Where I grew up, being half Jewish was a fairly common occurrence. Central New Jersey had a mixed population, and well, love is love. Marriages across religious lines could be volatile. It was always a little awkward reminding the extended family that no, we would not be having a first communion or a bat mitzvah, but otherwise, my sisters and I didn’t see a lot of conflict growing up with a father raised Jewish and a mother raised Catholic.

One of the perks was that at this time of year, we got to learn all about the stories of Christmas and Hanukkah. We’d leave out cookies for Santa and also light a Hanukiah for eight nights. We’d open gifts on Christmas morning, but we’d also get a check for a dollar value divisible by eight from my paternal grandma.

But as you probably know, the traditions I most latched onto had to do with food. We didn’t fry a lot in my house as a kid, but growing up, I learned a little bit more about some of the traditional Hanukkah dishes, like longtime favorite latkes, and these sweet treats: sufganiyot, or jelly donuts.

This year, I decided to make my own jelly donuts for the first time, and ambitious as ever, I decided to try to construct my own recipe after doing a bit of research. These donuts use white whole wheat flour, and the puff up beautifully. The downside is that they are still not really healthy, after being covered in sugar and pumped full of gooey strawberry preserves.

That’s okay. It’s a holiday.

Enjoy these with family across all religions, because we can all appreciate donuts. And share with them a bit about the story of Hanukkah, so they understand why (like my husband, who had to ask) we couldn’t make sufganiyot in the air fryer.

White Whole Wheat Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A white whole wheat version of the traditional Jewish treat served for Hannukah, Sufganiyot, or jelly donuts.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: donut, fried, holiday, white whole wheat
Ingredients
Dough
  • 1 packet Yeast (2 1/4 tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar (divided)
  • 3/4 cup Milk warmed to about 105F
  • 2 1/2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Butter softened
Donuts
  • Vegetable Oil (for frying)
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 12 oz Strawberry Preserves
Instructions
  1. Mix the milk, yeast, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes until bubbly to activate the yeast. 

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Then add the dry ingredients and the egg to the yeast mixture and combine. Using your hands, a stand mixer with a dough hook, or a bread machine, knead the dough until it's fully combined. This is a fairly dry dough to start. Once combined, add in the butter and knead that in as well.

  3. Place in a large bowl and cover. Let rise in the fridge overnight.

  4. Remove the dough from the fridge and press it out into a large disc on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass, cut 2-3 inch circles from the dough at set aside. You can combine and re-roll the scraps one to two times, but the more you do this, the less fluffy those donuts will be.

  5. Meanwhile, start heating up the oil on medium in a large high-sided pot, at least 1 1/2 inches deep. Mix the powdered sugar and cinnamon in a wide, shallow pan (I used a pie tin).

  6. Once the oil reaches 375F, carefully place the dough rounds into the oil. They will bubble and pop, so using metal tongs or a spoon to lower the donuts into the oil is recommended. Flip the donuts a few times over the next 30 seconds or so until golden brown on both sides.

  7. Carefully shake off the excess oil and place the donut directly into the powdered sugar. Toss gently to coat, and then move to a plate or cooling rack.

  8. Repeat the frying and sugaring step until all donuts are fried. Before each batch, check to make sure the oil is still at 375F. If it gets too hot, remove the oil from the heat for a few minutes to let it start to cool down.

  9. Once the donuts are cool enough to handle, cut a small x in one side. Fill a piping bag with strawberry preserves. Place the tip of the bag into the hole in the donuts, and fill with jelly until they just start to overflow. 

Recipe Notes

These donuts are best served the day they are made and do not store well (covered loosely at room temperature) for more than a day or so. If eating the next day, add a bit more powdered sugar on top just before serving. 

These can be filled with any type of jelly you'd like, including homemade or store-bought, strawberry, raspberry, mixed berry, marmalade. Have fun!

If your preserves has large berry pieces, you may need to break those up before piping so they don't get stuck in the bag. 

I didn't use a piping tip at all, just cut a hole in the tip of the bag about 1/4 inch in diameter. A wide round tip may help you control the jelly better.

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13 thoughts on “White Whole Wheat Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)

  1. Hey girl! I really loved your storytelling, I don’t know too much about Jewish traditions, so this was an enlightening post! This recipie looks INCREDIBLE! Thank you for sharing with us! xoxo

    1. Thank you! The donuts were so good, and we gobbled them up real quick. It’s always fun to learn about traditions from other cultures, and I love that we can incorporate them from many backgrounds into our lives!

    1. Thanks! I was nervous the first time I tried frying anything, but it’s actually so much easier than it seems. It’s really just about checking the oil temperature and being really careful not to get splattered. Good luck!

  2. As a kid, I never liked jelly donuts, but now, I can’t get enough of them! Lol these sound soooo delicious. I hope it’s something I can actually pull off! 🙂

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