Recipe: Sufganiyot

From the desk of Jean Graubart, Director of Jewish Living & Learning

The year was 1972 and fresh out of college, I journeyed to Israel.  In the Tel Aviv kibbutz office, about to fulfill my dream, I requested (like every other young woman in Israel) to be placed at the kibbutz where Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman) and his family were.  The Israeli behind the desk laughed heartily informing me that I was to report to Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra, in 2 days.

Rosh Hankikra, surrounded by the beautiful grottos was an old kibbutz with old ideas.  Women worked in the laundry or the kitchen.  After a long train ride I arrived and was served a feast given new volunteers and guests, fish heads fresh from the water.  I politely asked for salad and was brought into the kitchen to talk to the cooks.  At that moment, they told me they needed me and I would be working with them starting at 5:00 a.m. the next morning.  Everything happened so quickly and I became a cook (reminiscent of school cafeteria ladies, minus the hairnet).

One week there and everyone talked about Chanukah and the excitement of having SUFGANIYOT.  No latkes, they were from the old country, the fried jelly doughnut was the food for Israelis, still honoring the oil of the Temple as balls of dough were dropped in the sizzling pot.  For the week of Chanukah we had to be in the kitchen by 4 each morning to prepare the dough so that the “men” going out to the fields, could pick some up to enjoy fresh with their coffee.  The frying continued all day for 7 days and 7 nights (we stopped on Shabbat).  I learned to inject jelly into each hot doughnut with a large needle usually used to vaccinate the cows. These were new and filled with homemade jelly, red and sweet.  The injection had to be done quickly as if the life of the doughnut depended on it.  The kitchen was buzzing all day and night as members and children delighted in this once a year treat, celebrating a miracle.

Here, the fall explodes with holiday after holiday and then it is quiet.  Weeks later, darkness comes early each day and so we welcome the lights of Chanukah with its story of hope and candle lights glowing.  Lighting the candles on the menorah commemorates the miracle of the oil lasting 8 days. Since the custom of frying foods is still the tradition, along with your latkes, enjoy these sufganiyot and eat them while they’re hot!


2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
½ cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons vinegar into a measuring cup and add mil or parve creamer to equal ½ cup

-Cream shortening and sugar
-Add egg and vanilla and beat well
-Add milk/vinegar alternately with dry ingredients
-Stir until well blended
-Roll out dough in small quantities 1/3 in thick
-Cut with round cookie cutter (about 2 ½ inches)
-Let rounds stand for at least 10 minutes on cookie sheet.
-Heat oil in a saucepan until hot
-Put in 4 or 5 rounds at a time into the oil
-Fry to a delicate brown, turn if needed
-Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels
-Use a syringe or a pastry bag filled with jam or jelly
-Puncture dough (on the side) and insert jelly in while it is hot, not more than a teaspoon
-Dust with cinnamon/sugar mixture or powdered sugar

(Many recipes use yeast but my friend tells me that these are easier and delicious.  She uses a chocolate spread instead of jelly!)

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