Put a twist on the Chanukah classic with these Baked Sufganiyot! Fill the tender, airy dough with homemade blackberry jam for a new take on the sweet treat.
For as long as I can remember, my family gathered around the living room window to light our menorahs. We’d add one more candle for each of the 8 nights and sing the songs to our tunes that, turns out, no one else knows. There’s a photo of me as a little girl lighting menorah, tongue poking out of the corner of my mouth as I concentrate on not setting nearby on fire.
Chanukah always feels different than other holidays, since the only thing you really need to do is light the candles. Nothing like the intensity of Rosh Hashana or Pesach. Maybe that’s the beauty of it, though. Stopping to appreciate our faith through something as simple, yet as powerful, as the flames of the menorah dance in the windows.
Now the menorah is lit, dreidel is spinning, latkes are frying, and I’m reaching for one of these baked sufganiyot. Here’s one for you, too. Happy Chanukah.
Although it seems antithetical to the holiday, these sufganiyot are, indeed, baked in the oven. Because 1) I don’t have a pot large enough for deep frying, 2) no one wanted the smell of frying oil to linger in our apartment, and 3) I’d rather save my frying for latkes. Sure, we could all trek to our local grocery store and pick up a box of your usual fried jelly-filled treats, but happiness is homemade and so too should be your sufganiyot.
Historically, there are two types of doughnuts— yeasted or cakey. Yeast doughnuts are the original, but turns out that cakey are the true American ones. I looked at a LOT of recipes for both kinds. They use essentially the same ingredients, aside from the leavening agent, except in different ratios. Cakey doughnuts are similar to, you guessed it, cake. Moist and dense, these have more sugar. Yeast-leavened ones are chewier, like bread, with much less sugar. In recent years there’s been an upsurge of baked cakey doughnuts, but I prefer the yeast variety. So why not try baking them?
This was my first experiment with buttermilk, which I DIY-ed as well (can you sense the theme here?) by combining whole milk and lemon juice. It is a GAME CHANGER. The dough gets super soft and tender, making it perfect for stuffing with homemade (see, there’s that theme again) blackberry jam and dusting with powdered sugar.
I like kneading the dough by hand, a little extra connection to Chanukah, but you can use a stand mixer if you prefer. It’s going to be sticky, so make sure to flour or oil your hands. Either way you decide to knead, it comes together pretty quickly. Then it’s your typical rise-punch-shape-rise situation before you can tuck the sufganiyot into the oven. Make the blackberry jam while the dough is rising, so that it has time to chill in the fridge.
Theoretically, they’ll last for 5 days in the fridge. You won’t have to worry, though, since they’ll disappear way before then.
- 2¾ - 3¼ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- ¼ cup + 1 tsp granulated sugar, divided
- ½ cup whole milk*
- 1 tsp lemon juice*
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter + 2 tbsp, melted
- 1 large egg, room temperature, beaten
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, optional
- FOR THE BLACKBERRY JAM:
- 5 cups fresh blackberries
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in ½ tbsp water
- Sift together the lesser amount of flour and salt in a large bowl, then set aside. Combine the lemon juice and whole milk in a small pot, cover, and let sit for 5-7 minutes until curdled.* In a small bowl, combine the yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter into the milk over low flame, making sure not to boil. As soon as it melts, remove from the heat. Stir in the ¼ cup of sugar to dissolve. Once the milk is slightly cooled, mix in the egg and yeast. If you want, add the vanilla at this point.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring to combine until a sticky dough forms. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few more minutes, adding more flour as needed, until it becomes smooth and elastic. The dough is sticky, so remember to flour/oil your hands and surface!
- Butter your mixing bowl and place the dough back into it, turning to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Punch down the dough and divide into 10 equal-sized balls. Space them out on 2 lined baking sheets, cover, and let rise again for 30 minutes.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the sufganiyot are lightly golden around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes on the pan, then remove to a wire rack. Brush with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, then let cool before filling.
- To make the blackberry jam, mash the blackberries with a fork or potato masher. Put the mashed berries (including all juice), sugar, and lemon juice in a pot over medium flame. Cook, stirring occasionally, and bring to a low boil. Add in the dissolved cornstarch, continuing to cook and stir for 15-20 more minutes, until the jam is thick and syrupy. Press it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the blackberry seeds. Let cool in the fridge before using.**
- To fill the sufganiyot, put the jam into a squeeze bottle or a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch tip. Insert the tip into the side of the suganiyot, about ½ of the way in, and squeeze out the jam as you pull back towards you. Continue until all the sufganiyot are filled, then dust with confectioner's sugar.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the fridge for 5 days. If keeping them in the fridge, reheat them in the microwave for 10 seconds.
*You may replace the whole milk and lemon juice with ½ cup of whole buttermilk.
**The blackberry jam can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks. If you have leftover jam, then enjoy however you normally do!
***Sufganiyot dough can also be prepped and frozen. When you shape the balls and place them on the lined baking sheet, put them in the freezer BEFORE letting them rise a second time. Once frozen completely you can transfer them to a plastic bag. To bake, simply thaw and let rise on a lined baking sheet, covered, for about 4 hours, until doubled in size. Then continue baking as instructed.