FoodGirl and the kitchen

Russian no bake cookies – “Chocolate Potatoes”

This ladies and gentlemen is a true nostalgia from my childhood. Chocolate nostalgia. Back when I was a little girl, New Year’s Eve was not complete without “babushka’s vafel’nyi tort” and these chocolate confections. My mom was the master of these little chocolate pastries, simply named “Shokoladnaia Kartoshka” or in translation – Chocolate Potatoes.

It’s not difficult to see, why they are named chocolate potatoes. As they look like tiny little hand held potatoes. And the nuts add the special touch of tiny sprouts growing out. Only Russians would make their desserts look like the country’s time honored favorite food.

My mom made these every New Year’s and often in the summer time as well. There is no need to bake them, so they are every woman’s and impatient child’s dream.

As my mom would mix up the butter, I would frequently pull up a chair next to her and watch her knowing hands make the recipe she has made countless of times before. While she added the crushed up nuts, cookies and cocoa powder, I licked the remains of the sweetened condensed milk from the can. Condensed milk… yet another national treasure of the motherland.

My daughter and I make these together. It’s just incredible to think that now I get to make these pastries with her. It makes me realize that these pastries would taste to her as they had to me. And that one day she would remember standing on a chair next to me as I did with my mom. Isn’t that what nostalgia is really about?

A New Year’s tradition has been born in our family and hopefully I can pass it on to you.

Happy New Year’s Everyone!

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz Nilla Wafers
½ cup of pecans or walnuts, plus more for rolling
½ a cup cocoa powder, plus more for rolling
¼ cup of powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
1 stick room temperature butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. We start with Nilla Wafers in a food processor or a Vitamix. I did it in my trusty Vitamix. Just pulse, until they resemble small crumbs. If you don’t have either, do it the way my mom did: place into a plastic baggie and pound it with a rolling pin or frying pan. Great for the nerves too :).
  2. Do the same with your walnuts or pecans. Traditionally it’s walnuts, but I ran out and had to use pecans and it was still fantastic.
  3. Add in your powdered sugar and cocoa.
  4. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip a stick of room temperature butter until light and fluffy.
  5. Then add in the national Russian treasure: sweetened condensed milk. Heaven in a can!
  6. Whip, until light and fluffy and combined for about 2 minutes.
  7. Add into the cookie and cocoa mixture and fold.
  8. Set up 3 bowls. In each combine some cocoa powder, some crushed pecans or walnuts, and some cocoa powder. You can use all or some. Traditionally they were rolled in the cocoa and then some nuts were placed on top as if they were sprouts.
  9. Roll the dough in your hands into little log shapes. You want them about 3 inches long.
  10. Place into mini muffin cups or display on a platter. You will want to refrigerate these for at least one hour and up to 24 hours prior to serving.

For a step by step tutorial and more pictures go to www.girlandthekitchen.com.

Mila Furman