Tuesday, December 30, 2008

portzelky - new years cookies

This old post from December 30, 2004 is always popular at this time of year. Maybe I'll make some myself... If you choose to do the same - enjoy!


It’s almost New Year's Eve and last night I thought of Portzelky. These are New Year's Cookies (fritters really). They are a Mennonite food and Mom always made sure we had a roasterful cooling by New Year’s Eve and a bagful dusted with icing sugar and ready to take to the watchnight service.

That late-ish New Year's Eve church service, consisting of hymns, testimonies and lots of prayers, always ended with lunch in the church basement - definitely the highlight of the evening for us kids. Portzelky was the star of the menu - iced, plain, coated in a sugar cinnamon mixture, or dusted in icing sugar. Some were soft as marshmallows, others were chewy. Some cooks filled theirs with apple bits, but most with raisins. It always amazed me how one food could turn out so differently in the hands of a variety of cooks.

Here is one recipe for Portzelky (though if you plug that word into Google, you’ll come up with lots of variations.)


2 pkg. yeast dissolved in
1 cup warm water
2 cups milk
½ cup melted butter
2 tsp. salt
6 well beaten eggs
2 cups raisins
6 cups flour or enough to make a stiff dough
Mix in order of ingredients.
Put in warm place until mixture has risen to double in bulk.
Cut or form dough into small bun shapes, place on greased or waxed paper-lined cookie sheets and let rise again 10-15 minutes.
Deep fat fry (moist side up first), turning until golden brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towel. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

Find more Mennonite recipes here.


Rebecca Stark said...

Those sound good! My mom always fried doughnuts for New Year's Eve watch night services. Everyone else brought spritz cookies or those little cream cheese mints. (It was a Scandinavian community).

Violet N. said...

Yeah, they are (good, that is). I didn't make them this year- I'm fat enough. But maybe I should. Now.

(BTW, what are cream cheese mints? They sound interesting.)

Pilgrim said...

I remember cream cheese mints, from maybe once in my childhood. Yum.

These cookies must have come from the Russian Mennonites. I haven't heard of them before.

Violet N. said...

You might be right about the Russian Mennonites. That would be this brand!

Unknown said...

Hi, I really enjoyed your blog about these New Year's Eve cookies. I am writing something myself and I ran across your informative piece. I hope you don't mind if I quote you (and refer back to your blog, of course).

Just a friendly word to say you have misspelled Portzelky in your heading. :) I know it has many different spellings but I think you just transposed the l and the k.

Violet N. said...

Hi Kevin Morrice,

Thanks for the comment and the heads-up about the misspelling! It definitely was transposed letters.

Yes, you are welcome to quote and a link back would be wonderful. Happy New Year to you!

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