Chanukah Doughnuts!

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My family celebrated Chanukah with potato latkes.  And only potato latkes.  I did not find out that doughnuts (Sufganiyot) were even a thing at Chanukah until I was well into adulthood.  And only because of the internet.  How could my family have missed this amazing tradition?!  Each year my sister and brother and I were each allowed to invite 2 friends over for whatever night fell on a weekend for our annual Chanukah celebration.  My mom would make delicious latkes and we would dip them in apple sauce or sour cream.  Now I add chopped chives.  Then we would light candles and play the dreidel game and teach our friends about the story of Chanukah.  The Maccabees, the oil that burned for 8 days, etc…you get the picture.  And the idea is that you eat foods that have been fried in oil to honor the idea of the oil lasting the 8 days.  Of course, this all just one family’s interpretation, just to be clear.  So, in honor of new traditions, and the fact that I will take any excuse to make doughnuts, I’m making doughnuts!  And starting a new family tradition.

I started with a pate a choux dough so it would be more like a fritter. But, I’m a huge fan of Mark Bittman and when I need a basic clear recipe, I usually start with him.  His yeast doughnuts are perfect and simple and I liked the way the yeasted doughnuts came our so fluffy. If you have the time, do the yeasted doughnuts, it’s worth the effort. While the doughnuts are rising you can prepare various small bowls of dipping sauces to dip the hot doughnuts into.  I like fruity jam, caramel sauce, and chocolate sauce.  Of course, we like to make these from scratch, try our High West Whiskey caramel sauce or make a big batch of chocolate sauce to add to your doughnuts tonight and ice cream tomorrow night. Simple powdered sugar or a homemade jam also make nice additions. here is the original recipe

Sufganiyot (doughnuts)

  • 1¼cups milk
  • 2¼teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast
  • 2eggs
  • 8tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • ¼cup granulated sugar
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 4¼cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 2quarts neutral oil, for frying, plus more for the bowl.
  1. Heat the milk until it is warm but not hot, about 90 degrees. In a large bowl, combine it with the yeast. Stir lightly, and let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, beat the eggs, butter, sugar and salt into the yeast mixture. Add half of the flour (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons), and mix until combined, then mix in the rest of the flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour, about 2 tablespoons at a time, if the dough is too wet. Grease a large bowl with a little oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, and cover. Let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and roll it to ½-inch thickness. You can make 1″ rounds OR cut the dough into squares like you are making a grid. about 1″x1″. Don’t get to caught up in uniform squares. You are making fried dough, it doesn’t need to be perfect! This will also make it so you don’t have any scraps.
  4. Spread the doughnuts on two floured baking sheets so that there is plenty of room between each one. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place until they are slightly puffed up and delicate, about 45 minutes. If your kitchen isn’t warm, put them in your oven with the oven light on.
  5. About 15 minutes before the doughnuts are done rising, put the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and heat it to 375. I like to use an enameled cast iron that is wide and slightly shallow.
  6. Carefully add the doughnuts to the oil, a few at a time. If they’re too delicate to pick up with your fingers (they may be this way only if you rose them in the oven), use a slotted metal spatula like my favorite New West Knife Works slotted spatula, to pick them up and slide them into the oil. It’s O.K. if they deflate a bit; they’ll puff back up as they fry. When the bottoms are deep golden, use a slotted spatula to flip; cook until they’re deep golden all over. Doughnut holes cook faster. Transfer the doughnuts to the prepared plates or racks, and repeat with the rest of the dough, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the oil at 375. Serve immediately with your favorite sauces!