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Crispy Latke Bites (Mini Potato Pancake Muffins)

December 4, 2013
CRISPY LATKE BITES

When it comes to Chanukah, families divide along interesting lines. You’ve heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys?  Well,  it’s not quite like that. But there is this business of the graters vs. the shredders when it comes to latke (potato pancake)- making. Could be that  versus is too strong a word. But the two camps are definitely opinionated as to which produces a superior latke.

Karen and Yoni (my niece and her hubby/my nephew) have it figured out. She, from generations of graters and he, a staunch shredder. They both cook. Excellent. They’ve simply made a deal to take turns making his/her own version. Whoever doesn’t cook, eats the favorite of the other. Seems very democratic.

Enter the Little, yet mighty, Crispy Latke Bite. A highly bi-partisan little guy, this one turns out delicious whether he’s grated or shredded. I had a gathering  last weekend where I served both. No one said anything and I had staunch members of both camps present. All the little bites were devoured in record time. Novio and I only managed to get our hands on one each. They are that good.

potatoes and onionIf you think just a bit of onion is needed for latkes, think again. I used a large onion to two large  potatoes and it was just right. So up the onion ante, please, and you will be sure to delight.

cut-up potatoes and onions

If making a small batch, I like the results achieved with the humble box grater the best. What can I say – I’m old-fashioned. Plus, I try to always get help in this department. Otherwise, it would be a scene with my little fingers. If the batch is larger than a couple of potatoes, then, if you’ve got one, I suggest hauling out the old food processor and giving it a go. Chop onions first using the (default) knife blade and pulse on/off until onions are in tiny pieces.

onions in processor

Place onions in a large colander with a bowl  underneath to catch excess liquid.

colander and bowl method
Take out and measure all ingredients and get ready to move fairly quickly.  Once potatoes are grated, they can turn a darker color.

salt and baking powder

Have everything ready to go and move quickly to assemble the batter.

Many place the potatoes in a large bowl of cold water once they’re peeled. Be sure to minimize excess liquid by drying the potatoes well with paper towels before processing. I was trying to move quickly and skipped the soaking step, which I believe, not only helps keep potatoes white but removes some starch (which some people don’t like but others do – you know how people are). As you can see, there’s a bit of pink action happening here. Oops.

chopping potatoes in food processor

Grate in 2 to 3 batches, depending on how many potatoes you’re using.  Place grated potatoes in colander with onions.  Drain off extra liquid.

A little chopped parsley adds a note of brightness.

parsley in potatoes

Grease nonstick mini muffin pans well with oil.  I don’t have 2 non-stick 24-cup tins, so I just did it in two batches. No sweat. If you happen to own two (I’m impressed), then by all means.

A  good dark nonstick pan is important; otherwise the muffins tend to stick. A dark baking pan browns better than a light one. Do you notice that? That’s why I do cakes that I don’t want to brown too quickly in lighter aluminum pans. When I want browning, darker is the way to go.The diameter of each muffin is about 2 inches – this creates a very pleasing size; just enough for two little bites.

Spoon batter into muffin pans.  Fill each cavity to the top, and lightly smooth the batter flat.  Optional- brush a little oil on the tops.  If using regular-sized muffin pans, fill each cavity half full.  For the larger version,  increase cooking time by 4-5 minutes.

well-greased pans for batterBake the little ones for about 30 minutes.   Latke Bites are ready when the outside of the bites are golden brown and crispy.  Run a blunt knife around each one to help remove them from the pans.  Place on large plate lined with paper towels. Serve warm with applesauce or sour cream. Or both.

well-baked mini-latkesLook ma! Baked, not fried! (but still  has oil… Tradition!)

Wow , the options! This is a terrific idea for a passed appetizer or as a starter or an offering for a buffet. A mix of potato and sweet potato, or all sweet potato, or zucchini  or zucchini-carrot-potato or parsnip potato or cauliflower-potato. I think there’s a call for another post (or three) on this topic,,,

 crispy nd brown around edges

Karen, Yoni, now there’s a  third way coming along for you.

Enjoy, everyone.

CRISPY LATKE BITES

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes peeled (Russet or Idaho)
1 large yellow onion, cut into chunks
2 large eggs
¼ c. flour (or matzo meal or a gluten-free alternative)
½ t. salt
½ t. baking powder
1 T. Italian parsley, finely chopped
Safflower, canola or grapeseed oil for greasing pan or use cooking spray
2-3 t. oil (see above for best oil choices) for drizzling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Grease nonstick mini muffin tins well. The diameter of each muffin tin should be about 2”. The dark non-stick tins help make these latke bites extra crisp.

Chop onions in food processor with basic knife (AKA “S” blade) by pulsing until finely chopped. Place in colander over a large bowl to catch excess liquid. Or, use box grater on the small (not tiny) grating side.

Place potatoes in food processor and process  by pulsing until just grated . Or use box grater on either the grater or shredder side. Your choice.

Place potatoes in colander with onions. Squeeze out excess liquid.

Add eggs, flour, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle  in chopped parsley. Quickly stir to blend.

Fill mini-muffin tins to the top, using a spoon. Lightly smooth batter flat. If using regular sized muffin tins, fill halfway.

Using a teaspoon, drizzle tops with oil.

Bake for 30 minutes, until tops are golden. Run a blunt knife around them and pop them out onto paper-towel lined plates.

Makes 48 latke bites.

Latke bites can be frozen in a Ziploc bag or plastic container (that’s another big plus for these bites!). No need to defrost; simply place in a 400° oven on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until warm and crispy, about 10 minutes.

bb tip: Homemade applesauce is easy! Simply peel and cut a half-dozen apples into small chunks. Place in a large-enough saucepan with a tablespoon or two of water. Bring water to boil (that will be quick) and cook, partially covered, for about twenty minutes, until soft. Once cooled a bit, mash with potato masher to your favorite consistency – chunky or smooth. I like using Fuji apples and I go for chunky. A cinnamon stick or a few dashes cinnamon? If you like! (I love cinnamon, but I’m a purist with latkes – so apples only please).

Crispy Latke bites

Hurray for Latke Bites!

Happy Chanukah!

And for a special treat, check out Chanukah Blessings, one of my favorite contemporary Chanukah songs by Barenaked Ladies…

click here to listen and enjoy.

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One Comment
  1. Arlene Rosenblatt permalink

    Thanks much. Just in time for our gathering.Arlene

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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