Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Portzelky ~ New Years Cookies

This is a recipe repost from several years ago but I think it is worth a reminder today that tomorrow is the day to heat up a pot of oil, make a batch of raisin fritter batter and call your friends and family over to celebrate a new beginning to the new year.
Every year we open up our shop to our extended family.  I use a camp stove to heat the oil and ask everyone else to bring something savory to share for a late afternoon meal after the little ones have napped.

Here is Anneliese's recipe.  Pick one and begin a wonderful tradition in your home.

  •  2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted cooled butter
  • 2 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 cups raisins  (or you can eliminate the raisins all together as some prefer them plain)
  • 7 cups flour
  • additional sugar for dipping or rolling while still warm
  1. Sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over the warm water in a large bowl.
  2. Let the yeast mixture sit until it becomes foamy.
  3. Add the sugar, beaten eggs, melted cooled butter, warm milk and salt and stir together really well.
  4. Add the raisins and 4 cups of flour and beat hard with a wooden spoon.
  5. Stir in the remainder of the flour and cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to double for about an hour.
  6. Heat the oil to 375 and using two tablespoons drop spoons of batter into the oil.  When cooked on one side, they will naturally turn over.  Test the first few with a toothpick to be sure they are cooked in the center.  If they are not quite cooked in the middle, try making them slightly smaller. Do not overcrowd your pot.  (see photo)
  7. Once evenly browned, remove them using a slotted spoon to paper towel.
  8. You can roll them immediately in sugar or allow everyone to have their own technique for dipping into sugar while eating them.  If you want to freeze the leftovers, roll them in sugar first.
This has been a wonderful year for the Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity this blog has allowed us.  Without all of you who support us, we wouldn't have a reason to post our recipes here or have a book that we can use to fundraise for feeding hungry children.  We are so blessed by your friendship and we pray that we will continue to be a blessing to you through sharing what God has given us in our faith and heritage.

From all of us at MGCC . ..may you have blessed new year!


  1. Oh. Now I don't need an oven for that recipe. Sounds delicious.

    And a wonderful and Happy New Year to all the Mennonite Girls Can Cook team!

  2. Thank you for another great year of recipes. Happy New Year to everyone involved with MGCC.

  3. Happy New Year to MGCC ladies. Got the book for Christmas. Love it. Plan to make new years cookies today.

  4. mmmmm I'm craving these now! Mom? are you reading this?? :)

  5. I was coming to your site this morning for EXACTLY this recipe!!!! LOL Thanks for the timely post-- saved me time.... my elderly mom has been in hospital for months and I know she will love having me pop in with these tomorrow!!!!

  6. I gave all of my daughters your book for Christmas along with aprons "made by Mom". Thank you for publishing such a beautiful book that allows them to recreate their Grandma's recipes for many years to come.
    Portzelky are rising as I type... yum!

  7. I love holiday traditions and this looks like an excellent one. Thank you.

  8. shirley reimer bertheletteDecember 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Gee!!Mom, made these for us kids, when we were small, I can smell them right Now!!!! .
    LADIES OF MGCC!!! have a happy new year

  9. I've been making NY cookies for many years. Got your c/book for Christmas, and notice the recipe in there is like I've always made it. My oil is heating up right now, and soon we can sample them!

  10. I am Dutch, and we call these Oliebollen. I just made them today! enjoy yours, and have a happy new year!!

  11. New Year's day and I couldn't find my portzelky recipe anywhere! I live in China and couldn't call my mom (it's the middle of the night for her) I didn't want this to be the first year and no new year's cookies. This recipe looks just like the one I normally use. My family and I thank you! -Elisa

  12. I use the recipe of my grandma Sawatzky. It's delicious.
    Happy new year!

    Etj sach dem Schornsteen roke,
    Etj wisst uck, waut jie moke,
    Scheene Niejoahskoke.
    Jew jie mie eene, bliew etj stohne,
    Jew jie mie twee, fang etj aun to gohne,
    Jew jie mie dree onn veea tojlitj,
    Wensch etj junt daut Himmelsritj.

    1. I tried to make my "Englisch" Friends say that poem, before they got one...too funny!

    2. I tried to make my "Englisch" Friends say that poem, before they got one...too funny!

  13. This is the best website! I just happened to come across it and now I've got some great sounding recipes to try. Happy 2012!

  14. My mother and grandmother and aunt all made something so similar to this - zeppoli! At midnight they would start frying them up!! Happy New Year to all of you girls - a group of really great cooks. xo

  15. Well, I did the portzelky test. I made one non-raisin batch with Anneliese's recipe and half batch with raisins of your recipe. They both tasted the same, both were great! But I will say that Lovella's dough was easier to mix (the egg whites were difficult to fold in on the other one) and Lovella's recipe was easier to spoon out of the bowl (the other recipe was "stretchier"). All had rave reviews! Happy New year!

  16. I have been looking for that recipe since Penner Foods closed ( they had something similar) Do you used dry or fresh yeast?

  17. Yep, growing up in a Mennonite community in Belize, we had these pretty much every new year as well. Now not every year since we try not to have too much deep fried stuff. Yummy!!

  18. I am amazed at how everyone uses yeast for this recipe. I packed my mennonite cookbook and was surfing to find a recipe. I had a recipe that was absolutely simple and easy and took all of 5 min. It was made only with baking powder. When I unpack in 3-6 months I will send it too you. They look the same. They are light and taste so good. Love your blog by the way. Glad I was surfing since I ran into your site. Thanks.

  19. My mother would always make these at new years. As a teenager I would go to Saskatchewan for young peoples meetings with our church, it was a 10 hour drive. We would arrive home at around 2am sitting on the counter would always be these! Thanks for the memory!
    Now I want them....and that's not a good idea in the middle of a heat wave, lol.

    Ps my maiden name was Klassen and I'm the youngest of ten children
    May jane

  20. This recipe is almost like my mom's. We shake them in icing sugar. Wish i could pin this recipe. Happy new years:)

    1. Hi Diane, You can pin it. As soon as your cursor runs over the photo the pin button will come up. Enjoy!

    2. Hey Diane ,was looking for this recipe to make tomorrow
      Happy New Year to you!!


  21. Absolutely a long time tradition for as long as I can remember. Now my children are also picking up on this delicious tradition. Thanks for posting this recipe for all the world to see.

  22. I'm trying a gluten-free version of this recipe with almond milk in place of cow's milk - they're rising at the moment. Will see how they turn out. ~first time portzelky maker