Mmm, jelly donuts. Traditional for Hanukkah, “sufganiyot” (that’s soof-gon-ee-YOTE, their Hebrew name) are deep-fried in honor of the oil in the Hanukkah story, then filled with jelly, custard or even chocolate. Although this certainly isn’t the healthiest of dessert choices, traditional foods hold a very important place in our lives. With that in mind, we came up with a few healthy twists to boost these treats’ nutritional value:
Stop smoking. For starters, you can try frying in a healthier oil. You’ll want to use one with a high smoke point (when oils smoke, their structure changes); some great choices include grapeseed oil, organic and non-GMO canola oil, and unrefined coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil is wonderful because unrefined oils are richer in nutrients, but beware when frying because its smoke point is usually around 350°F.
Go g-free. In addition to healthier oils, this recipe calls for gluten-free flour. Gluten isn’t always bad; there are plenty of people who can tolerate it. But by making a gluten-free dessert, you can cater to everybody’s needs.
Get sweet on this. This recipe has a couple of alternatives when it comes to the sweet stuff. For the filling, it calls for a sugar-free jam such as St. Dalfour, which uses fruit concentrate in place of sugar. This recipe also uses coconut palm sugar in place of cane sugar for the dough. Coconut palm sugar is a low-glycemic sweetener that also happens to have minerals and vitamins. It’s fantastic for baking because it can be substituted for cane sugar in a 1:1 ratio.
3/4 c. warm whole milk or water
1 packet dry yeast
1/4 c., plus 1 tsp. coconut palm sugar
2 c. gluten-free all purpose flour, such as Bob's Red Mill
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. cane sugar
Oil for frying (grapeseed, organic and non-GMO canola, or unrefined coconut oil)
1 jar sugar-free jam, such as St. Dalfour
In a small bowl, whisk the warm milk or water with yeast and 1 tsp. sugar. Set it aside for 5 minutes until it begins to foam.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, remaining coconut palm sugar and salt together.
In a standing mixer, mix together the egg, vanilla bean, and butter together on low for about a minute.
Add the yeast mixture and mix for another minute.
Add the flour mixture and mix on high for 3 minutes.
Coat a large bowl in oil and place the dough in the bowl. Set it aside to rise for about 1 hour.
Rub flour or oil across your work surface. Roll out the dough to about 1/2 an inch.
Use a cookie cutter or glass with about a 2 inch diameter to cut out donuts. Set them aside to rise for about another 30-60 minutes, until they have doubled in size.
In a heavy sauce pan, heat 2-3 inches of oil to 350°F. Use a candy or deep fry thermometer to keep track of the temperature.
Place the cane sugar in a small bowl next to the stove. Lower the donuts into the oil one at a time in batches of about 4-5. Be careful not to crowd the donuts in the oil.
Let them cook for one minute, then flip them over and cook for another minute.
Remove from the oil and roll in cane sugar.
Fill a pastry bag with jam, and inject each donut. Set on cooling rack to cool. Serve immediately.
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