de Leche Filling. If it was up to me, I would add some thick sea salt to that dulce de leche to make for a sweet n salty sufganiyot tasting. And as it so happens, I came across this recipe for Apple Cider Sufganiyot with Salted Caramel.
Israeli chain Roladin has been creating flavors such as halva filled sufganiyot and white ganache filled sufganiyot.
And how about these Chai Sufganiyot with Orange Pumpkin Buttercream.
All this sounds too complicated, or schmancy? Epicurious has a step-by-step Doughnut Demo to go over the frying basics in order to create a perfect, basic Hanukkah doughnut.
Please send us links or pics of the most unique sufganiyot you’ve made, or seen!