If I ever learned anything in college English classes, it was to never give an excuse right before you give your speech. It is annoying and no one cares if your cat was sick and you had to spend all night with him and that’s why your speech might suck. Most likely, no one will notice the difference anyways. So I won’t tell you why I haven’t shared a recipe with you since Thanksgiving. But I will ask you a favor.
Are you an avid reader of this blog? Perhaps you are a fellow blogger, or someone who loves to cook or bake. Would you be interested in a guest spot on Midwest Mama in Israel? Due to my RA it has become increasingly difficult for me to type and also to cook. I would love an opportunity to share your recipes and thoughts, funny stories and kitchen antics with my readers. If you are interested, please contact me. I would really appreciate your help in getting over this hurdle. Love you guys!
And now on to the food.
I couldn’t make it through Hanukkah without making donuts. As Hanukkah is the holiday associated with joy and also with oil and light, someone was bound to insist that fried latkes be on the menu. But in Israel, donuts, or sufganiyot, are sold everywhere during this 8 night winter holiday. On my first trip to Israel I found myself in a bowling alley in the resort town of Eilat during Hanukkah. To my surprise, the entire alley stopped operations and joined together to light a massive Hannukiah and sing- passing around sufganiyot to all interested parties. Hanukkah is a holiday for every Jew, uniting those whose beliefs might otherwise differ. That is why I consider it one of my favorite times of year. And the donuts of course.
That same year I decided to make donuts for a few friends, choosing the baked instead of fried route simply because hot oil terrifies me. I was living in a tiny kibbutz apartment with a 90-year-old microwave oven that had no temperature gauge. These donuts came out perfect. In fact, they have come out perfect every single time I’ve made them. The dough is fragrant, and when baked and rolled in cinnamon sugar or the powdered variety, they can stand up to a fried Krispy Kreme any day of the week. Not only that, but these can be made dairy-free, as I’ve done this year and several times before. They are just as good, and can be served with a meat meal or to that lactose intolerant cutie in your life.
Makes a dozen donuts + holes
1 1/3 cup warm milk, or vegan milk, divided (I use Almond milk)
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2 tbsp margarine or butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of cinnamon, ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup or more melted margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups or more sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Place 1/3 cup warm milk in a small bowl. Mix in yeast and wait until it gets bubbly. While the yeast is proofing, in the bowl of a mixer or large mixing bowl cream margarine and sugar together. Add the yeast mixture, and the remaining cup of milk. Add eggs, flour, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt and stir until the ingredients are distributed- only a minute or so. If you are using a mixer, put on your dough hook and knead the dough on low-medium speed until it pulls away from the sides and looks even. If you are doing this by hand, flour a counter lightly and knead for about 10 minutes until you get the same effect. Form the dough into a ball. Oil your mixing bowl and place the dough inside, turning it over to coat it in oil. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Lightly deflate the dough and on a lightly floured counter, roll it to 1/2 inch thickness. Stamp out circles with a large glass, cookie or donut cutter. You can then cut small circles out of the center with a shot glass or small cookie cutter to make donut holes. Grease a cookie sheet. Transfer the donuts and donut holes to the sheet, and cover. Let rise in a warm place until big and puffy, about an hour. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8 minutes or until the bottoms are just golden. You don’t want the tops to color. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Melt your margarine and place in a small bowl. In another bowl combine cinnamon and sugar. While the donuts are still warm, roll in margarine then in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Alternatively, you can roll the freshly baked donuts in a bowl of powdered sugar. Serve warm or room temperature. These will keep for a few days in an airtight container.