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Hanukkah Recipes: Easy Latkes, Squash Gelt and Dreidel Treats

Hanukkah begins at sunset tomorrow night, Saturday December 8, and ends at sunset on Sunday December 16. Here are some recipes to help make your holiday sweet – and savory!

Wendyfully Easy Latkes

 (Makes 12 large latkes)

I shared my ‘basic’ version of this recipe two years ago, but I have come to realize that not everyone needs quite so many latkes. So here is a scaled-down version of the recipe – but you can always go back to the original if you like!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns. See note for alternative.
  • ¼  tsp. baking soda
  • 1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4-cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large or extra-large eggs, beaten 
  • canola oil for frying

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss baking soda with shredded potatoes.
  2. Add onions, salt and flour and mix well. 
  3. Add beaten eggs and mix well.
  4. Heat oil (should be approximately ¼ in. deep) in skillet.  Test heat by dropping a single shard of potato mixture in oil; if it starts to sizzle immediately, oil is hot enough.
  5. Drop mixture by heaping spoonfuls (I use a soup spoon) into the hot oil and flatten with the back of spoon or spatula.
  6. When edges begin to brown, gently turn over and fry until other side is golden brown. To turn, use spatula to lift and use back of spoon to brace as you flip.
  7. Drain on paper towels (or, if you're environmentally conscious, use clean brown paper grocery bags), repeating until all potato mixture is used.
  8. Latkes may be kept warm on a cookie sheet in a 200° oven  (or you can just eat them as you go along)

Note: If you like grating your own potatoes (and, unlike me, can do so without grating your knuckles), substitute 3 medium baking potatoes for the Simply Potatoes pre-shredded ones. Make sure to grate the potatoes on the larger-holed attachment of your food processor or grater, and squeeze out all moisture in a dishtowel or with your hands. Also, add a tablespoon of water to your beaten eggs to make sure the mixture is moist enough.

 

Summer Squash “Gelt” 

(Serves 4)

Two years ago, I used carrots to make ‘gelt,’ the gold coins traditionally associated with Hanukkah. With the new Winter Farmers’ Market and the availability of more produce during the cooler months, I decided to try it this year with yellow summer squash. If you can find it, golden zucchini would also work well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium summer squash, cut into ¼ inch rounds, ends discarded
  • 1 cup water, or chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place summer squash ‘coins’ in steamer basket or colander small enough to fit into saucepan.
  2. In saucepan, heat water or broth to a rolling boil.
  3. Place steamer basket or colander in/over saucepan and cover.
  4. Steam squash over liquid for 5 – 7 minutes or until tender crisp.
  5. Remove squash coins to bowl, season with salt and pepper and, if desired, garnish with chopped parsley.

 

Dreidel Treats

 (Makes 12 dreidels)

This recipe is inspired by a Martha Stewart creation. If you keep kosher, note that most marshmallows are made with animal gelatin; Whole Foods and specialty grocers may carry vegetarian marshmallows, and you can order them online through kosher.com and other sources.

Ingredients:

  • 12 chocolate Kisses, removed from foil wrapping
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 full-sized marshmallows
  • 6 thin pretzel sticks, broken in half
  • 1 small tube each white and blue decorating gel

Directions:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with kitchen parchment and place in refrigerator.
  2. Insert pointed end of chopstick or tip of sharp knife into one end of each marshmallow to make hole for pretzel ‘stem.’
  3. In a flat-bottomed, microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave. Use a low heat setting and stir at 30-second intervals using a non-stick spatula.
  4. Remove cookie sheet from fridge and place marshmallows hole-side-down on parchment paper.
  5. One at a time put a small bit of melted chocolate on non-hole side of marshmallows and place chocolate Kiss on top of it. Repeat for all marshmallows, and then return to refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  6. If melted chocolate in bowl has solidified at all, return to microwave for a few seconds until soft again.
  7. One at a time, insert pretzel stick halves into pre-made holes in marshmallows (you can use a little bit of the melted chocolate to make sure they stay put).
  8. Using the pretzel as a handle, dip the marshmallow on its side into the chocolate and swirl to coat both marshmallow and Kiss. Use your spatula or a small table knife to make sure chocolate is relatively smooth and even over entire ‘dreidel.’ Make sure the gap between marshmallow and Kiss is well filled. Repeat with all marshmallows.
  9. Return cookie sheet to refrigerator for 15 minutes.

10.  On each dreidel, using first the blue gel frosting and then the white, put one of the four Hebrew letters found on a traditional dreidel: Nun, Gimel, Hay, Shin (see photo or look on the internet for how to make the letters).

11.  Refrigerate for at least 5 more minutes or up to four days.

B’tayavon and a very Happy Hanukkah to you all!

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