Coal Region Classics for Your Holiday Celebrations (including Boilo and Clear Toy Candy!)

These nine classic foods and treats are found throughout the Coal Region during the Christmas season. Generations of us have enjoyed these comfort foods from our Moms' and Grandmas' kitchens. These recipes give you an opportunity to continue on with these beloved holiday favorites for your family. So bake up some cookies, brew up some boilo, and celebrate!

I hope you enjoy them, too!

May you and family and friends have a safe and blessed holiday!

One Rise Nut Rolls

Nut rolls are popular throughout Eastern Europe. Nut rolls are an essential part of Christmas celebrations across Pennsylvania (and other "Rust Belt" areas), especially areas where they were introduced by Central and Eastern European immigrants and widely adopted by other ethnic groups in the region. Nut rolls are known under different names in different areas: Kolachi, potica, gubana, strucla, orechovnik, …

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One Rise Nut Rolls

5 Ingredient Kolacky Cookies

These tender, flaky kolacky cookies are my weakness. They go by a few names depending on where someone is from (kolaczki, kolachy, kolacky) and can be found throughout Eastern Europe. There is debate about whether they are originally Czech or Polish. Among cuisines, you will find some variation including a yeast dough version topped with fruit filling. Kolacky are my total …

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kolacky cookies

Coal Region Boilo

Boilo is an alcoholic beverage consisting of a blend of fruits, sweeteners, spices, and whiskey. It is traditionally served during the winter holiday season and it is most definitely a Schuylkill County / Coal Region thing. Every boilo maker has their recipe and every boilo maker is positive theirs is the best! The recipe basics are pretty much the same, …

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coal region boilo

Polish Chrusciki

Polish Chrusciki (pronunciation: hrrooss-CHEE-kee), or "angel wings", are a sweet crisp pastry made out of dough that has been shaped into thin twisted ribbons or "bow-tie" shape, deep-fried (traditionally in lard) and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are also known by the names faworki and chrusty. In Polish, chrusciki is derived from the word “chrust” which means "dry branches broken off a tree or brushwood”. …

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chrusciki or faworki

Coal Region Bleenies

Bleenies (not blinis...BLEENIES!!) Potato pancakes (a.k.a. latkes or whatever you know them as...) in the Schuylkill County area of the Coal Region are known as bleenies and waiting lines for them at church picnics and block parties are legendary. Every cook has "their" way to make them, but the basic steps pretty much follow the same pattern. Here is a …

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Flitch - Potato Candy

Popular at bake sales, school fundraising events, and across the Coal Region in general, this old-fashioned jelly-roll type potato based candy is known in the Anthracite region as “Flitch” although many "flitch" recipes do not use the potato -- so technically this is officially "POTATO CANDY". (The recipe goes back generations in many regions, but is well connected to the …

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flitch - potato peanut butter candy

Pennsylvania Dutch Hog Maw

Hog Maw = Stuffed Pig's Stomach. Now, before you run the other way, think about eating sausage stuffed in "natural" casing. You do realize "natural casing" is cleaned animal intestines, right? The stomach, if cleaned well, contains no fat. It is just muscle and a thin layer of meat. Think of it being something like a sausage casing with some …

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hog maw

Slow-cooker Pennsylvania Dutch Pork and Sauerkraut

My husband was born and raised right outside Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in New England. He had heard of pork and sauerkraut but was not all that familiar with the dish. I made it my mission to introduce him to many of the traditional Coal Region foods of my heritage; obviously, pork and sauerkraut was on the menu for …

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Slow-cooker Pennsylvania Dutch Pork and Sauerkraut

Clear Toy Candy

For Pennsylvania Dutch children during the 1800's, Christmas morning meant rushing downstairs to see if ChristKindl - known today as Santa Claus - had left them any goodies. On Christmas Eve, children of Pennsylvania Dutch families would leave a plate on the table hoping that it would be filled with nuts, an apple or an orange, and clear toy candy. …

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clear toy candy

Have a merry Coal Region Christmas! Visit my shop filled with collectible ethnic cookbooks and Coal Region merchandise just right for gift giving. Shop safely and conveniently on-line 24/7.

PA and Pierogi Necklace

The Coalcracker Collection
PA & Pierogi Necklace

Give a shout out to PA and Pierogi -- two loves that go hand-in-hand!
Necklace is 18 inch long silver-tone and includes a separate 2 inch extender with lobster claw clasps
Features silver-tone pierogi charm, silver-tone PA state charm, and silver-tone heart charm with a black insert reminiscent of the coal Pennsylvania is so well-known for.
Packaged in an organza bag, ready for gift-giving or to treat yourself..


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PA and pierogi necklace