Hanuka (Hanukkah / Chanuka / Chanukkah) is coming, and I’ve been searching my brain for an interesting recipe to contribute. We aren’t really big fans of frying, although we love dairy. It’s been tough to find a food I want to write about because we don’t eat a lot of “fancy” traditional food. Don’t get me wrong, we’re making (plain potato) latkes and (standard jelly filled) sufganiyot for the holiday, but they are straight recipes with nothing other than their rarity exciting about them. Well, there will be raspberry chocolate pudding (made with raspberry liquor and a box of milk chocolate pudding mix!) in some of the donuts…
For this blog party, I wanted to contribute something fun. At first, I settled on fried apple rings, like these:
Do you know Greek tradition holds that the Maccabees ate apples at their Hanuka feast? Well, I just reread that, and thought it would be interesting to share…only we don’t eat a lot of fried foods, so we’ll save our yearly fry-o-ganza for latkes and donuts. And there is no way mine would look as pretty as that professional photo – on the internet, at least.
Then I thought about the cute and cool edible dreidels with pretzels, marshmallows, and hershey’s kisses, like these.
While we do like candy a LOT around here, we get more than enough of that. (But there are links to both of those recipes since they sound so cool – just click the pictures if you’re interested!)
So, on to something we know well around here: Mom’s Sugar cookies. Well, that’s what I call them. One of my sisters, who is an expert at making them for all family gatherings, insists on “Sour Cream Cookies.” There is sour cream in them, and sugar, so you can call them which ever you want! (Note: I have made these parve with “fake” sour cream, and it was good, but we almost always make them dairy. And Hanuka is a dairy holiday, so it fits right in!)
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
(makes 5 dozen medium cookies)
- 1 C shortening
- 2 C sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 C sour cream
- 1 t vanilla
- 1.5 t baking soda
- 2 t baking powder
- 4.5 C flour
The way my mom told it to me was to mix everything together until smooth,
Since one secret to good cookies is evenly mixing the fat and sugar, I take that to mean the instructions are:
Cream together shortening and sugar. Add in eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Then add dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Now, this is a very soft dough, so it’s time to chill out. For the dough, that is. Usually, I chill it overnight, but however long it takes to set up a little more works. You can add more flour, but you’re losing tenderness in your cookies, so try to get it just to the point that you can roll it with a dusting of flour out and leave it there.
When it’s time to bake, preheat your oven to 350F. Roll the dough out thinly (you can experiment with how thick you like them) and cut with a floured glass for circles or cutters for shapes.
Put them on a baking sheet covered with a silpat or parchment paper. They will rise a little, but not too much, so they can be put pretty close together.
If you will frost them, that’s it. If you don’t want to frost them, then sprinkle them with sugar now. Then bake until very light brown around the edges and cool on a rack.
Now to frosting: We’ve done a super-basic buttercream with just butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla or a more involved buttercream. We’ve done a somewhat complicated royal icing, and even envisioned trying a Swiss meringue buttercream.
But the best to us is the snow-white Wilton buttercream recipe, with just a hint of almond flavor.
Color away, and then set out bowls of colors and have a cookie frosting party! (That’s some sugar being colored along the bottom of the picture – just sugar plus food coloring, then mix.)
Don’t forget the sprinkles, chocolate chips, and cinnamon imperials. (And m&ms, crushed English toffee, jelly, edible glitter, colored sugar…) I think I’ll make a small batch of royal icing so we can decorate some with our food coloring markers.
This time, I tripled the recipe, since rolling out cookies is time consuming. It’s easier for me to just do a bunch at once, and then frost at different times depending on the event. We made about 2/3 round, many of which I’m freezing for later frosting fun. The cutters in the white frosting picture are cookie cutters I picked up in a Jewish store. I find them a little too small, think bite-sized, but the kids enjoyed them.
You can see some of our designs. For sugar cookies, you can even mostly cut a second shape inside the first – don’t actually cut it out, but go about 2/3 of the way down.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake. (Or you can just frost over it, if, say…you forgot to sprinkle with sugar…)
We also made these pretty cookies.
We frosted the cookies one color and then put a smaller cutter on top, sprinkled in some colored sugar, shook it some so it spread around, and the dumped off any extra.
We also tried swirls and sprinkles (4th of July colors…but that’s what we have).
Now to storage. This is a cookie that keeps pretty well, in the freezer or out on the counter. But the frosting is kind of soft and can spread. So you should make a layer of cookies in your container.
Keep going until you’ve filled your container. And that’s it! Put a plate of cookies on the table for all to share. (This is a beautiful table runner one of my Grandmas quilted for our wedding – and don’t worry, it’s under plexiglass!)
My helpers helped with the first few roll-outs and a good deal of the frosting, and we had lots of fun with the designs. And the tasting, of course. This is a fun family activity AND dessert. And did I mention it’s fun?
Now, on to the first ever Hanukkah Blog Party, hosted by Leah of Cook Kosher and Miriam of Overtime Cook. It’s traditional on Hanukkah to eat fried treats, most notably donuts and latkes, and we’ve got a fabulous array of Hanukkah themed recipes, treats and crafts from Jewish bloggers all over the world! Scroll down for links to all of the delicious treats.
To help get everyone into party mode, we have a bunch of fabulous new cookbooks to giveaway! Leave a comment on this post for your chance to win one of:
2 copies of Susie Fishbein’s new Kosher By Design Cooking Coach (sponsored by Artscroll)
2 copies of Leah Schapira’s Fresh and Easy Kosher Cooking (sponsored by Artscroll)
2 copies of Esther Deutch’s CHIC Made Simple (sponsored by the author)
Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, December 16th. Limit one entry per person per blog, so visit the other blogs for extra chances to win! Prizes can only be shipped within the US. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address in order to qualify.
(Giveaway has closed.)
How to enter: Leave a comment on this post telling us about your favorite Hanuka tradition.
Jamie from Joy of Kosher made Zucchini Latkes with Tzatziki