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Chanukah: A New Spin on Traditional Recipes

November 24, 2011 | by Gitta Bixenspanner

Some favorite traditional and dairy recipes your family will love.

What is Chanukah without latkes and doughnuts! Traditionally we eat dairy dishes to celebrate the victory of our heroine Yehudis over the evil general Helifornis, while at the same time we fry our delicacies in oil to celebrate the victory of the Maccabees.

Here are some favorite traditional and dairy recipes to enhance any meal.

Traditional Crispy Potato Latkes

Latkes are a real staple part of Chanukah fare. If you plan to serve latkes, make lots of them, as they are sure to disappear quickly. Even though they are featured elsewhere, they are still the favorite


  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper (optional)


Grate potatoes in food processor on your favorite blade, I favor the shredder as pieces are a bit bigger and latkes come out crispier. Squeeze out the liquid through a colander. Add the rest of ingredients. Mix well.

In a deep pot or deep frying pan, heat oil very thoroughly. Drop batter by spoonful and fry until golden on both sides. Pat with paper towel to absorb the oil.

Serve warm with applesauce or sour cream, if desired. Just plain is great too.

Preparation time: 12 minutes
Cooking time: 18 to 24 minutes
Serves 8

Creamy Cauliflower Latkes

I love cauliflower any which way it is served. In honour of Chanukah here is a latke made out the delectable cauliflowers


  • 1 2lb bag frozen cauliflower
  • 2 fresh pressed garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6Tbs reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1Tbs flour
  • 1 Tbs olive oil


Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, and simmer for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain and return the cauliflower to the pot. Using a potato masher, mash the cooked cauliflower. Add the garlic, salt, cream cheese, eggs, flour and olive oil and mix until well combined.

Heat 3 Tbs oil in a frying pan. Drop cauliflower mixture by tablespoon into the hot oil. Cook until nicely browned on both sides.

Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream.

These freeze well and are delicious when warmed up in the oven at 300 F for about 15 minutes.

Note: this recipe is delicious when served as mashed cauliflower, instead of mashed potatoes, just omit the flour.

Prep: 7min
Cook: 25min
Serves 6

Easy Cheesy Vegetable Quesadillas

Tortillas are very popular these days. Tortillas come in various textures; white flour, whole wheat, tomato or spinach. Subsequently their colors will vary. They go a long way for any occasion and easy to serve. The variety of ways to serve it is endless. Here is a simple recipe that is almost a meal, children are sure to love this finger food. Add pizzazz to this dish by contrasting colors of tortillas and serving them in a variety of colors.


  • 4 tortillas your favorite variety
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1 large leek cut in strips
  • 1 large zucchini cubed
  • 1 red pepper cut in thin strips
  • 2 Tbs Marinara sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz (200gr) shredded mozzarella/or pizza cheese


In a large frying pan sauté chopped onions and garlic until translucent 8-10 minutes. Add washed and sliced leeks, cubed zucchini and red pepper. Allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender.

To assemble spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Spread two tortillas on the baking sheet sprinkle lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Pour vegetable mixture onto the cheese, spread a thin layer of Marinara sauce. Sprinkle with more cheese on top and cover with remaining tortillas. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven cut into desired slices and serve.

Preparation time 15 minutes
Serves 8-12

For an even easier version omit the vegetables and just spread tortillas with cheese and marinara sauce cover with another tortilla and bake until cheese is melted, for equally delicious results.

Appetizing Cheese Sticks
with Marinara Dipping Sauce

I tasted these cheese sticks in a dairy restaurant, while visiting family out of town. They were so tasty that I was hooked; I was not surprised that the children asked for doubles.


  • 12 Mozzarella cheese sticks
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • ½ cup flavoured Panko/crushed cornflakes crumbs
  • 3 Tbs canola oil


Heat oil in a large frying pan.

In a bowl beat egg slightly. Dip all cheese sticks into the egg. Then coat each stick into the Panko/cornflake crumbs. Drop into hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and drain on a paper towel. Serve with a marinara sauce or just plain old ketchup.

Note: these cheese sticks can also be baked in the oven for 5-6 minutes, the results are not that different and many calories can be shaved off the original recipe.

Preparation 5 minutes
Serves 6

Baked Mini Doughnuts

Today there are pans of every size and variety to suit every need. Doughnuts are best fried but if you want to indulge in doughnuts more than once a Chanukah these baked donuts do just as well. This handy little pan makes it easy to come up with baked donuts. If they are not available, the donuts can be baked in muffin tins, which will allow for your favourite fillings. Baked donuts don’t quite have the crisp crust of fried donuts, yet they taste delicious. They are worth the change for those that are health conscious!

Children will love helping you decorate these donuts with all sorts of sprinkles. Your imagination is the limit. Melted chocolate is also a great glaze.


  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk


Lightly grease a mini donut pan or mini muffin tin. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together brown sugar, egg and melted butter until mixture is smooth. Beat in vanilla extract, then half of the flour mixture. Mix in the milk, followed by the remaining flour. Stir only until all ingredients are combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible. Scoop batter into a quart or gallon-sized plastic bag and chill for 1-2 hours. Preheat the oven to 325F and remove the bag from the refrigerator.

Snip the corner off of the plastic bag and pipe batter into mini donut cavities, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 9 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly pressed. (For regular-sized donuts in a larger donut pan, bake 12-15 minutes)
Turn donuts out to cool on a wire rack. Dip tops of donuts in glaze when donuts are completely cooled and decorate with sprinkles, sugar, spices or anything else you can think of.

Allow glaze to set for at least 1 hour before storing, or just eat and enjoy!

Vanilla Glaze:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tsp milk

Whisk all ingredients together in a small, shallow bowl, adding milk as necessary to make the glaze thick enough to stick easily to the donuts. If it becomes too thin, simply add a bit more confectioners’ sugar.

Feel free to fill with favorite jelly or custard.

Preparation 20 minutes
Makes about 18 mini donuts or 12 muffin size donuts

Spiced Sugar Donuts with a Twist

“Variety is the spice of life” goes the adage, after indulging in the same donuts time and again, this recipe is a welcome change for the daring; the pumpkin or sweet potato/ butternut squash lends it a slightly sweet taste which is very flavorful.



  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger(optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs buttermilk (to make your own mix 1 Tbs vinegar into ½ cup milk)
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin (canned is ok) sweet potato/butternut squash (your choice)
  • Canola oil (for deep-frying)

Spiced Sugar:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg


Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla, buttermilk and pumpkin. Gently stir in flour mixture until fully incorporated. Cover bowl with a dishcloth and refrigerate at least 1 hours. Sprinkle two baking sheets with flour. Working with 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll the chilled dough out, on a lightly floured surface, to about 1/2-2/3 inch (2 cm) thickness. Using a 2 1/2 inch diameter round biscuit cutter or wide mouth glass, cut out rounds and place on a baking sheet. Use a 1 inch cutter or small liqueur cup to remove the center of the round, and set the donut hole on the baking sheet as well. Repeat until all the dough is used. You may reroll the scraps. You should end up with 24 donuts and 24 holes.

In a large saucepan, heat 2-3 inches of oil to 365F/185C. Make a thick stack of paper towels to drain the donuts on. Fry the donuts as well as holes until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Remove doughnuts to drain and cool thoroughly on paper towels.

In bowl, whisk together sugar and spices. Coat donuts and donut holes in sugar mixture. The sugar will stick to the residual oil (though no one likes to think about that). Enjoy!
Makes 24 donuts and 24 donut holes, but can be halved

Easy Schmeezy Chanukah Cookies

What do kids like even more than eating cookies? Making cookies! Mix the dough, get out the rolling pin and Hanukkah-shaped cookie cutters (menorah, oil lamp, stars, and more), and give your children a memorable and yummy Hanukkah experience. Great activity to help them anticipate the candle lighting ceremony.


  • 1 cup (200 grams) butter or pareve margarine, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder


Mix ingredients margarine and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs, juice and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix flour with baking powder. Add flour mixture to dough and mix until just blended. Cover the dough with a cloth and chill for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 F or 180 C

Grease cookie sheets. Flour surface and rolling pin. Roll out dough until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Add flour if the dough is sticky. Cut dough with Hanukkah cookie cutters.
Place Hanukkah-shaped cookies on the greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 425 F or 180 C for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Decorate with sprinkles or drizzle melted chocolate.

Preparation 10 minutes
Makes 18 cookies


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