I think most people can say that Hanukkah is one of their favorite holidays, especially if you’re here in Israel as the whole country, no matter where you may stand religiously, is in the spirit of spreading light to others.
Here are some fun traditional, as well as some new twists, festive Hanukkah dishes that will have something for everyone at your table as the lights shine bright.
Baked Potato Latkes
“A little oil goes a long way!” Isn’t that what the miracle is all about? You can have your latke and eat it too with these delicious baked latkes that are easier to make, healthier, and no matter how many I make there are never any left!
I love traditional latkes fried in oil, but after making these I have seen the light! I feel better about enjoying them, plus I don’t have to stand over a hot frying pan for hours!
Yields about 2 dozen latkes.
8 potatoes1 onion2 eggs3 egg whites3 Tbsp. olive oil2 Tbsp. flour or potato starch2 tsp. salt Dash of black pepperNon-stick cooking spray for baking ease
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Wash the potatoes, and peel them if you wish, (I don’t peel them when I use white potatoes).
Grate the potatoes and onion using the shredder blade, either by hand or a food processor.
Place the shredded mixture into a colander and let it drain for about 3 minutes to remove excess water from the potatoes.
Place the mixture into a large bowl and add all the other ingredients and mix well.
Use a silicone or disposable cupcake pan for best results. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and add about 1-2 Tbsp. of mixture into each cupcake section filling it just under halfway.
Place the cupcake trays in the oven on the second shelf from the top and let bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy looking.
Remove from the oven and let cool for about five minutes before carefully removing from the pan.
Serve with homemade applesauce (next recipe) and enjoy every bite!
Homemade Applesauce with Cinnamon
Latkes and applesauce are like peanut butter and jelly – you need to have both to have the real experience of Hanukkah. My mom used to make apple sauce for years with a food mill that has been dated from the 19th century, and all the grandkids would look forward to it every visit! I wanted to emulate that homemade applesauce experience but I did not want to stand over the counter for 20 minutes milling apples.
So I simply used my 21st-century food processor and the results were amazingly similar!
Yields about 600 gr. of applesauce.
5 pink sweet apples4 cups of water1 cup apple cider vinegar2 cinnamon sticks2 Tbsp. honey
Fill a stock pot with water and place it on a low flame. Wash and cube the apples discarding the core. Do not peel the apples, as the peel will give a nice pinkish hue.
Add the cubes of apples, cinnamon sticks, vinegar, and honey to the pot and let it come to a boil. Lower the flame and let simmer for about 20 minutes or so until softened.
Prepare your food processor with the S blade. (A blender can be used as well but will need some of the liquid from the pot).
Remove the cinnamon sticks and set aside.
Remove the apple chunks and place them in the food processor and blend till your desired smoothness. I pulsed it for about a minute and then let it mix for about 3 minutes on high.
Pour your applesauce into a jar or container and place it in the fridge to cool. Serve chilled in a bowl and add your cinnamon stick to decorate!
Chicken-Filled Doughnut Bites
For those of you (myself included) who are waiting for that indulgent fried Hanukkah goodness, fear not – for you will savor every second of this sweet and tasty dish!
This was actually invented by a mistake I made last year. Somehow my gluten free flour and some icing sugar got mixed in together (I’m guessing because they look so much alike) and as I was preparing some fried chicken nuggets I noticed a sweet smell which seemed unusual for this recipe. After tasting it I realized what must have occurred. My family and I were thankful for the wonderful mishap and the creation of something irresistible!
Yields about 4 servings.
1 kilo boneless chicken breast2 Tbsp. olive oil for marinade
Batter:2 cups flour (gluten-free flour can be used)1 cup icing/powdered sugar 1/3 cup of cornstarch1 Tbsp. baking powderDash of salt1½-2 cups of waterOil for frying
Cube the chicken breast into squares and place them into a bowl. Pour the olive oil over it to marinade while you get the batter ready.
Use a deep frying pan and fill it at least 2-3 inches deep with vegetable oil, and let it begin to heat.
In a large mixing bowl, add all batter ingredients, adding water slowly. Mix well until smooth – it will be a bit thick, so add water if overly sticky. Add cubed chicken to batter and mix until all is well-coated.
When oil is hot enough, begin adding pieces of chicken one at a time into the frying pan, up to 10 pieces. Do not overcrowd the pan.
Use a slotted spoon to turn chicken pieces over after about 2 minutes and let fry for another 3 minutes until golden all around. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a dish or pan lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Plate chicken donuts onto a serving dish and sprinkle some powdered sugar for a festive look. Chicken and donuts actually go really well together!
Hanukkah Gelt Cookies – Gluten-free and Vegan
We all want to be the hostess that thinks of everyone. These easy, delicious cookies can please an entire crowd! They are made with almond flour, natural sugars, and you get to use up all the chocolate coins that have taken over your home.
These are also really fun to make with kids, as they will love putting the coins into each cookie!
Yields about 16 cookies.
2½ cups almond flour (ground almonds)½ cup of oil. I use a combo of coconut and olive½ cup of natural sweetener of your choice; I use maple and agave1 tsp. vanilla extract1 tsp. baking sodaPinch of salt16 chocolate coins (parve or dairy)
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Pour the oil, vanilla, and sweeteners into a mixing bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula (best not to use an electric mixer). Add the remaining ingredients (except the coins), and mix well. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
Unwrap the coils and prepare a cookie sheet with baking paper.
Roll the dough into 1½ inch balls – do not flatten them!
Place them on the baking tray leaving 2 inches between them.
Here’s where the kids have fun helping! Take a chocolate coin and center it on top of one of the cookies and have them press down lightly till the cookie ball flattens and you can see some of the batter around the coin. Repeat this till all the cookies have a coin on them.
Bake in the oven for 8-9 minutes. Let the cookies cool and set for 10 minutes before removing them from the baking tray.
Wishing you a very light filled, healthy, and happy Hanukkah, from my kitchen to yours!
The writer is a kitchen coach, inspiring confidence and creativity in the kitchen. She runs online kitchen workshops, does private events for organizations, and is available for one-on-one coaching. www.inthekitchenwithhenny.com