Recipe for How to Make New Year's Cookies, a Mennonite Tradition
What are New Year's Cookies?
New Year's cookies, also called "Porzelchen" (High German) or "Niejoash koake" (Low German) are traditionally made on the day before New Year's in German Mennonite households. Njejoash koake were served at "Watchnight" services in the Mennonite church and usually finished off the next day.
The name "cookies" is a misnomer; Porzelchen are not cookies at all, but rather a type of fritter or doughnut. The High German name means "tumbling over" because they turn over by themselves when they are dropped into deep fat.
The recipe is pretty basic, and New Year's cookies are fairly easy to make, though they do take some time. Make it a family tradition for New Year's Eve. Kids enjoy helping, though you need to be careful that they don't burn themselves with the hot oil. NOTE: Before you begin, make sure you have access to a candy thermometer, as this is essential to success.
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups raisins
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 4-5 cups flour
- Scald the milk (heat it until it starts to bubble), then let it cool to lukewarm. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Knead the dough a bit and add the raisins last. Then cover and let rise until double.
- Heat oil on medium heat to 350 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to keep the temperature consistent. This is an extremely important step. If you do not have the oil at the correct temperature, the New Year's cookies will not cook properly.
- Drop the dough into the hot oil and fry until brown. The Niejoash koake will turn over when they are done.
- Drain on paper towels, then roll in granulated sugar.
Option: Make some with raisins and some without raisins.