Celebrating Channukah with Sufganiyot!

25 Dec

Happy Channukah and Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you all have been surrounded by family and having a beautiful holiday. This year, I stayed in Gainesville a few days after exams ended and decided to host a small Channukah gathering for all who had to stay in town to work.

For the party I decided to make a classic Channukah dessert called sufganiyot. For those  unfamiliar with sufganiyot, they are essentially jelly doughnuts. As the story goes, the menorah was kept lit with very little oil for eight days straight and thus the miracle of Channukah occurred. Because of this, we celebrate by frying everything in oil. Not the healthiest of holidays.

I have never made any kind of doughnut before and using yeast is always pretty tricky. In fact, I actually made the dough for these twice when I decided the first round wasn’t rising as I had anticipated (I think the yeast was too old/exposed to air maybe?).  Another set back was keeping the oil at the correct temperature to fry the doughnuts. I actually had to go out and buy a thermometer and even then it was difficult to keep the acceptable heat range. In the end, the doughnuts were fried balls of doughy sweetness covered in a snowy blanket of powdered sugar and oozing  raspberry preserves piped deep into their steamy center.

Sufganiyot 
From: Food Network Magazine

Ingredients
1 cup warm milk (about 105 degrees F)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (I needed more than this)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
Vegetable oil, for brushing and deep-frying (get the big bottle!!)
Jelly or seedless jam, for filling
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Tools:
deep-fry thermometer (at least up to 360 degrees F)
large deep pot
parchment paper
tongs

Directions
Bloom the yeast: Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top and stir to dissolve; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Make the dough: Add the sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs to the bowl and whisk until blended. Add 2 cups flour and mix with the dough hook to combine, stopping to scrape down the bowl. Add the butter and mix until smooth.
-Let it rise: Spray a large bowl with cooking spray; add the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in the refrigerator, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cut out the doughnuts: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and dust with flour. Dust a clean surface with flour; turn out the dough onto the surface. Dust the dough with flour, then gently pat it out to make it easier to roll. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch rounds with a cookie cutter; transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the scraps and cut out more rounds. Dust the dough rounds lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour in a warm place. (What I did was turn my oven on to 150 degrees and then turn it off and leave the door open for about 5 minutes and then put the sheets in so the oven was warm but not cooking anything)
-Fry them: Heat 2 to 3 inches vegetable oil in a large pot until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the doughnuts, turning, until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes total. Using tongs or a skimmer, remove to paper towels to drain.
-Fill with jelly: Fit a pastry bag (I used a squeeze bottle) with a round tip; Fill the bag with jelly. Insert the pastry tip into the side of a doughnut and gently squeeze to fill. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

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