Kid-friendly Sweet Potato Mini Latkes + Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Sweet Potato Mini Latkes + Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce

Recipe: Sweet Potato Mini Latkes + Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce

Sweet Potato Mini Latkes + Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce

by Erin Fletter
Photo by vm2002/
prep time
30 minutes
cook time
26 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Sweet Potato Mini Latkes + Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce

We love you a Latke! We're celebrating the holidays with a Hanukkah dish made with delicious and nutritious sweet potato. Latkes or potato pancakes are a traditional Hanukkah dish. We're making them with sweet potatoes and topping them with Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce and sour cream. Shalom!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • grate :

    to reduce food, like a carrot, to very small shreds or pieces of the same size by rubbing it on a tool with an outside surface that has holes with cutting edges (a grater).

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • mash :

    to reduce food, like potatoes or bananas, to a soft, pulpy state by beating or pressure.

  • pan-fry :

    to fry in a pan in a small amount of fat.

  • peel :

    to remove the skin or rind from something using your hands or a metal tool.

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

Equipment Checklist

  • Large sauté or frying pan
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Grater
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Potato masher (or immersion blender)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Clean dish towel (or paper towels)
  • Heat-resistant spatula or pancake turner
  • Paper towels


Sweet Potato Mini Latkes + Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce

  • Sauce:
  • 2 persimmons (or plums or pears)
  • 5 apples
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp nutmeg + 1 tsp allspice + 1/2 tsp cloves)
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 T of honey, agave, maple syrup or 1 big pinch of stevia
  • Latkes:
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 T all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free flour)**
  • 2 large eggs, beaten **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 extra tsp flour/gf flour + 1 tsp baking powder)**
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • sour cream, for serving **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY or sub dairy-free/nut-free sour cream)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Sweet Potato Mini Latkes + Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce

  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. Substitute gluten-free/nut-free flour. 
  • Eggs: For 2 large eggs, substitute 1 extra tsp flour/gf flour + 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free high-smoking point oil for vegetable oil, which usually contains soy.
  • Dairy: Omit sour cream or substitute dairy-free/nut-free sour cream


Sweet Potato Mini Latkes + Kid-Made Apple-Persimmon Sauce


"Shalom," which can mean "Peace," "Hello," and "Goodbye" in Hebrew. Latkes or potato pancakes are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah, a Jewish festival celebrated for eight days in December.

wash + chop + grate

Let’s start with the Apple Persimmon Sauce! Have your children wash 5 fresh apples and 2 fresh persimmons. There's no need to peel the fruit (extra nutrition and fiber is in the skin of the fruit!). Have kids core and roughly chop or grate the fruit. Add to a medium mixing bowl. Grate the ginger and add 1/2 teaspoon ginger to the fruit.

measure + add

Measure 3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon cloves) and add to the fruit. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons honey. Stir to combine.


Carefully pour the fruit mixture into a large sauté pan and simmer until the fruit is soft, just starting to break down and the spices are fragrant, about 10 to 20 minutes.

cool + mash

Cool slightly, place in a medium mixing bowl, and then have kids mash with a potato masher or use an immersion blender to blend the sauce. Set aside and wipe out your pan.

peel + grate + chop

Potato pancake time! Peel 1 pound of sweet potatoes. Coarsely grate the sweet potatoes and chop 2 green onions, including the green parts (the leaves).


Place the potatoes and onions in a clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess moisture over a large mixing bowl. Discard the liquid and place the potatoes and onions in the bowl.

crack + add + mix

Crack 2 eggs into the bowl, then add the chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons flour, and big pinches of salt and black pepper. Mix together. Add the grated sweet potatoes and stir well.

grease + fry

Heat your sauté pan and coat with a good amount of vegetable oil. Have kids take about 1 tablespoon of the potato mixture in the palm of their hands and flatten as best they can. Adults place the potato mixture in the pan, flatten with a large spatula, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Flip the pancake over and brown the other side. Let it rest on paper towels to drain excess oil.

sprinkle + serve

Sprinkle the mini latkes with salt if you wish. Serve with sour cream and the Apple Persimmon Sauce. "Taim" (ta-EEM) or "Tasty" in Hebrew!

Surprise Ingredient: Sweet Potato!

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Photo by yamasan0708/

Hi!  I’m Sweet Potato!

"Sweet potatoes are root vegetables, like beets and carrots! We're very popular in the Fall, especially for holiday dinners, where you might find us baked whole or sliced and diced as part of a side dish. We also pair well with fruit and other vegetables in salads and casseroles."


  • The sweet potato originated in Central or South America, and people began cultivating them in Central America at least 5,000 years ago. 
  • Sweet potatoes have been grown in Peru for almost 3,000 years and remain one of the major crops for people in Peru.
  • When Columbus arrived in the New World, Native Americans were already growing and utilizing sweet potatoes. Columbus brought sweet potatoes back to Europe, and other explorers brought them from the New World to Asia.
  • Sweet potatoes were cultivated widely in Colonial America and were a significant form of sustenance for farmers and soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
  • As far as records show, orange sweet potatoes originally came from Puerto Rico and were named "yams" by Louisiana farmers to differentiate them from the white-fleshed variety grown in other parts of the country. Indeed, the sweet potato is officially the state vegetable of Louisiana! It's also North Carolina's official state vegetable.
  • George Washington grew sweet potatoes on his estate at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
  • North American supermarkets import much of their sweet potatoes from the Caribbean.
  • February is National Sweet Potato month!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Sweet potatoes are edible roots, not tubers like potatoes. Actually, sweet potatoes aren't related to potatoes but are part of the Morning Glory family. Plants from this family produce beautiful flowers whose seeds were revered for their laxative properties by the Chinese.
  • The flesh of sweet potatoes can be white, yellow, orange, or even purple! 
  • Enslaved African-Аmericans called the sweet potato "nyami" because it reminded them of the starchy, edible tuber from their homeland. "Nyami" is a Senegalese word that was eventually shortened to "yam." Sweet potatoes are often confused with yams, and this is why!

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Sweet potatoes are eaten by people worldwide as they are a hearty crop that packs a lot of nutrition.
  • It's best to store sweet potatoes in cool, dark, and dry places. They won't last as long in the fridge. 
  • Small, firm sweet potatoes tend to be sweeter and creamier. Large sweet potatoes contain more starch, as they've had more time to grow and develop the starches. Look for smooth, firm, even skin.
  • Sweet potatoes should be cooked, not eaten raw. You can use them in many savory and sweet recipes.
  • Sweet potatoes make an excellent side dish—you can bake, mash, or boil them—and their nutritional benefits are increased when combined with healthy fats, like avocado, butter, or olive oil!
  • If they had their say, sweet potatoes might like to be known as everyday veggies rather than just for special occasions. For example, we in the United States eat more sweet potatoes around Thanksgiving than at any other time. But sweet potatoes are available year-round and should be enjoyed more often because of their benefits!


  • Sweet potatoes are very nutritious! Their color can tell us which nutrients they contain (like many vegetables and fruits!). 
  • If a sweet potato is orange, it contains beta-carotene (other orange foods that contain this nutrient include carrots, shrimp, and oranges). Can you hear the name of a familiar vegetable in the word "beta-carotene?" Carrot! We know that beta-carotene is good for our eyes and skin. Have you ever been asked to eat your carrots because they are good for your eyes? Beta-carotene is why! 
  • Sweet potatoes also have vitamin K, which helps our blood clot. When we get a cut, our blood clots to stop the bleeding, and vitamin K helps with this!
  • We often talk about fiber when we reveal our Surprise Ingredients because vegetables and fruits contain a lot of fiber. Sweet potatoes are no exception. So what does fiber help with? Digestion! And which body parts are responsible for digestion? Many, but namely our stomach and intestines.

History of Latkes (Potato Pancakes)!

Photo by Julie Vader/
  • Latkes or potato pancakes are commonly associated with the Jewish cuisine of Eastern Europe. They may go back to sometime in the Middle Ages (476-1453 CE). Cheese latkes were primarily eaten until potatoes arrived in Eastern Europe in the 1800s, and then potato latkes became more widespread. 
  • Latkes are primarily made with grated or puréed potatoes, onion, egg, flour or matzo meal, and kosher salt and fried in oil. They can also be made with sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, cheese, or legumes. Sour cream and applesauce are common toppings. 
  • Latkes are eaten during Hanukkah as part of the tradition of eating foods fried in oil during the festival. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. Candles are lit each of the festival's eight days to commemorate the miracle of one day of consecrated lamp oil lasting eight days.

Let's Learn About Hanukkah!

Photo by Drazen Zigic/
  • Hanukkah (HAHN-ooh-KAH) is a festival (the Festival of Lights) celebrated for eight days in December from the 25th day of Kislev (on the Hebrew calendar). It commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 165 or 164 BCE after Antiochus, a Syrian king, had defiled it. The Maccabees, led by warrior Judah, revolted against Antiochus and reclaimed the temple.
  • Hanukkah or Chanukah is a transliteration of a Hebrew word and translates to "dedication" in English. 
  • While restoring the Temple, the Maccabees found only enough oil to kindle its lamps for one night. According to tradition, that small amount of oil miraculously burned for eight nights until more could be procured. That's why Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration.
  • Each of the eight nights, one candle on a nine-branch "menorah" is lit until the end of Hanukkah, when all eight are burning. The ninth branch, above or below the others, is the "shamash" or "helper" flame, used to light the others. Traditionally, oil is supposed to be used for lighting these flames. These days, candles are usually used instead.
  • The candles are lit, starting from the right. The newest candle is lit first. Jewish families say a series of blessings as they light the candles and sing songs like "Ma'oz Tzur" (Strong Rock), "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel," and "Oh Chanukah." 
  • On Hanukkah, it's traditional to eat lots of "sufganiyot." Because of the crucial role that oil plays in the holiday, fried foods are a major food group during these eight nights, hence the beloved jelly donut. Latkes, or potato pancakes, are also very popular.
  • Hanukkah is not really about presents. Purim (which commemorates the story of Esther in early Spring) is Judaism's gift-giving holiday. However, Hanukkah's proximity to Christmas led many Jewish people in the Western world to start exchanging gifts around the same time as their Christian friends and neighbors. In some families, one present is given each of the eight days.
  • Playing dreidel (DRAY-del) involves more than just spinning tops. The game of dreidel is actually a means to an end—winning "gelt," coins that are either chocolate or (if you're lucky!) real money. It's one of the more authentic things you can do at your Hanukkah party since the game's been played for centuries.
  • Each side of a dreidel has a Hebrew letter: nun, gimmel, hay, and shin. The four letters are an abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase "Nes gadol haya sham." That means, "A great miracle happened there," referencing the miracle of the oil in the temple.

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the apple cry? 

Its peelings were hurt!

That's Berry Funny

What do you say to an angry sweet potato? 

Anything, just butter him up first.

The Yolk's On You

What kind of apple has a short temper? 

A crab apple!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call a baby sweet potato? 

A small fry!

Lettuce Joke Around

"Knock, knock!"

"Who's there?" 


"Honey who?" 

"Honey-kah is almost here!"

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