While the menorah sheds its festive light, the family gathers at the table, noshing on traditional foods like sufganyot. You know sufganyot. Those brown disks of tender dough with hearts of jam and coats of powdered sugar that lingers on the lips. Doughnuts without holes.
Israelis named them sufganyot after the verb lisfog – to absorb or soak up. Because sufganyot are deep-fried and absorb lots and lots of oil. In fact, you don’t have to invest in a menorah to light Hannukah candles – just insert wicks into stale sufganyot and presto – impromptu candles with built-in oil reserves. (Just a joke, folks.)
But there’s a healthy option to deep-frying the famous Hannukah donuts. Bake them. The lovely vegetarian 101 Cookbooks blog by Heidi Swanson gives a recipe for baked doughnuts that works very well for sufganyot. Just don’t make the doughnut hole.
Heidi Swanson’s Baked Doughnuts (Sufganyot)
1 1/3 cups warm milk (divided)
1 packet active dry yeast (2- 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch or two of nutmeg
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes or so. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt – just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed.
If your dough is sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. If too dry, add more milk a bit at a time. The dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.
Transfer the dough to a buttered (or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place and let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. Stamp out circles with a 2-3 inch cookie cutter, or use the mouth of a large glass. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.
Bake at 375° F – 180° C until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes – start checking at 8 minutes. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and roll it in the sugar bowl. Eat immediately.
Gotta have fried all the same? Try our traditional Hannukah recipes. It’s only once a year….
Photo and recipe from 101 Cookbooks.