Happy Hanukkah, y’all! Kramer and I aren’t really religious, per say, but we do enjoy all of the food that comes with each respective holiday, so here we are. This past weekend, our friend Chandan came over and cooked us coq au vin while Kramer and I kind of putzed around, but I did make latkes to eat with homemade applesauce that our friend Travis made for us, so we definitely got into the spirit of the holiday. For dessert, we ate these sufganiyot, which I had eaten plenty of times myself, but never made before. Who doesn’t love a jelly doughnut, especially when they’re fresh from the fryer? I opted to fill these bad boys with fig jam that I’ve had in my fridge for forever, and then I filled a few with berry. Over the course of two days, and between five people, we demolished all 16 or so of these. ‘Tis the season to get fat, as I always say. I do think that this recipe is easier than it may seem, and the dough is an absolute dream (don’t you wish I would rhyme all the time?). It comes together quickly and easily, it isn’t sticky or messy, and it fries up like perfect little pillowy clouds. I kind of want to try baking these and making them into a biscuit-like doughnut thing – I’m not 100% sure yet. Outlook uncertain, try back later. However, if you are just looking for a great doughnut recipe, for Hanukkah or otherwise, you’ve come to the right place, let me tell you what. Fill them with whatever jam, pastry cream, chocolate concoction, or whatever else you please, and eat happily.
Shockingly, we’re mid-way through Hanukkah, Christmas is just around the corner, and then we’ve got New Year’s Eve. It’s going to be 2016 before we know it, guys. This time of year always seems to fly by, but really, I think that as I get older, time just flies by in general. That’s sort of scary, I guess, when you think about it. It makes me want to do two things simultaneously. First, it makes me want to slow down. Take some time to smell the roses, appreciate what’s going on in my life, not worry so much about lists and responsibilities and just enjoy where I am and what kind of life I’m leading. Things are, for the most part, pretty, pretty, pretty good. On the other hand, it makes me want to do more! Speed up! There’s so much to accomplish and seemingly, so little time. I’m already 27. 30 isn’t that far away! Come to think of it, neither is 40. And my knees already hurt, and I think I have the beginnings of carpal tunnel in my right wrist. And where did all of those grey hairs start coming from? The clock’s ticking! So that’s where I’m at. A little torn between trying to enjoy life as much as possible and trying to kick things into high gear and accomplish a lot more than is probably reasonable in some short period of time. I know I’m not alone in this. Kramer, my friends, we’re all in the same boat. I blame the Internet, which is both my best friend and my mortal enemy. Whatever, no time for this – I need to get all of my holiday shopping done. And eat a doughnut.
Your ingredients – I decided in the end to go for berry instead of orange.
An almost perfect ball of dough.
Let that thing rise.
Roll it out.
Then do some cutting.
Let the dough proof, then get to frying.
See those biscuit-looking doughnuts on the far left? That’s what happens when years of biscuit conditioning make you forget to twist your doughnuts as you cut them. Oh well – learn through my mistakes!
Now get to filling.
- 1¼ ounce envelope (about 2¼ teaspoon) active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons warm water (about 115 degrees F)
- 3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for rolling
- 1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ cup warm whole milk (about 115 degrees F)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
- 7-8 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1½ cups jam of your choice (I used two different kinds - berry and fig)
- First, make your dough. Combine yeast, one tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Roll the bowl around a bit so that the water has a chance to touch everything. Let the bowl stand until yeast starts to foam, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the egg , egg yolks, milk, apple cider, salt, vanilla, 2 cups flour, and remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar. Mix on low speed with dough hook until combined, about 2 minutes.
- Switch to your paddle attachment, and add 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing well between additions. Once mostly smooth (it doesn't have to be perfect), switch back to the dough hook. Gradually add in the remaining 2 cups flour, about ½ cup at a time, mixing until mostly combined between additions, until the dough is soft, smooth, and shiny and begins to pull away from the sides of bowl. I only needed 1½ cups of flour, so just know that you may not need all of it.
- Butter or grease a large bowl and set it aside. Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and need it for 1 minute or so, until it forms a nice, smooth ball. Place the dough into your buttered bowl, cover well with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour, until about doubled in size. If you don't have a warm spot in your house because it's the middle of winter, like it was for me when I was making these, you can place the bowl near your oven, if it's already on baking other tasty things. Notice that I said NEAR the oven, not in the oven. This did the trick for me.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Roll out your risen dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about ¾-inch thick, then use a 2-inch round cutter (or a pint glass would work well) and cut out circles, twisting as you cut, so the edges of the sufganiyot are sealed. If you don't twist, they will rise like biscuits - trust me (by that, I mean they will be layers and flaky instead of being puffy little circles). Place the cut out pieces of dough on your baking sheet, and reroll once to recut, though know that the prettiest doughnuts will be cut from the first round, so be sure to cut them out as close together as possible. Cover with a dish towel and let them proof in a warm place for another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Be sure to save any leftover dough scraps - I like to use these to test the temperature of my oil, see how fast the doughnuts will cook, etc.
- When you're ready to fry, start heating your oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. You'll want 3 or 4 inches of oil in there, and it should heat up to 350 degrees F. Line two additional baking sheets (I know) - one, fitted with a cooking rack, if possible, but both lined with paper towels. Place the sheet fitted with the cooling rack next to your frying oil, and the other near a bowl filled with your 2 cups of granulated sugar.
- When you're ready to fry, toss in a few dough scraps. See if the temperature drops at all, and notice how quickly the dough fries. If your oil is too hot, let it cool down a bit. When the scraps have been cooked and you feel ready, start frying (and, of course, eating those scraps - those are the cook's reward).
- Drop in 3 or 4 doughnuts at a time, frying for about 1 minute on each side, until they are a deep, golden brown. Place them on your first baking sheet to drain any excess oil, then use a spoon to toss them in the granulated sugar, while they're still hot so the sugar sticks. Place the finished sufganiyot on your third baking sheet. Keep working until you've gone through all of your dough.
- Once the doughnuts have cooled, you're ready to fill them with jam. To make your jam easier to pipe, blend it in a blender or food processor, if you have one, to get rid of any lumps. Place the jam in a piping bag with a ¼-inch tip, or a squeeze bottle. Insert the tip into the top or side of your sufganiyot, and wiggle it around a bit so you make some room for the jam. Fill the doughnut until a little jam starts to ooze out of the hole. Continue until you've gone through all of the sufganiyot.
- These are obviously be served the same day, but they will keep well, lightly covered and at room temperature, for up to 2 days. I do recommend throwing them in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.