It’s a Hanukkah tradition to eat fried foods, you know, to remind us of the oil that lasted eight days instead of only one. Sufganiot, or jelly doughnuts, are one of the foods that you will always see at a Hanukkah party, along with latkes.
I have to admit, I don’t really eat doughnuts, especially ones filled with jelly or cream. It’s not that they aren’t delicious, they are, but only in theory. The ones you can buy at Dunkin Donuts is just not worth it, and the ones that are filled just have way too much filling to be enjoyed. They’re also too big, too sweet, and not fluffy enough. That’s why I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own doughnuts. They’re just a soft dough that’s cut into bagel-like shaped and fried, how hard can that be? And what better timing to make them than a family Hanukkah party?
No, I didn’t make the traditional Sufganiot. But they’re still fried in oil, so they’re still Hanukkah worthy.
I researched doughnut recipes and decided I wanted to make a yeast dough, one that’s fluffy on the inside and a little bit crispy on the outside (as opposed to a cake-like dough, which is a little denser). With that in mind, I immediately chose an Alton Brown recipe, because when I’ve never made something complicate before, I know his recipe and instructions will work out. Plus, his recipe uses weight measures and I love using my kitchen scale – have no fear, I converted the recipe to volume measures for you, but remember they’re just approximate.
Now this recipe isn’t super sweet. You definitely won’t miss the sugar, though. The flavor of the nutmeg really comes through, and they’re super moist and light and amazing. They’re also not so giant, you definitely can’t compare the size to a Krispy Kreme, not that that’s a bad thing – this way you can have two without feeling guilty! Want something a little sweeter? Dip them in some glaze, made by mixing 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla. This definitely balances out the flavors and gives these doughnuts the shiny texture you’re used to.
They weren’t as fluffy as I imagined, but that might be because I didn’t give them enough time to rise. really make sure they puff up during the second rise and spring back like a marshmallow.
I chose not to re-roll the doughnut holes because they are definitely a fun way to eat doughnuts. Coated in cinnamon sugar, they are absolutely amazing. Plus, they’re easy to bring to work, and coworkers always love you when you bring in fried Hanukkah treats!
Yeast Doughnuts, adapted from Alton Brown:
Makes 37 doughnuts and 38 doughnut holes (or 37 and a little bit leftover that I rolled into a doughnut hole)
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) shortening (I use Earth Balance non-hydrogenated)
- 2 packages yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 ounces sugar (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 26 ounces (about 5 cups) all purpose flour
- peanut or vegetable oil for frying (1 to 1 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)
1. Combine milk and shortening in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat until the shortening melts. Place in fridge to let cool, about 10 minutes, until the mixture is at about 110 degrees.
2. Combine yeast and warm water (not more than 110 degrees) in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir together and let sit about 5 minutes.
3. Add the milk mixture to the yeast and mix.
4. Add the sugar, salt, nutmeg, eggs, and 1/2 the flour to the bowl of the mixer. Using the paddle attachment, combine all ingredients on low speed. Move to medium and mix until well combined.
5. Add the rest of the flour and switch the the dough hook. Let mix for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is a smooth mass and starts to pull away from the sides. The dough WILL be sticky, but do not add more flour.
6. Transfer dough to a well-oiled bowl and let rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.
7. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to 3/8 inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2 inch and a 7/8 inch pastry ring or a doughnut cutter. Set the cut doughnuts on a floured baking sheet covered with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
8. Heat your oil (I used my dutch oven) to 365 degrees.
9. Fry the doughnuts 4 at a time, cooking for one minute on each side. Transfer to a cooling rack.
10. Allow to cool 10 minutes before glazing (or, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or vanilla sugar, or just top with powdered sugar – the possibilities are endless!)
11. Fry the doughnut holes, about 10 at a time, for a minute and a half, making sure to move them around. It was hard for me to get both sides the same color, but that was okay because after a little more than a minute the inside was fully cooked. Cool on rack, then place them all in a bowl of cinnamon sugar. Cover, shake, and enjoy!