Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Special Chanukah Latkes from a teen Iron Chef by Cleo Coyle

A few weeks ago on Facebook, Nancy Prior Phillips, one of our wonderful followers, mentioned that her teenage son, Connor, whipped up my Autumn Potatoes recipe (a mashed potato makeover, adding flavor and nutrition to your classic mashed via garlic and carrots).

I was delighted to hear that Connor, an aspiring chef, was inspired by my recipe to take it one step further. He added a few ingredients and fried them up as pancakes! Brilliant!

The result is a delicious latke recipe that my husband and I inhaled the day we tried them. I hope you enjoy them, too. Connor even gave us a sweet variation. Go, Chef Connor! You’re on your way to becoming the next Iron Chef!

Wednesday evening, December 1st, of course, brings us the first night of Chanukah, and latkes (potato pancakes) are a tasty, traditional Chanukah food.

The Jewish custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil comes from the original miracle of the Chanukah menorah, which involved the discovery of a small flask of oil that lasted many more days than it should have. Consequently, the “Festival of Lights” is eight days long and marked each night by the lighting of a new candle.

My barista character, Esther, has her own unique spin on her mother’s traditional latke recipe. In Holiday Grind, I share her recipe with readers. For today’s post, I am delighted to share…

Connor Phillips’
Chanukah Latkes (2 Ways!)

To print, save, or share this recipe in a PDF document, click here.  The PDF includes Connor's Latke recipe along with Cleo's Autumn Potatoes.

Garlic-Carrot Potato Latkes
with Dill, topped with
Ginger Sour Cream 

Servings: 6 pancakes

1 egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon Wondra flour
2 teaspoons dried dill
3 cups of Cleo Coyle's Autumn Potatoes (click here to get Cleo's free PDF of her recipe, which will give you 3 cups of garlic-carrot mashed potatoes) 
Olive oil (enough for 1/2 inch in frying pan)

For Topping:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or to your own taste)

Directions: Mix together Cleo's Autumn Potatoes, egg, flour, and dried dill. Now heat 1/2 inch of olive oil in a cast iron skillet (or frying pan) until it shimmers. (Be sure oil is nice and hot or the results will be greasy.) Using an ice cream scoop, carefully place mounds of the batter into the hot oil. Flatten with a spatula. Cook these small pancakes until they brown and form crunchy crusts (5 or 6 minutes on one side), then flip over and continue until the other side is similar (another 5 or 6 minutes). Remove the pancakes from the pan and drain on paper towels. Serve with ginger sour cream.

Sweet Latkes with
Cinnamon and Apple Sauce 

Servings: 6 pancakes

1 egg, well beaten 
1 tablespoon Wondra flour
2 teaspoons nutmeg or cinnamon 
3 cups of Cleo Coyle's Autumn Potatoes (click here for Cleo's free PDF of her recipe, which will give you 3 cups of garlic-carrot mashed potatoes)
Olive oil (enough for 1/2 inch in frying pan)

Directions: Follow cooking instructions in previous latke recipe. Top with cinnamon apple sauce (Connor used the chunky kind). You can also use vanilla yogurt or sour cream swirled with vanilla and cinnamon.


Cleo's Tip #1:

For best results, be sure to use 1/2 inch of olive oil. Don't skimp. Remember: It's the temperature of the oil that will give you greasy latkes and not the amount.

Just make sure the oil is hot enough before you plop in your first scoop of batter. As Connor advises, wait until the oil "shimmers." (As Esther advises, "It's the oil that's the mitzvah, so don't be stingy with it!") 

Plopping scoops of latke
batter into the hot oil.

Flatten with spatula.

Cleo's Tip #2:

Be patient. The pancakes will take 5 or 6 minutes to cook per side. The oil needs to be nice and hot (note the bubbling in the photo).

Flip with care: Allow the latkes to cook until nice and crispy on one side before flipping to the other or they may fall apart on you. And don't flip more than once. Just fry until crispy. Flip. Fry until crispy, and you're done.

When finished frying, drain them on a paper towel,
plate them up, add a little sour cream, and...

Eat with joy!


Thank you,

Happy Chanukah,

~ Cleo Coyle, author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes, find out more about my books, or sign up to win free coffee, visit my *virtual* coffeehouse at...

Coffeehouse Mystery.com

by Cleo Coyle

Holiday Grind: 
A Coffeehouse Mystery,

“Fun and gripping…” —The Huffington Post 

“Some of the most vibrant characters I've ever read. Coyle also is a master of misdirection and red herrings. I challenge any reader to figure out whodunit before Coyle reveals all.” Mystery Scene


  1. This very very proud mama is a wee bit teary and also incredibly happy. Thanks Cleo for allowing Connor to be a star today :-) I am so excited to show him this page!!
    Also very pleased that you and Marc enjoyed his variation on a wonderfully tasty theme!
    Nanc...proud mama of the Iron Chef!!!

  2. What a wonderful post! Connor, I'm going to enjoy watching you on the Food Network! What a great idea for turning Cleo's autumn potatoes into latkes. :) These latkes look amazing...and I love getting two different ways to prepare them, Cleo. Thanks for being so creative, Connor. :)

  3. Great post and great job for Connor to make your recipe his own! I think... "inspired by" is much better than "I copied her recipe word for word"

    Being from a little farm town in the center of Illinois, I remember having my first Latke in NYC and thinking, "What's the big deal, it's my mom's hash brown pancakes". I make them myself now and call them a Latke... but I always think they are my mom's hash brown pancakes.

    This was a great post, and now I am off to check out Connor's Booklovers site

  4. These look great!!!

  5. Making me hungry...

  6. I have to laugh, every time I come to this site, the food makes my mouth water (literally) These latkes look phenomenal.

  7. These look pretty amazing! Way to go, Connor, and aren't you sweet to post them, Cleo. The chocolate candle is so cute, BTW.


    Killer Characters

  8. I especially enjoyed reading this post. Well done, Connor!!

  9. These look wonderful. I'll have to try them with my picky eater. I'll just tell him they're a special holiday pancake.

    Beverly AKA Bookwoman

  10. I'm so impressed by Connor! The latkes look fabulous.

    ~ Krista

  11. what an awesome thing to do for a guy. Thanks for telling us about Conner!

  12. We'll be doing ours on Sunday when the kids come to share the celebration. I have a friend who uses the pre-packaged shredded potatoes, makes them well ahead and freezes them. But as much as I prefer doing as much as possible beforehand, latkes just aren't the same unless they're made fresh (IMHO). It's one of the few times I'm willing to spend time in the kitchen while my guests are elsewhere, but this year, our new house is the 'open concept' so I can fry and still be in the thick of things. (I'll be sharing my recipe at my blog later in the week.)

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  13. Wow, Connor! Very cool. I've never made latkes, but I am inspired to do so now. These look fabulous and just like Vannie, my mouth is watering. I predict great things for you, Connor! Wonderful post!

  14. I want that candle! I have a still have my silver kiss necklace from back when those were popular!

  15. You can tell it's a good post when it satisfies all of your senses with just a few words and pictures. Amazing that you can make us smell, hear, and taste those sizzling latkes! Great inventiveness, Connor--can't wait to see more from you.

  16. What an innovative way with a recipe. Very neat.

  17. Wow, Cleo, I always love your recipes, and now we have Connor to give us some delicious variety! Thank you to both of you!

  18. Those recipes look wonderful. Thanks Cleo and Connor for sharing!

  19. These really do look great. Thanks Cleo & way to go, Connor!

  20. Cleo and Connor good job. I will have to try this recipe. We have always done the hash brown pancakes, but nothing like this. Also thanks for the mention :). We have 67 entries so far. Someone is going to be a happy camper.

    The World of Book Reviews

  21. Latkes... and now i'm hungry again!