Homemade Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)

Hanukkah begins on Tuesday and guess what we’re making? Jelly Donuts! Also known as sufganiyot in Israel, these irresistible treats are traditional Hanukkah fare. And we can’t forsake tradition now can we?

We’ve been using this recipe since 2008 and this year will be the first time the munchkin gets a taste of homemade jelly donuts. I’m pretty sure he’s going to fall in love. The big question is: will he like Nutella-filled beignets or jelly donuts more? Hmm. Tough call.

These donuts are fairly easy to make and like the beignets have a few steps that toddlers can help with. If you measure out the ingredients beforehand they can help make the dough (pre-measuring isn’t required, but it does help with the toddler patience factor!). And after the grown-ups have fried the sufganiyot and pierced small holes in the sides of each donut, toddlers can help fill them with fruit preserves or jam. (See instructions below.)

I hope that love and light fill your home and heart this holiday season!

Homemade Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)
 
Adapted from this Epicurious.com recipe. Makes about 20 doughnuts.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2½ teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3½ to 3¾ cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • About 10 cups vegetable oil (2 tablespoons for the dough, the rest for frying)
  • 1 cup fruit preserves or jam, such as blueberry, raspberry or strawberry. (You could also use Nutella, apple butter of even pumpkin butter if you want.)
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting
Instructions
Make the Dough (Kid Friendly)
  1. Heat the milk in the microwave until warm, about 40-50 seconds. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in 2 tablespoon of warm water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes until foamy. (If the yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with fresh yeast.)
  3. Add the lukewarm milk to the yeast, then the sugar, spices, salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and eggs. Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon between additions, until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and is too stiff to stir.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in remaining flour. You can use additional flour as needed to prevent sticking, sprinkling 1 tablespoon of flour on the dough at a time. Knead dough for 5 to 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and bounces back when you press your thumb into it.
  5. Grease a large bowl with about 1 teaspoon of oil, then transfer the dough to the bowl and turn once to coat. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.
  6. After the dough has risen, turn out onto lightly floured surface. Tear off pieces of dough and roll into balls using the palms of your hands. The size of the dough balls depends on how big you want the doughnuts to be, but don’t go too big or the dough in the center of the ball won’t cook through. Set aside on parchment paper to rise for 30 minutes.
Make the Donuts
  1. While doughnuts rise, heat about 4 inches of oil (about 10 cups) in a deep 4-quart pot until it registers 375 degrees F with a candy thermometer.
  2. Fry doughnuts 2 at a time, turning occasionally, until puffed and golden brown. The first two doughnuts will brown VERY quickly, so keep an eye on them. Fry doughnuts about 30 seconds on each side, turning them with a metal skimmer once they’ve browned on the bottom. Transfer to a cooling rack over paper towels to drain.
  3. Make sure children are nowhere near you while frying the donuts as hot oil is very dangerous!
Fill the Donuts (Kid Friendly)
  1. Add about ½ cup of jam or preserves to a small ziploc bag. Close the bag. Using scissors, cut off the tip of one of the bottom corners of the bag. Repeat for other ziploc bags if using more than one flavor.
  2. Using a knife, make a small hole in each doughnut. Carefully pick up your ziploc bag, insert the bag’s opening into the donut and gently squeeze the bag to fill the donut.
  3. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy! These donuts are best the day they are made.