Chanukah desserts that light up a room
By Elisa Ludwig
The miracle of Chanukah isn’t that the oil lasted for eight days in the temple so much as that your guests waited hungrily and patiently while you batch fried latkes to order during your holiday get-together. To our minds, the whole idea of frying the main course for a crowd is cumbersome, especially when you want to relax and enjoy time with your own guests. (You have enough to worry about with the candles burning down in the menorah.)
If you really want to incorporate foods fried in oil into your Chanukah feast, might we suggest doing so with dessert? A batch of donuts can be cooked up ahead of time—even made the day or two before and stored in an air-tight container until served. If you’re going to be strictly Israeli-traditional, stuff them with jelly or custard and call them sufganiyot, but we’re always partial to American cider donuts. In the recipe below, we’ve provided a vanilla cinnamon glaze, but you could simply dust them in a mix of sugar and cinnamon with just a touch of cardamom. You can also get creative with the toppings and roll them in coconut, ground pistachios or caramel glaze. Skip the cider, twist the dough and make them into churros, keeping the cinnamon sugar dusting and serve them with a chocolate sauce for dipping. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination—that and your supply of oil.
1 cup apple cider
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup buttermilk
Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup cider to a boil and continue simmering until reduced to ¼ cup.
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
3. With a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs to mixture, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Lower speed and add reduced cider and buttermilk, beating until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl where necessary. Add flour mixture and mix until combined and the dough comes together.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a floured work surface (dough will be very soft) to a thickness of ½ inch. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and freeze until dough is hard but not frozen, about 30 minutes.
5. Use a doughnut cutter or two round cookie cutters (3-inch and 1-inch size circles) to cut out doughnut shapes. Refrigerate cut dough for 20 minutes.
6. In the meantime, prepare the glaze by whisking the remaining 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with the milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of oil and heat until 350°. Set up a baking rack over a baking sheet and prepare either of the toppings, if using. Add doughnuts, working in batches, and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip and fry the other side. Transfer fried doughnuts to baking rack. Allow to cool some, then drizzle with glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.