December 9, 2012

Pin It Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)

Adapted from How Sweet It Is and a little from Sweet Happy Life

Week 49
Another post in week 49? I know it's crazy! It had a busy week in the kitchen and I wasn't quite done yet. PLUS this is my 100th post!!!! Glad it's a good one and not something like the pumpkin soup.

Sufganiyot, AKA jelly donuts, are traditional sweets to have during Hanukah. This was never a tradition in my house growing up and the first time I had them during Hanukah was only three years ago. They were definitely not homemade.

This is not something I would have attempted on my own accord because 1. I'm still a little wary around yeast (even though my pumpkin monkey bread was a success) and 2. A pot of 350 degree oil sounds like a scary disaster waiting to happen. However, my brother-in-law Matt asked if I'd be up for trying my hand at homemade sufganiyot for our Hanukah celebration, so I figured why not?!  I had no idea how this would go, so I made another batch of gingersnap cookies as a backup in case the sufganiyot were a fail...just to be safe. We obviously can't have a family meal without at least one dessert.

I chose to follow the How Sweet It Is recipe because I felt more confident since I've made so many of her recipes successfully in the past. I did look over the Sweet Happy Life recipe to see what she did differently since she was actually making sufganiyot, whereas How Sweet was just making cream filled donuts.  I also thought about making some of them with the peanut butter cream filling (since that sounds awesome) but it seemed a little involved and I don't have a fine mesh sieve, so that option was out.

started out by making How Sweet's dough and I added in the 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg from the Sweet Happy recipe.  I made the dough the night before since it was supposed to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. The How Sweet recipe notes that the original recipe said it should chill for 4-15 hours and that overnight would be fine. 

I had some trouble getting my yeast to dissolve and I'm guessing it's because my milk had cooled down by the time I added the yeast.  It didn't seem to matter in the end, but it's something to keep in mind.

I used my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and made the dough as directed in How Sweet's recipe. I used a little flour to get the dough out of the bowl, wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill overnight.


The next day, I pulled the dough out of the fridge to roll it out. It seemed like it rose a little in the fridge because the plastic wrap was tighter than it had been, but again it didn't seem to affect the end result.

I rolled out my dough and cut out circles with biscuits cutters. No one really specified how big to make the dough cut outs so I used a couple different sized biscuit cutters and ended up with big donuts (2 1/2" cutter) and mini donuts (2 1/8" cutter).  I cut out circles, squished the scraps together, re-rolled it and cut out more circles until I ran out of dough.  Since I had a variety of sizes I ended up with about 20 donuts (more than the recipe yield sates).

I placed the donuts on a couple cookie sheets, covered them with parchment paper and a dish towel and put them in a warm place to rise for 3 hours. I'm not sure if they doubled in size but they were bigger than before and I had to get fryin'.
Before.
After.
I heated ~36 fl. oz. of vegetable oil in a pot to 350 degrees.  At first I had the burner at medium/high heat but the oil got too hot.  I took the pot off the burner for a few minutes to let it cool down and was able to maintain 350 degrees with medium heat. It's important that you don't let the oil get too hot otherwise the outside will burn and the inside will be raw. I was able to pick up a candy thermometer at the hardware store for ~$4. This was key in this process since I would have had no idea the temperature without it.
It took some trial and error (although none of them burned!) but I figured out the perfect cooking times. The larger donuts needed 2 minutes on each side and the smaller donuts only needed 1.5 minutes per side.
Big.
Mini.
I scooped the donuts out and let them cool on a wire rack (with paper towels underneath to soak up the excess oil). When they were cool to the touch I rolled them in granulated sugar and let them cool completely on the rack.

I was really nervous about this whole "dropping balls of dough into a giant vat of hot oil" thing, but this was actually quite a clean and injury free process.  I think because the dough is not filled with a ton of moisture, there was no spattering or spitting of hot oil. I'd even brought a change of clothes to my sister's (where the donuts were fried) in case I needed to cover all exposed skin. In the end the bubbling you see in the picture above is the craziest it got.
Sugar rolled fried dough, delicious.
White waiting for the donuts to cool we occupied ourselves with the amazing melting snow man. This toy really did provide endless entertainment for the kids and adults alike. It's called Mr. Frost and is essentially magical silly putty that you shape into a snow man and then it slowly melts into a pile of white goo, and then you get to do it again! It's from Restoration Hardware and I also saw it online at Urban Outfitters but it seems like it's actually sold out everything online...which is a bummer because it's the coolest toy ever.
After the donuts were cooled (and we sampled a couple to make sure they were worth filling) I spooned raspberry preserves into a pastry bag with a round tip and filled the donuts.  I had to cut a slice in the side of the donuts so there would be a defined entry point and tried to fill the donut centers as best I could. Not sure why both recipes suggested using a Ziploc bag since I don't know how you could jam the bag into the side of the crispy donut with any kind of success. Filling the donuts reminded me a bit of the pizza muffin experience in that I couldn't really tell how much was going in there. 
In the end they weren't super jelly filled (especially the big ones) but it was fine.
No one seemed to mind :)
My niece enjoying her mini donut.
My nephew had made dradle shaped ice cubes and chocolates so we had to get those in some photos, posing with the donuts.
Ice.
Chocolate.
Jelly filled donut!
I'd say overall this was a huge success! No one was burned (people or donuts), no donuts were sacrificed to the compost gods, and they tasted like donuts! I'm not saying they are the best donuts I've ever had, but they were definitely the best donuts I've ever made :)

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