Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts

Jelly doughnuts go by a lot of different names in this country and around the world.  In their purest form they are doughnuts without a central hole, fried and stuffed with jelly or jam. The doughnuts can be filled either before frying (the jelly is sandwiched between two disks of yeast dough, sealed and fried).  Or, you can fry the doughnuts and then inject them with filling which is what I do here.  This technique removes the risk of not-properly-sealed doughnuts coming apart in the pan and leaking out their filling.

Jelly Doughnuts

Sufganiyah

Jews call jelly doughnuts Sufganiyah (or Sufganiyot for the plural), and they are often enjoyed during Hanukkah.  The story goes, over 2,000 years ago, after the Second Temple of Jerusalem was ransacked by invaders, there was only enough oil to keep the temple menorah lit for one day and night.  Inexplicably, the oil burned for 8 days and 8 nights, thus earning the holiday the name “festival of lights”.  Food cooked in oil, like doughnuts and latkes, are symbolic of this miracle of Hanukkah.

In Israel jelly or jam doughnuts are extremely popular, especially during Hanukkah. They might sometimes have fillings other than jam, such as chocolate, or halvah.  They can also be prepared in savory versions, stuffed with meat or vegetables.

Jelly Doughnuts

Other Names for Jelly Doughnuts

Bismarck doughnuts are named after the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who was the head of Germany when Kennedy made his famous mis-speak there, saying “Ich bin ein Berliner,” thinking he was saying “I am a Berliner, “ but actually saying “I am a jelly doughnut.”)  

In Austria they are called Krapfen, in Germany Berlinerkrapfen, Berliner doughnuts or simply Berliners.  The French call them Boule de Berlin, in Italy they are called Krafen, in Poland Ponchiks.  In the Uppermidwest region of the U.S. they are called Bismarks.  The list goes on; suffice it to say that jelly filled doughnuts are a pretty popular treat.

Jelly Doughnuts: The traditional Hanukkah treat, doughnuts filled with jelly, plump and crunchy with cinnamon sugar on the outside.

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Jelly Doughnuts

Yeast Jelly Doughnuts

Traditionally the dough used to make doughnuts is a yeast dough, and requires two risings.  One for the ball of dough itself, and another rising for the shaped doughnuts before they are fried.  Both of these risings are necessary for light and fluffy doughnuts

How to Make Jelly Doughnuts

Generously flour a clean work surface and lightly oil a medium sized bowl.

Jelly Doughnuts

In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer add the warm milk, then sprinkle the yeast over the milk.  Stir to dissolve and allow it to sit until it gets foamy, about 10 minutes.  Add the butter, salt and sugar, and stir or blend to combine.  Blend in the egg and egg yolk, then beat in the flour in two batches, plus the spices..  Beat until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, then beat in another.

When the batter has formed into a cohesive ball, turn it onto the floured work surface and knead the dough for two minutes.  Add more flour as needed if the dough feels too sticky.  Form the dough into a ball, and place in the oiled bowl.  Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.  

Jelly Doughnuts

Clean and re-flour your work surface.  Turn the dough onto the floured surface and roll it out with a floured rolling pin to a ½-inch thickness.  

Jelly Doughnuts

With a 3-inch biscuit or cookie cutter cut as many rounds as you can, minimizing the space between each round.  

Jelly Doughnuts

Gather the scraps, let them sit for another 15 minutes, then roll the dough out again, and cut as many more circles as possible.   

Place the circles on a very lightly floured baking sheet with a couple of inches between each doughnut, cover with a clean dish towel or loose plastic wrap and let sit for about 1 hour, until they are quite puffy.

Jelly Doughnuts

How to Fry Jelly Doughnuts

About 15 minutes before you are going to fry the doughnuts, place paper towels on a clean surface.  Make the sugar coating: in a shallow bowl, mix together the 1 cup sugar with the cinnamon.  Pour at least 2 inches of oil into a deep skillet or pan.  Heat to 375°F over medium heat. 

Jelly Doughnuts

Use a spatula to transfer three or so doughnuts into the pan; don’t crowd them.  They will rise and bob on the surface; fry for about 1 minute, until golden brown on the underside.

Then flip them and cook until the second side is golden brown, another 1 to 2 minutes.  You can occasionally gently press the doughnuts down into the oil to cook the sides evenly.  Remove the doughnuts, allowing excess oil to drain back into the pan, and let them rest for a minute on the paper towels. 

Jelly Doughnuts

Roll each doughnut in the cinnamon sugar.  

How to Fill Jelly Doughnuts

Use a chopstick or wooden dowel to poke a hole into the side of each doughnut, as you slide it in, give it a wiggle to create a small pocket in the center of the doughnut.  Fill a pastry bag or study plastic bag with the jelly.  If you are using a plastic bag, cut a very small triangle from one of the bottom corners of the bag.  Insert the pastry bag or snipped corner of the plastic bag into a hole on the side of the doughnut.  Gently squeeze a couple of teaspoons of jelly into the middle of the doughnut.  Remove the bag carefully from the doughnut, and repeat until all of the doughnuts are filled.

Jelly Doughnuts

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Jelly in Jelly Doughnuts

You can use any type of jam you like, and this is a great way to play around with those jams or jellies that you may have picked up at a farmers’ market or specialty store, or on your travels.  Strawberry and raspberry jelly are very popular filling flavors, but you can really use anything from apricot to mixed berry to pear, whatever you fancy.

Letting Dough Rise in a Cool Kitchen

For the first dough rising, or to allow the cut doughnut circles to rise, you will need a warm kitchen.  If your kitchen is too cool they won’t rise correctly.  As an alternative to finding a warm spot in the kitchen, you can preheat your oven to 200 degrees, then turn off the oven, and place the dough or the cut doughnuts into the warm oven with the door left open.  The residual warmth of the oven will allow the dough to rise properly.

Also: fry the scraps!  They will be perfect for snacking as you fill the round doughnuts with jam.  You can toss them with the cinnamon sugar after they are fried.

Jelly Doughnuts

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Jelly Doughnuts

The traditional Hanukkah treat, doughnuts filled with jelly, plump and crunchy with cinnamon sugar on the outside.
Yield: 16 People
Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25-ounce) package active dry yeast or 1 heaping tablespoon dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm milk (about 100°F)
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk , lightly beaten
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour , divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg , mace, or cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ¾ cup jam or jelly , any flavor

For the Coating:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  • Generously flour a clean work surface and lightly oil a medium sized bowl.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer add the warm milk, then sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Using an electric mixer, or the dough hook for a standing mixer, stir to dissolve and allow it to sit until it gets foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the butter, salt and sugar, and stir or blend to combine. Blend in the egg and egg yolk, then beat in 2 cups of the flour. Beat until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, then beat in another ½ cup of the remaining flour plus the nutmeg, mace, or cinnamon. When the batter has formed into a cohesive ball, turn it onto the floured work surface and knead the dough for two minutes. Add more flour as needed if the dough feels too sticky. Form the dough into a ball, and place in the oiled bowl. Cover with a dishtowel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Clean and re-flour your work surface. Turn the dough onto the floured surface and roll it out with a floured rolling pin to a ½-inch thickness. With a 3-inch biscuit or cookie cutter cut as many rounds as you can, minimizing the space between each round. Gather the scraps, let them sit for another 15 minutes, then roll the dough out again, and cut as many more circles as possible. Place the circles on a very lightly floured baking sheet with a couple of inches between each doughnut, cover with a clean dishtowel or loose plastic wrap and let sit for about 1 hour, until they are quite puffy.
  • About 15 minutes before you are going to fry the doughnuts, place paper towels on a clean surface. Make the sugar coating: in a shallow bowl, mix together the 1 cup sugar with the cinnamon. And pour at least 2 inches of oil into a deep skillet or pan. Heat to 375°F over medium heat.
  • Use a spatula to transfer two or three doughnuts into the pan. They will rise and bob on the surface; fry for about 1 minute, until golden brown on the underside, then flip them and cook until the second side is golden brown, another 1 to 2 minutes. You can occasionally gently press the doughnuts down into the oil to cook the sides evenly. Remove the doughnuts, allowing excess oil to drain back into the pan, and let them rest for a minute on the paper towels.
  • Use a chopstick or wooden dowel to poke a hole into the side of each doughnut, and as you slide it in give it a wiggle to create a small pocket in the center of the doughnut. Fill a pastry bag or study plastic bag with the jelly. If you are using a plastic bag, cut a very small triangle from one of the bottom corners of the bag. Insert the pastry bag or snipped corner of the plastic bag into a hole on the side of the doughnut. Gently squeeze a couple of teaspoons of jelly into the middle of the doughnut. Remove the bag carefully from the doughnut, and repeat until all of the doughnuts are filled.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Posted Sep 16, 2022

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