Saturday, December 27, 2008

Portzelky .. . New Years Cookies

I've posted this recipe before on my blog .. .but since this is a Mennonite Recipe Blog. . .it must be transferred over here. I trust that a few more Portzelky recipes that are a yearly favorite in some of the other Mennonite homes from the women on this blog. . .will follow. . so here is mine.
I decided to post it before New Years Day so that you could see what you needed and avoid a last minute rush to the market.
I dug through my archives looking for a picture of the Portzelky. . .and this one is from last year . . .. .and as soon as January 1st has come and gone. . .I'll post a current picture ( of the Portzelky) . . .no sense in looking a year younger than I am.
Portzelky (Terry's Grandma's Recipe) pronounced . . .
par cel tche

In a large bowl put

- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (like a baby bottle)
-1 tsp. sugar

Stir the yeast, warm water and sugar together slightly and let rest 10 minutes.

- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 beaten eggs

- 1/4 cup very soft butter or melted is fine
- 2 1/2 cups of warm milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt

Stir this together very well.
-6 cups of raisins (these must be fresh . .not something you dig out of the bottom of the drawer)
*If you don't want this many raisins that is just fine. I usually use closer to 4 cups. . but each to their own.

Then start to stir in the flour. You'll need 7 cups.
This will make a fairly stiff batter.

  1. Cover this up with plastic wrap or a lid and let rise until its doubled about 1 hour.
  2. Drop by tablespoons into hot, deep fat ( I Use Canola oil) and fry until golden brown. Now this can be a bit tricky. If the fat is not hot enough they will soak up too much fat and that is not good. If the fat is too hot they will brown too quickly and still be doughy in the middle. It's a good idea to throw some bread cubes in first to see how they fry. After all these years I still usually have to throw out the first one or two.
  3. It's a good idea to stick in a toothpick to the middle of the Portzelky every once in a while to make sure it comes out clean.
  4. When you take them out of the oil, put them on some paper towel to sop up the oil.
It has become tradition in my family to call together all my Geschwister (siblings) and their families to have a bowl of soup, and some Portzelky on New Years Day. . .this has become our Christmas gathering.


  1. Now I am thinking, aren't we really related? I certainly would be the first on your doorstep when you are seving this!! Susan

  2. Oh how I love's good that you posted your recipe early, Lovella! Nice pic!!
    I always divide my dough into 3 bowls, one with raisins in it, one with apple pieces and another apple and raisin. These are the requests I get so that's what I do!
    I shake the portzelky up in a bag with icing(powdered)sugar.

  3. Perfect timing, you are right Lovella. Now the question is...can I make it out of my driveway to pick up those supplies....yikes...still too much snow! Ah, a check into the ol' pantry shows that I have already stocked up for this! Yum....New I come! Thanks for the post...and a quick question...are you posting a before and after pic of you or just replacing it :}

  4. YUM! I love portzelky! Gotta find a GF version! ;)

  5. My grandmother passed away a couple of weeks ago and her funeral was a week before Christmas. I remember her making New Year's Cookies when I was maybe 10 years old, and we took them to their friends' house when we went to play dominoes. Great memory - I'm glad to have the recipe - thank you!

  6. I was surprised when I checked your blog today. I was just thinking of making portzelky,opened up your blog and here it is. Great minds think alike. They are the best when fresh and is a must at New Years.Can hardly wait.

  7. One can't celebrate New Year's without portzelky! We'll see if and when they happen in my kitchen.

  8. Finally just a quick peek into the blog! Thank you for posting these, Lovella! ...well, it wasn't quick, my grandson just dumped over a plant. =)while I was here. maybe I'll finally haul out my recipe and

  9. These look like something I can really sink my teeth into!!

  10. My husband thanks you for this recipe, I always tell him I do not have a good recipe and now I do.Thanks. I will make them tomorrow and I know we will all enjoy them. Thanks

  11. In the area that I currently live, these are called New Years Cookies. How did they become associated with New Years Day? We were blessed today when a neighbor bought a huge plate of them to our door (and there are hardly any left now). I really enjoy learning the origin of food and foodlore.

  12. well, i really like portzelky (or new year's cookies as we call them) but my body can't handle the grease of being deep-fried. so i tried to bake them this year. . . it worked!!
    i used your recipe, but instead of frying i filled lightly greased muffin tin two-thirds full and baked at 400 degrees in a preheated oven for fifteen minutes. i was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out.

  13. I asked my mom for her recipe in December. Since I became a house husband, I find myself reminiscing for all those special foods my mom used to make. My kids gobbled up the whole batch. Even my Japanese wife was impressed.

    Proving it's not just Mennonite women who can cook. -jon in japan

  14. I wonder if a basic gluten-free flour mix would work for this?

  15. Jordynn, just substituting a gluten-free mix would probably not work... you can experiment of course .. I have! I have a recipe for Portzelky Bites (New Year's Cookies) that really taste like the real thing. The link is here...

  16. I DID IT! I am fourty-something years old, and I have finally made portzelky! My mom has always made these for our family. In the last couple of years, Mom's health is deteriorating. She did not make them this year, so it was time for me to give it a go. They turned out just as good as hers. My kids have never been fond of them because of the raisins. So I divided the batter in half and had half with raisins and half without. Everyone was happy! Thanks so much Lovella. My tip that I discovered is that if they tested doughy with a toothpick, I just made them slighly smaller.

  17. I was feeling sorry for myself for missing the West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale and so I made these and they hit the spot. Though it is terribly sad that I have yet to find a way to keep them "fresh". They're just so good right out of the oil...nothing beats that first bite! See my this link for photos of my lovely portzelky Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I am the only sibling in my family (in CA) to make these cookies. If there are any left after the family comes over, I freeze them. When my husband is ready for one or two, I put them in the microwave for a few seconds and they are pretty good. Even though I can't eat them due to diabetes, I get a lot of pleasure seeing how much family and friends enjoy this tradition my mother started when my nine siblings were young.

  18. I want to thank you for posting this recipe! I have started making things that my Grandma used to. She died many years ago and decided recently that I wanted all those wonderful flavors from my childhood! So, this Fall I made Summer Borscht and now New Years Cookies! I made mine "Timbit" size as I was going to a potluck. My mom, dad and brother all said that they tasted as good as Grandma's! :)

  19. My husband and I have been married for 35 + years, when his mother died, I got her old recipe books and papers. My husband said "why don't you make some New Years cookies?" I said "some what?" We found the recipe and tried it. Yummmmmmmmmm I have been making them now for the past 32 or 33 years. I put apple, pineapple, chocolate chips, raisins, or what ever the kids have thought would be good. people look forward to my new years cookies every year.

  20. In our family we add about one Tablespoon cinnamon to the Dad would dip them in surgar...I now shake them in a bag with granulated surgar after they have drained a bit. Beverly G

  21. I am not a Menonite but my husband’s family is/was. My husband has fond memories of his grandma making this New Year’s treat and I thought we had to try it. We decided to dive into the kitchen and try our luck. It turned out perfectly. These things were sooo good (mind we only made half a batch) were flying out of the plate and both our kids were going crazy over them. This will be our new recipe for years to come. Thank you.

  22. Just had some at Nebraska MCC sale yesterday. Love them! As for keeping them, I have a friend who says they freeze well. They never stick around at our house long enough to freeze any!

  23. My sister send me this link after I inquired with her about a portzelky recipe.I am in Guatemala at a children's hospital ,there isnt another Mennonite to be found but the portzelky I made are disappearing anyway.Wheat flour is not commonly used here but I found some.When I ran out and the batch was pretty small,I added some soya flour.,,Oh well,,whos to say there not the orriginals?and they are more neutricious.

  24. This recipe reminds me of my Mom. Every year she would make these New Years Cookies by the Safeway bags full in time for Christmas and would last through to New Years. All five of us kids would take lots home. Even our Spouses and kids loved them. Oh how I miss them. I've never made them myself but now I have Grandchildren. I think I better get in gear and start learning how to make them now that Mom is gone. Miss you Mom.

  25. My mennonite grandmother left behind a recipe, essentially this one. It is the only piece of paper I have with her handwriting on it. She homesteaded in Chillawack, Canada. I think her maiden name was Friesen, married name Stubbs. I'm thinking others who have this recipe might be related?