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Polco News & Knowledge

New Year’s Cookies: Portzelky

- Recipe from Morgan Adams -

As the New Year’s ball prepares to drop, NRC Survey Specialist Morgan Adams prepares a batch of New Year’s Cookies.

“It begins the night before because you have to let it rise,” she explains the process of making them.  “It can be a little time consuming … but you just have to put a little love into it.  Then you get up early the next morning so you can fry each individual one, and let them cool so you can roll them in sugar.”

Originally called Portzelky, New Year’s Cookies are an age-old German Mennonite recipe.  “It goes back to the old country,” Morgan says.  Her family has been making the dessert for New Year’s Day since before she was born.

She adds that Portzelky makes a fun New Year’s tradition because making it is engaging for the family.  “I think it would be a really fun activity to do with kids; you can fry them and the kids can roll them and put them out.  I used to do that with my mother and grandmother.”  She laughs as she shares her childhood memory of rolling the treats in sugar while sneaking a few little bites.

Despite the common name “New Year’s Cookies”, Portzelky aren’t really cookies at all.  They look and taste much more like doughnuts.  Depending on the batch, they tend to be light inside and raisin sweet.  After staying up late on Dec. 31, these treats make a sweet addition to the New Year’s Day breakfast table.

New Year’s Cookies/Portzelky Recipe


2 pkgs. yeast

1/4 c. warm water

3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 c. warm milk

1 t. salt

1 t. baking powder

1/2 c. sugar

4 1/2-5 c. flour

2 c. raisins

cooking oil



1.  Soak raisins in warm water until they soften.

2.  Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Let it set at least 5 minutes.

3.  Beat eggs; add milk and mix.  Stir in yeast.

4.  Mix together salt, baking powder, sugar and flour.  Add to the yeast mixture. 

5.  Beat well with a wooden spoon.  Fold in raisins. 

6.  Let rise in a warm place until the batter doubles in size.

7.  Heat cooking oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees.  Dip the batter by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil.  Brown and turn. 

8.  Remove the cooked Portzelky from the fryer and place them onto a cooling rack or paper towels. 

9.  Once they are cool enough to touch, dredge them in sugar.

10.  Enjoy!

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National Research Center, Inc. ( NRC ) is a leading research and evaluation firm focusing on the information requirements of the public sector, including non-profit agencies, health care providers, foundations and local governments.  Visit our home on the Web at www.n-r-c.com.  Check out our blog for more news, tips and human-interest stories from NRC.

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