Christmukkah

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First, let me apologize for my computer’s inability to handle pictures right now. A lot of these posts are a little overdue, but oh well.

My roommate and I hosted a Christmas/Hanukkah party a while back (I guess the first Friday of Hanukkah). Well, really it was more like a Hannukkah party one night followed by a Christmas cookie party the next, since we were a little overambitious. I’ll make it all one post, though. There are recipes included!

Check out all the shredded potatoes!

We made two kinds of latkes, and I also made chocolate babka. She shredded about 8 lbs of potatoes while I was in lab during the day. The next night, my roommate made sugar cookies sans butter that turned out really well (I’ve never been able to pull that off, and since I can’t eat butter, I was very pleased). She made an incredible meringue icing, too, and we spent forever decorating cookies.

Anyway, here are the recipes! We made about 5 lbs. potato-onion latkes and added some hot peppers to some of them. I kept them warm in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven while I cooked the rest, and they stayed nice and crispy.

Potato-onion latkes (per pound):
Originally from the Boston Globe, now archived
Lots of canola oil

1 lb. shredded potatoes (use a food processor)
1 medium onion

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. baking soda

1.5 tsp. salt, divided to 1 tsp. and 1/2 tsp.
1/2 tsp. pepper
Greek yogurt and Apple Sauce for topping
*Note: If you scale up the recipe, you don’t have to scale up the eggs and baking soda quite as much (i.e. only add half the amount per extra pound of potatoes, so for three pounds of potatoes, use three eggs and 2 tsp. baking soda).

Shred the potatoes, rinse with water, and drain as much liquid out as possible. Use a kitchen towel to ring out the potatoes. Leave in a colander and toss with 1 tsp. salt. Let sit 30 minutes. The salt will pull more liquid out of the potatoes. Ring in clean kitchen towels again. Shred the onion and drain as well. Once the potatoes are dry, combine all ingredients except the oil and toppings. Form balls of latkes, and drop into sizzling oil. If this causes a smokey mess, then you didn’t ring out the potatoes well enough! Flip your latkes once until brown on both sides. Save latkes in a warm oven on a GREASED cookie sheet while you make more.

Potato-apple latkes: 
Originally from Cooking Light Magazine 
Lots of canola oil
6 cups shredded potatoes (about 2 lbs., use a food processor)
2 cups shredded gala or honeycrisp apples
1.5 tsp. salt, divided to 1 tsp. and 1/2 tsp.
1/2 tsp. pepper
1.5 cups AP flour
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Greek yogurt and Apple Sauce for topping
Shred the potatoes, rinse with water, and drain as much liquid out as possible. Use a kitchen towel to ring out the potatoes. Shred the apples, drain as much liquid out as possible. Leave apple/potato mix in a colander and toss with 1 tsp. salt. Let sit 30 minutes. Ring in clean kitchen towels again. Mix the salt, pepper, flour, and sugar into the potatoes/apples. Form balls of the mixture. If they are too loose, add a little more flour. Drop the latkes into sizzling oil, flip once until brown on both sides. Save latkes in a warm oven on a GREASED cookie sheet while you make more.
 
Apples and potatoes, before the bowl broke
Into the pan!

Flipped, brown on one side
Mmmmm yummy

Chocolate Babka is probably one of my new favorite holiday foods. Most of the food I grew up with was Italian food, and our holiday traditions are pretty Catholic-based, but last year when Cooking Light Magazine featured a Hanukkah section, I got pretty excited! This chocolate babka is modified from the Cooking Light version to use a bread maker (and no milkfat), but if you don’t have a bread maker, use the original!

Chocolate Babka: 
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Dough:
3/4 cup warm skim milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 tbsp. margarine, softened and sliced
1 2/3 cups AP flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour
6 tbsp +1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
Filling:
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or 4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips)
Streusel:
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. AP flour
1 tbsp. margarine

Mix dough ingredients in order in a bread maker. Run dough cycle, letting rise continue for an hour and a half (my bread maker automatically stops the first rise after an hour, but it keeps the temperature at 80 degrees Fahrenheit until I press stop, so I just leave it there). Punch dough down, let rise 5 mins. Mix filling ingredients. Roll dough out to a 16 inch square on a floured surface. Add filling on top, and roll babka jellyroll style. Twist the roll (see picture), and smush into a greased bread pan with a piece of parchment paper on the bottom (see picture). Cover and let rise 45 minutes. Prepare the streusel by mixing the streusel ingredients with a fork. Cover the babka with the streusel, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Christmas Cookies
Since I didn’t really make these, I’ll just give you the links to the recipes! My cookies are in the first picture, but I showed the rest for fun!

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