Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hanukah with a candle, #latkes, & #mandelbrot

HALLIE EPHRON: This year Christmas and Hanukah collide, date-wise. Tonight we'll be lighting the first candle on the menorah and singing the first-night blessing. Here's our granddaughter with her first Hanukah candle two years ago. This year will be her third and her little brother's first. 

Every year our special meal includes potato pancakes (aka latkes), brisket, and for dessert twice-baked cookies, like biscotti made with oil instead of butter and loaded with nuts, chocolate chips, and maraschino cherries.

Here are my recipes.

The simplest ever potato pancakes (These are what I grew up with, nope, no onions)

Serves 4
2 large unpeeled potatoes (all-purpose russet or Yukon gold work best)
1 egg
Cooking oil (vegetable or peanut oil; not olive oil)
Sour cream or apple sauce

Caution – once you start preparing, don’t stop until all the potatoes are cooked – grated potatoes left to stand will turn dark and yucky looking.

1. Grate 2 large potatoes (you can use a food processor but the results will be a bit crisper if you use a hand grater).
2. Dump the grated potatoes into a clean cloth dish towel. Over the sink, wring out as much liquid as you can from the potatoes.
3. Put the wrung-out potatoes into a mixing bowl and add the egg and a scant handful of flour.
4. Mix.
5. Heat oil in a frying pan until a bit of potato sizzles when it hits the oil.
6. Ladel in tablespoons of potatoes into the hot oil. Don't crowd them. Flatten and cook until brown and crisp on one side, then turn and cook until brown and crisp on the other.
7. Drain cooked potato pancakes on paper towel, put on a wire rack in a cookie sheet, and keep in a warm oven.
8. Cook batches until all are cooked.

9. Serve with salt and your choice of apple sauce or sour cream.


2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 heaping T marmalade
1 c vegetable oil
3 1/2 c flour
3 oz chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c raisins
1 c nuts (we use walnuts but "mandel" means almond)
1 small bottle of maraschino cherries, drained
Cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 
Grease a cookie sheet (or two)

1. Beat the eggs
2. Add oil, sugar, jam, vanilla and mix together
3. Add raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, cherries and mix together
4. Add the soda and baking powder to the flour
5. Gradually mix the other already mixed (steps 1-3) ingredients into the flour
6. Shape the dough into three 3-4" wide logs on a greased cookie sheet
7 Bake at 350 for 25 minutes 
8. Cool and cut diagonally with a sharp knife. 
9. Put each piece, cut side up, sprinkle it with cinnamon-sugar, and bake for another 10 minutes
Cool. Save in a covered container.
These are wonderful briefly warmed in the oven, cinnamon side up, just before serving. 

My husband's father would have eaten them with a glass of hot tea with a heaping spoonful of marmalade stirred in.


  1. Thanks, Hallie! May you have a light-filled Hannukah. My sons's girlfriend is Jewish and sometimes we're all together for various holidays. Once she lit the first Hannukah candle at our house. I love the melding of traditions.

    Now I want a latke for dinner...

  2. Hallie: Thanks for the recipes. I grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood in Toronto (North York) so I was invited to experience some of my friend's family traditions, including Hanukah. Our City Hall had a huge Christmas tree and giant menorah in the square to celebrate both holidays.

  3. What a sweet picture of your granddaughter . . . .
    Thanks for the recipes.

  4. I'm baking mandelbrot this morning with my granddaughter...

  5. No onions? So interesting! That would taste very different, and very very very delicious.

    I am making a big dinner tomorrow, and considering Yorkshire putting. Tonight we are doing Hanukkah food.
    There is something very special about little kids on the holidays, it's so touching --and reminds you of how families and tradition are all connected.
    Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

  6. Thank you for sharing your traditions and recipes. I hope you and your family have a very Happy Chanukah. Happy Holidays everyone.

  7. Very yummy. Maybe I'd like potato pancakes without the onions (had them years ago and they weren't a hit). And the mandelbrot sounds awesome.

    Happy Hanukkah to you and yours!

  8. Wonderful pictures, Hallie. Wishing you a perfect holiday with your dear ones

  9. Taking a quick break while the meringue mushrooms get dried in the oven. They're to go on the Bûches de Noël (oh no! I forgot to take the prepared rolls out of the freezer -- okay, done)

    Your mandelbrot looks lovely, Hallie. At my house mandelbrot was last night's job, since they make an excellent Christmas present for my partner. Got them all done and almost cool in time to get them into the tin before he came over. I use his mother's recipe and I am a star.

  10. Susan, I am so impressed that you are making Buches de Noel. Maybe sometime you'll share the recipe with us. Don't forget to take a photo!

    Hallie, love the photo of little Franny. I'll be she is really looking forward to Hanukkah and Christmas this year. I've never made potato pancakes but now am inspired--but not this year.

    We are doing enchiladas and tamales, with black beans, Mexican rice, and chopped salad. And guacamole, of course. (And maybe pomegranate margaritas...) I'm about to go attempt a Mexican chocolate cake. (Wish me luck.)

    I have yet to wrap, or to get out our digital Christmas cards. Ack. We have a big family party at my in-laws this evening, then a smaller group at our house tomorrow. So looking forward to Wren's first Christmas. Grandbabies are magical.

    love and happy Christmas to you all!!!

    PS Hank, look up Jamie Oliver's Yorkshire pudding recipe. It's so easy and they are delish. (And even better warmed up for breakfast with a little jam.)

  11. Isn't it wonderful when theses celebrations coincide? Thank you, Hallie, for the recipes. I'm watching Julie rearrange the mantel decor, the baking is done and the dressing is ready for the turkey. Tonight we go to midnight Mass. she sings and I try to stay awake. I couldn't keep this up for eight nights! Happiness to you all.

  12. Hallie, how nice of you to share your recipes with us. Your granddaughter is adorable, and with a grandson to add this year, I'm sure your celebration will be joyful. Happy Hanukah to you and your family!

  13. Hallie, your granddaughter is adorable, and your menu sounds delicious!

    We've assembled all the gingerbread houses (ten for kids big and small) and soon the decorating will commence. I always do my part by eating lots of the building materials!

    Happy holidays everyone!

  14. Love, love,love the wistful and childlike photo of your granddaughter, Hallie.

    Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to bloggers and back bloggers alike.

  15. So beautiful, Hallie. My grandmother used to make her potato pancakes the same way. No onions. Delish.

  16. How lovely! Wishing you all happy holidays with your loved ones.

    We're having our traditional Christmas Eve Mexican dinner this evening, so I've been busy chopping, cooking, stirring, etc. We're having two kinds of tamales, with fresh pico de gallo (made with fresh tomatoes from my garden); picadillo (fried, spicy ground meat); arroz (Mexican fried rice); frijoles (pinto beans) with ham; and guacamole, of course, Deb! There aren't as many of us this year, so we're omitting a couple of our usual dishes.

    Later we will have our Mexican hot chocolate and open the gifts! Y'all enjoy your family, friends, and tasty foods, too.

  17. A reference back to yesterday...someone was looking for the movie "Christmas in St. Louis" which someone else corrected to "Christmas on 34th Street". I just stumbled over the information that "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was an original song sung by Judy Garland in "Meet Me in St. Louis". Just a bit of Christmas trivia and coincidence. Happy Holidays to all.

  18. Oops. I meant to type "Miracle in St Louis" and "Miracle on 34th St" in my recent post. Gray haired brain syndrome strikes again1

  19. Hallie,

    Love the photo of your granddaughter.

    Wonder if the potato latkes are similar or different from the Irish potato pancakes?

    Wishing you and your family Happy Hanukah!

    Tonight is also Christmas Eve. Wishing everyone Happy Holidays (Hanukah / Christmas / Winter Solstice / other winter celebrations)


  20. Hallie, thank you for sharing the recipes can't wait to try the latkes. YUM. Wishing all a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza!