Five Of the Best: Hanukkah Donut Recipes
We know the old joke that every Jewish festival can be retold as “They tried to kill us; they failed; let’s eat”. Chanukah is no exception. Hanukkah donuts are a long-standing beloved treat, so here are five of our favorite donut recipes.
At Hanukkah time, Jews traditionally eat foods that are fried in oil, to remind us of the Chanukah miracle when the oil burned for eight days. Fried doughnuts – or sufganiyot as they’re called in Hebrew – are one of the most delicious treats of all. Traditional doughnuts were filled with jelly and fried in hot oil, but now donuts come filled with chocolate, dulce de leche, cream and even peanut butter, while cake-y baked donuts can be decorated with multi colored sugar, sticky glazes of every shade and flavor, and drizzled with melted chocolate. What Jewish senior could say no to that?
Decorating baked donuts is a great activity for Jewish baby boomers to plan for when grandchildren come to visit, and although making fried donuts is strictly an adults-only task, kids will love trying to inject jelly into the cooled doughnuts and rolling them in sugar. Just remember to be careful of the hot oil when small children are around; and make sure to look out for elderly Jewish seniors too. It can be hard to admit that our elderly parents may no longer be able to fry doughnuts safely. Invest in a safe, cool-wall deep-fat fryer, and offer to be the one who does the frying tonight.
We’ve gathered five of our best doughnut recipes, including an easy baked doughnut recipe, and two recipes for quick donut muffins that can be on the table within half an hour. You’ll also find a quick yeast-free fried donut recipe, and a traditional sufganiyot recipe with yeast for delicious, sticky, soft Hanukkah donuts. Try our tried-and-tested doughnut recipes to share the fun of decorating – and eating – home-made Chanukah donuts.
Chanukah donuts are so delicious, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who dislikes the smell and the mess that goes along with frying them. Here are some easy baked doughnut recipes (also called donut muffins, or “duffin”) so that Jewish baby boomers can enjoy that home-made doughnut experience without all the mess.
Mini Baked Doughnuts
These baked donuts have more in common with Entenmann’s than with the heimishe deep-fried version. Jewish seniors who prefer their doughnuts soft, cakey and colorful should try this recipe. My family agreed that these donut muffins do not taste the same as deep-fried donuts, but they are really yummy. After all, if it comes crusted with colored icing and sprinkles, no one is going to complain!
This easy baked donut recipe comes from a very successful Chabad lady who makes about 400 of them every year! It makes a runny batter, so if you want them to be the traditional doughnut shape then use a silicon doughnut tray. A friend of mine made them successfully in regular muffin tins, and then used bottle tops to cut out the centers.
Makes: 40-50 mini doughnuts. Time: 30 minutes
225 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
175 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence (or use 175g of vanilla sugar instead of the sugar and vanilla essence)
175ml soya milk (or real milk if you don’t mind making them dairy)
1 tbsp olive oil.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add the sugar and mix well.
In a measuring cup, measure 175 ml soya milk. Add 2 eggs and 1tbsp olive oil (and vanilla essence if using) to the milk, and mix together.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Grease a mini doughnut pan and fill the rings.
Bake at 160°C for 8-10 mins.
Once they are cool, decorate with a simple glaze and sprinkles, colored sugar, or melted chocolate.
Nigella’s Jelly Doughnut Muffins (Duffins)
This quick recipe for baked jelly doughnut muffins, or ‘duffins’, comes from Nigella Lawson’s book ‘How To be A Domestic Goddess’. It makes deliciously sticky baked doughnuts which taste more like the old-style fried doughnut, but are healthier for Jewish baby boomers who need to watch their cholesterol intake. Rolling the finished doughnuts in melted butter or margarine before dredging in sugar makes a real difference to the taste, giving it a fried-in-hot-oil flavor and helping the sugar to stick, although this step can be skipped for health-conscious Jewish seniors. I’m sure that these doughnut muffins are still healthier than fried ones. Or so I try to convince myself.
85ml corn or other veg oil
1 large egg
½ tsp of vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
12 tsps strawberry jelly
100g unsalted butter or margarine
150g granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5), and oil a muffin tin.
Measure the flour and sugar into a bowl.
Beat together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, and very, very gently fold the mixture into the flour and caster sugar. Nigella says you don’t need to worry about lumps: “If you overbeat, the muffins will be tough”. Mix gently until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
Put a spoonful of mixture into each cup, then a teaspoonful of strawberry jelly, and then another spoonful of mix.
Put into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes until gloriously risen.
Meanwhile, melt some butter or margarine and put the granulated sugar onto a plate.
Roll the muffins in the butter and then in the sugar. Absurd but delicious.
These baked doughnuts are made with a stiffer dough which can be rolled out like cookies and cut into doughnut shape before baking (or any shape you like. We enjoyed cutting them out with Chanukah-themed cookie cutters and baking dreidel, menorah, and candle-shaped doughnuts). They can be baked on a cookie sheet, which I found made for much easier clean-up than using a muffin tin or silicon doughnut tin.
Note that this dough does not need to be kneaded. Since it is made with yeast, you will need to leave it for about an hour to rise, so plan ahead if you want to make these ones. (Baked doughnut recipes which use baking powder are much quicker to make, but won’t have the yeast-dough flavor of traditional sufganiyot.) The dough in this recipe comes out very light and soft, making it easy to roll out. If you prefer the taste of fried doughnuts, you can use the same recipe to make batter for frying.
Makes 1½ to 2 dozen doughnuts.
2 packages dry yeast (about 35 grams of fresh, or 2 scant tablespoons)
¼ cup warm water
1½ cups milk, scalded and cooled
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup margarine
4½ cups flour
Preheat oven to 420°F.
In a large mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
Add milk, sugar, salt, spice, eggs, shortening and 2 cups flour.
Blend for 1-2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in remaining flour until smooth, scraping sides of bowl.
Cover. Let rise in warm place until double (50 to 60 minutes).
Turn dough onto well-floured cloth-covered board; roll around lightly to coat with flour. Dough will be soft to handle.
With floured rolling pin, gently roll dough about ½ inch thick. Cut with floured 2-1/2 inch doughnut cutter.
Lift doughnuts carefully with spatula and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.
Brush doughnuts with melted butter (optional).
Cover; let rise until double (about 20 minutes).
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden.
Immediately brush with melted margarine or butter and shake in cinnamon sugar, or spread with creamy glaze (recipes below).
Cinnamon Sugar: ½ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Creamy Glaze: Melt 1/3 cup butter. Blend in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1½ teaspoons vanilla essence. Stir in 4-6 tablespoons water, one at a time, until melted glaze is of proper consistency.
Fried Donuts (sufganiyot)
Baked donuts may make less mess, and don’t require you to spend time standing over a hot stove, but nothing can compare to a fresh-out-the-oil fried donut. After all, Jewish baby boomers who are going to indulge in such a calorie-loaded treat may as well go for the real thing. Here are two easy fried donut recipes; one is a quick recipe using baking powder, and the other makes an old-fashioned yeast-based dough. Choose depending on the time you have available. They’re both good.
My friend shared this quick and easy fried doughnut recipe. She works full time, and turned to this recipe when she needed to whip up a batch of doughnuts in a hurry after work. With small children who were demanding Chanukah donuts, she need a doughnut recipe that was both simple and fast to make. This recipe fit the bill on both counts.
Makes 6 medium doughnuts
2 eggs beaten
1tsp baking powder
150g plain flour
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add more flour if necessary to make a firm dough.
Knead on a floured board for a few mins until smooth.
Shape into balls or cut into doughnut shapes, and fry in hot oil until golden brown and puffed up.
They puff up quite quickly, so don’t put too many in the fryer basket at a time.
Fried Yeast Doughnuts
This fried doughnut recipe makes traditional sufganiyot. They require a bit of advance planning, since you need to make sure to leave enough time for the dough to rise before frying them. If you want to make them ahead of time, let the dough rise once, then roll into balls and freeze. When you’re ready to fry them, take them out the freezer well in advance and allow plenty of time for them to warm to room temperature before frying.
These doughnuts also work perfectly when made using spelt flour.
7g dried yeast
22g butter or margarine
Mix all the ingredients together.
Leave the dough to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Divide into 10 pieces and roll into balls. Leave to rise again until doubled in size.
In a deep pan, heat enough oil to cover the doughnuts. The oil is ready for frying when tiny bubbles form around a wooden spoon that’s thrust into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on plenty of paper towels.
When the doughnuts have cooled a little, you can inject some jelly using a medicine syringe, and/or roll them in confectioner’s sugar or cinnamon sugar.
Eat while fresh and yummy.
Note: The photos are for illustrative purposes only. We do not guarantee that your donuts will look like them.