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Ask A Baltimore Chef: 5 Traditional Chanukah Recipes

Chanukah is a special eight-day festival set aside by the Jewish community to celebrate victory by the Maccabees during a revolution over the Syrians. This is a time during which candles in the menorah are lit as the celebrations of light over darkness and spirituality over materialism are observed. As with any celebration, there is always good food. Listed are recipes from two of Baltimore's expert chefs that will more than likely be used during this special time.

Chef Scott Ryan
Baltimore Chef Shop
807 W. 36th St.
Baltimore, MD 21211
(443) 759-4291

The Baltimore Chef Shop has been in existence for one year. Hands on classes are offered to teach the basic techniques used by master chefs. Classes are taught by Chef Ryan, who has been in the business for 10 years. The Baltimore Chef Shop opened at its new location in November 2015 and offers classes taught by professional local chefs and beyond. Chef Ryan shares these traditional recipes.



  • 1 lb. potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 egg, as a binder
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 well-seasoned or cast iron pan


  1. Grate potatoes.
  2. Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  3. Mix with hands. Sauté potatoes in oil.
  4. Enjoy as is or serve with applesauce. Yields approximately one dozen.  (Variations: Use parsnip or sweet potato, instead of regular potatoes)

Challah Bread
(Takes approximately 3 hours to prepare)


  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 cup of warm water


  1. Combine water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over top of mixture and gently stir.
  2. Let that rest until it gets foamy.
  3. Add flour in large bowl.
  4. Beat all egg yolks and whole egg, butter, salt in a separate bowl. Once well-combined, will have an even color of pale yellow.
  5. Add to the the flour and make into a dough. Dough should be soft, but not sticky.
  6. Dump onto table and knead until it is evenly soft with no lumps. When it becomes tough to knead, place in oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a damp towel.
  7. Leave in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. After a half-hour, check the dough. Once the dough has doubled, push down on dough to deflate.
  8. Roll into a long rope. Cut into 6 12-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-inch long rope. Braid the rope left over right, right over left. then tuck ends under.
  9. Cover with a towel again and allow to rise for 1 hour. Appearance should be puffy.
  10. Beat an egg yolk and add 1 tsp of water. Brush the tops of the loaves in every visible space with the mixture.
  11. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, but bake the loaves at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.The loaves will have a hollow sound once done.Yields two loaves.
Traditional Brisket


  • 1 beef brisket (about 5 lbs.)
  • 4 cloves of garlic smashed
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Mire poix is made of 1/2 lb. of onion, 25% celery, 25% carrot


  1. Coat the bottom of a dutch oven with canola oil.
  2. Salt and pepper the brisket.
  3. Sear the brisket first in the oiled pan until it is well browned on all sides.
  4. Remove the brisket to the side.
  5. Add more oil if necessary. Cook mire poix until brown.
  6. Return the meat to the pot on top of the mire poix.
  7. Cook in stock, either beef stock or water. Fill the pot with stock until the liquid is halfway up the meat.
  8. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer.
  9. Cover and let it cook on low heat for two hours. Check tenderness by sticking a fork into the meat.
  10. Strain the vegetables from the liquid and reserve the liquid. Put the liquid in a pot and reduce it by half to create sauce.Yields approximately 3 lbs. of meat.

Related: The Best Potato Latkes Recipe Ever

Chef Duff Goldman
Charm City Cakes
2936 Remington Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21211
(410) 235-9229

Charm City Cakes was founded by Chef Duff Goldman in 2002. According to him, cakes were stuck in the 80s, and he felt he could give Baltimore nicer cakes. Goldman, through Charm City Cakes, serves traditional and non-traditional cakes, just as long as they are beautiful. Goldman has been baking since 1995 and can be seen on television on various cooking shows, especially on The Food Network.

Potato Pancakes (Latkes)
Yield 4 to 6 servings


  • 5 large russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil, for frying


  1. Grate potatoes and onion into a bowl or pulse in food processor.
  2. Drain any excess liquid, then add the eggs, matzo meal, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon the mixture into hot oil forming small pancakes.
  4. Cook until underside is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Flip pancakes and cook until other side is golden and potatoes are cooked through, about 2 minutes more.
  6. Serve hot with sour cream or applesauce.


Black And White Cookies


  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable cooking spray (not flavored)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Slowly add and combine the yeast mixture and the extracts.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, all-purpose flour and salt, and gradually add them to your mixture.
  5. Prepare a cookie sheet with pan spray and drop spoonfuls of dough 3 to 4 inches apart.
  6. Bake until the edges begin to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Let cool to room temperature before decorating.


  1. Place chocolate into two separate bowls, one for dark and one for white.
  2. Slowly boil the cream in two separate pots.
  3. Pour one pot cream over the dark and one pot over the white and let chocolate melt.
  4. Whisk each until smooth.
  5. Decorate each cookie and have fun.

Related: Best Ways To Celebrate Hanukkah In Baltimore

Vickie Lawson is a freelance writer whose work can be found on

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