What’s Cooking this Hanukkah

For the past several years we have hosted an annual Hanukkah party/gift exchange. This is one of those holidays that is meant for grazing, we’re starting out early on a Sunday afternoon which just calls for a casual spread, the centerpiece being a big appetizing board (see inspiration below). I’m also brining brisket back on the menu because it can be fully prepped and cooked a day or two before, leaving me plenty of time to slave over the stove flipping latkes.

Adults will be outnumbered by children this year so I’m starting a few days out by baking two batches of my favorite Hanukkah Sugar Cookies. A make your own cookie bar will hopefully keep the kiddos occupied (for at least 30 minutes until they destroy my house). The rest of the menu will be standard Jewish holiday fare but I am bringing back some old family classics and trying out some new recipes, see below.

My Inspiration: Photo from Seed and Mill @edourdmassih

Hanukkah Party Menu

Latke Bar (Served with assorted toppings including: smoked salmon, sour cream, apple sauce, one of my children in particular may sneak in Nutella).
In an effort to keep my house smelling like fryer oil for a week I tried Trader Joe’s Frozen latkes last year and they were good but not quite the same as homemade. I am going all in this year and trying Adam Rapoport’s Latke recipe from Bon Appetit.

My Inspiration: Photo by Martha Steward (mine will definitely not be as beautiful but we can hope!)

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
I remember this dish being a staple at my Grandma Mitzi’s House during holidays. I dug up her old recipe from my treasured family recipe box so hopefully they’ll be as good as I remember!

I dug up my Grandma Mitzi’s Sweet and Sour Meatball recipe and am going to try and recreate this holiday!

Holiday Brisket
I’m torn this year because I’m a huge fan of Smitten Kitchen’s Tangy Spiced Brisket which has an option for the slow cooker and is always delicious. I was at another Hanukkah party last weekend and the brisket was served topped with carrots and celery and it was just as delicious, I loved the color the vegetables added. This recipe from Tory Avery gets excellent reviews so I’m gonna give it a go.

Mixed Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette
I’m trying to keep it simple this year but want something green on the table. I bought a selection of hearty lettuce including some chopped kale which can be tossed together at the last minute with this tangy Mustard Vinaigrette from New York Times Cooking. The dressing can be made a day in advance.

Cheese Board and a Selection of Dips
I plan to send my family out to Sahadis today to pick up a selection of middle eastern dips, spreads, cheeses and dried fruit. Hopefully I can come up with something presentable for the table with what they bring back. I’m kicking myself for not snagging some of this halva when I was at Seed and Mill yesterday, would have been perfect on a cheese board.

Challahs and Halva at Seed and Mill

Hanukkah Sugar Cookies
This is the best and only sugar cookies recipe you will ever need. The dough is simple to prepare (again better prepped a day or two before and left to chill in the fridge. You can also freeze leftovers to have on hand). See this old post for cookie recipe and icing.

My favorite Hanukkah Sugar Cookies

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