It is a truth universally acknowledged that we can never get tired of Hanukkah latkes and sufganiyot (the holiday’s deep-fried jelly doughnuts). But there’s no harm in adding some culinary variety to this year’s Festival of Lights. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer offers a doughnut recipe with a twist and other alternative recipes that are great for Hanukkah and will satisfy any sweet tooth in her cookbook, The Holiday Kosher Baker. Here are two of her most popular desserts to try.
Vanilla Doughnut Holes (nut free & parve)
Doughnuts and potato latkes are the most traditional Hanukkah foods. Like latkes, doughnuts are best eaten the day they are made, but even on the second day you can get good results by re-heating them. To make doughnuts look festive, roll them in colored sugar.
1/4 ounce (1 envelope) dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1/2 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons margarine, at room temperature for at least 15 minutes
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4–2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup plain or colored sugar for dusting doughnuts
Canola oil for frying
- In a large bowl, place the yeast, warm water, and one teaspoon of the sugar and stir. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until thick.
- Add the remaining sugar, soy milk, margarine, egg, vanilla, salt, and 1½ cups (190g) flour and mix — either with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer — on low speed. Add 1/2 cup more flour and mix in. Add 1/4 cup flour and mix in. If the dough remains sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough becomes smooth.
- Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel and let the dough rise for one hour in a warm place. (You can turn your oven on to its lowest setting, place the bowl in the oven, and then turn off the oven.)
- After one hour, punch down the dough by folding it over a few times and reshaping it into a ball. Re-cover the dough and let it rise for 10 minutes.
- Dust a cookie sheet with flour. Sprinkle some flour on the counter or on parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Using a small round cookie cutter about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out small circles very close to each other, and place them on the cookie sheet. Re-roll any scraps. Cover the doughnuts with the towel. Place the cookie sheet back in the oven (warm but turned off). Let the doughnuts rise for 30 minutes.
- Heat 1 1/2 inches (4cm) of oil in a medium saucepan for a few minutes and use a candy thermometer to see when the oil stays between 365°F and 375°F; adjust the flame to keep the oil in that temperature range. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Place a wire rack on top of the cookie sheet and set it near the stovetop.
- When the oil is ready, add the doughnut holes to the oil one at a time, top-side down, putting an edge in first and then sliding in the rest of the doughnut; if you drop the doughnuts into the pan an inch or higher from the oil it can splatter and burn your fingers. You can fry up to eight doughnut holes at a time. Cook for 45-60 seconds. Use tongs or chopsticks to turn the doughnut holes over and cook them another 45-60 seconds, or until golden. Lift with a slotted spoon and place on the wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.
- Place the sugar in a shallow bowl and roll the doughnut holes in the sugar to coat. Store covered at room temperature for up to one day and re-heat to serve.
Paula Shoyer, a busy mother of four, believes that a healthy kosher diet can include desserts … if they are homemade. A former attorney, she graduated from the Ritz Escoffier pastry program in Paris, and now teaches French and Jewish baking classes across the country and around the world. Paula is the author of the best-selling The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy, The Holiday Kosher Baker, and The New Passover Menu. She is a contributing editor to several kosher websites such as kosherscoop.com and jewishfoodexperience.com, magazines such as Joy of Kosher, Whisk, and Hadassah, and writes for the Washington Post. She lives in Chevy Chase, Md. To learn more, visit www.thekosherbaker.com.