8 Crazy Days

Hanukkah starts Sunday at sundown. Jelly donuts are always a part of our Hanukkah celebration. Of course, it’s part of many of our celebrations… like Thursdays, or the First of The Month Days and many others.

Making these donuts is strait forward with only a couple of possible pitfalls. One is to overwork the dough. Knead it for 2 minutes only! Another is to be sure it fully proofed. When poked, the dough should bounce back slowly, but bounce back. Lastly, regulate the frying temperature. Too hot and they will bake on the outside but not on the inside. Too cold and the donuts will be greasy.

You don’t need an occasion or excuse to make donuts. Try them anytime. It’s a fun bake and the results are delicious.


• 1 tablespoon dry yeast
• ¾ cup about 100° F milk
• ¼ cup melted butter
• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
• 2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Vegetable oil for frying
• ¾ cup jam or jelly, any flavor
For the Coating:
• 1 cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Generously flour a clean work surface and lightly oil a medium-size bowl.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the warm milk, then sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Using the dough hook in the stand mixer, stir to dissolve and allow it to sit until it gets foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the butter, salt and sugar, and stir to combine. Blend in the egg and egg yolk, then beat in 2 cups of the flour. Beat until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, then beat in another ½ cup flour plus the nutmeg.
  3. When the batter has formed into a cohesive ball, turn it onto the floured work surface and knead the dough for two minutes. (No more!) Add more flour as needed if the dough feels too sticky. Form the dough into a ball, and place in the oiled bowl. Cover with a dishtowel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Check with the poke test.
  4. Re-flour your work surface. Turn the dough onto the floured surface and roll it out with a floured rolling pin to a ½-inch thickness.
  5. Depending on how big you want your final donuts (2 1/2 – 3 inch) cookie cutter, cut as many rounds as you can,. Gather the scraps, let them sit for another 15 minutes, then roll the dough out again, and cut as many more circles as possible. Place the circles on a very lightly floured baking sheet with a couple of inches between each doughnut, cover with a clean dishtowel or loose plastic wrap, and let sit for about 1 hour, until they are quite puffy, about 1 inch thick.
  6. About 15 minutes before you are going to fry the doughnuts, place paper towels on a clean surface. Make the sugar coating: In a shallow bowl, mix together the 1 cup sugar with the cinnamon. And pour at least 2 inches of oil into a deep skillet or pan. Heat to 375° F over medium heat.
  7. Use a spatula to transfer two or three doughnuts into the pan. They will rise and bob on the surface; fry for about 1 minute, until golden brown on the underside, then flip them and cook until the second side is golden brown, another 1 to 2 minutes. You can occasionally gently press the doughnuts down into the oil to cook the sides evenly. Remove the doughnuts, allowing excess oil to drain back into the pan, and let them rest for a minute on the paper towels.
  8. Then place them in the bowl with the sugar coating and turn to coat completely.
  9. Use a chopstick or wooden dowel to poke a hole into the side of each doughnut, and as you slide it in, give it a wiggle to create a small pocket in the center of the doughnut. Fill a pastry bag or sturdy plastic bag with the jelly. Insert the pastry bag into the hole on the side of the doughnut. Gently squeeze a couple of teaspoons of jelly into the middle of the doughnut. Remove the bag carefully from the doughnut, and repeat until all the doughnuts are filled.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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