Tag Archives: doughnuts

Honey Cinnamon Chanukah Pastry Balls

My wife’s latkes were as good as usual; I lost count after my fifth helping. I just knew that I had a crowd on my plate. In Latke Land, my reality tv show, no one stays on the island. As my wife says, there’s a reason why we only make latkes once a year.

Several years ago at our annual Chanukah party, I was looking for something else to do after peeling 20 lbs. of potatoes. We had 50 people coming over. So, what could I do that would be time consuming, make a big mess, stress out my wife, and use more oil? Sufganiyot or Chanukah doughnuts! I had an injector for the jelly that I was dying to try out. Let’s just say that was the last time I made them.

This year, the protesters were lined up outside our house, “No more oil.” “No more oil.” “No more oil.” I confess. I was the only protestor. But in honor of that one voice, I offer you Chanukah pastry balls, a healthier version of sufganiyot, sweetened with honey and baked, not fried. If the Maccabees are coming for dinner, I’m sure they won’t mind.

Honey Cinnamon Chanukah Pastry Balls (from Faye Levy’s Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home: 200 Recipes for Eating Well on Holidays and Every Day)

For Dough

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour or additional all-purpose flour

½ cup water

1 tablespoon honey

¼ teaspoon salt

3 to 4 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil

3 large eggs, or 2 eggs plus 1 to 2 egg whites

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 to 2 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil

4 to 6 tablespoons honey (for drizzling)

Cinnamon (for sprinkling)

2 to 3 teaspoons chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Oil two baking sheets.

Mix both kinds of flour. Combine water, 1 tablespoon honey, and salt in a small,  heavy saucepan. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons oil (I added 3). Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add flour mixture immediately and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth. Set pan over low heat and cook mixture, stirring for about 30 seconds. Let cool for a few minutes.

Add 1 egg and beat it thoroughly into mixture. Beat in second egg until mixture is smooth. In a small bowl beat third egg or egg white with a fork. Gradually beat enough of this egg into the dough until dough becomes very shiny and is soft enough so that when some is lifted, it just falls from the spoon. Stir in lemon zest.

Using 2 teaspoons, or a pastry bag and ½ inch plain tip, shape mounds of dough of about 1 inch diameter, spacing them about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons oil into a small dish. Brush mounds with oil, gently giving them a round shape.

Bake for 30 minutes or until dough is puffed and browned; cracks that form during baking should also be brown. Serve hot or warm.

To serve, put puffs on a platter or divide among plates. Serve drizzled with honey (I only used about 2 tablespoons) and sprinkled with cinnamon and walnuts, if you like.


Lowfat Applesauce Doughnuts

I am not big on doughnuts but I am big on baker Amy Scherber, and I am big on changing the rhythms of what my kids eat—or don’t eat for breakfast—especially on school mornings, when my wife impersonates an oshiya, pushing our kids out of bed, out of the kitchen, and out the door.

Amy Scherber was inspired by the lowfat craze to create a recipe for applesauce doughnuts that are baked, not fried in hot oil. Health concerns aside, applesauce, apple juice, and maple syrup in this recipe provide for a moist, great tasting doughnut.

My wife brought home a free bag of barely blemished apples from the farmer’s market, a perfect excuse for making applesauce—even if I wasn’t baking Amy’s doughnuts. I never tire of the simple and meditative act of peeling and coring apples, and tossing them into a pot with about an inch of water and a stick or two of cinnamon. I cook them at a simmer until they’re soft and then mash them with a potato masher, adding water if the consistency is too thick. The aroma always lures everyone into the kitchen.

I baked the doughnuts in miniature Bundt molds without holes in the middle, because this is what we have. I’m sure a muffin tin would work also, aesthetics aside. I thought about punching in holes after they baked but decided they looked fine. Ok, I confess that I came to that conclusion after taking an olive pitter out of the drawer, feeling like a fool following his folly. Lowfat_Applesauce_Doughnuts

The first morning that we served them, my son groaned his way into the kitchen, exhausted and still cranky from the previous night’s geometry homework. When I asked if he liked his doughnut, he responded with a noise that sounded like it was in the earliest stage of speech development. He continued to chew and read the sports section—a yes in any language. He inquired, a few days later, if we still had any doughnuts left for breakfast. I was overjoyed to hear that he regained his ability to talk.

Let whimsy guide you in how you serve them. My wife cut up pears and drizzled yogurt and homemade candied pecans on the tops of the doughnuts. Lowfat_Applesauce_Doughnuts_With_Pears,_Pecans,_and_Yogurt

Lowfat or not, these are still very popular in Amy’s bakeries. I think they will also be popular in your home. Don’t keep them a secret. Share them at brunches, potlucks, bake sales, or when you want to score extra points with your co-workers. You can even bring them for snack to your child’s soccer or baseball team – they sure beat the usual high-fructose laden treats that are often given to the kids.

Lowfat Applesauce Doughnuts (from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread)


212 cups (365 g/112.87 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour

112 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

34 teaspoon baking soda

12 teaspoon cinnamon

12 teaspoon ginger

12 teaspoon mace

14 teaspoon nutmeg

14 teaspoon allspice

1 cup (265 g/9.35 oz) applesauce

34 cup (145 g/5.11 oz) dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

12 cup (115 g/4 oz) apple juice*

13 cup (85 g/3 oz) nonfat buttermilk

13 cup (115 g/4 oz) maple syrup

3 tablespoons (40 g/1.41 oz) unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Superfine sugar for coating pans

1. Position one rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare the pans. Spray evenly with nonstick spray and coat with plenty of superfine sugar, if available; otherwise use regular granulated sugar. Shake out the excess.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, mace, nutmeg, and allspice and whisk together.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, add the applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, apple juice, buttermilk, syrup, butter, and vanilla and mix well to combine.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together just until the batter is smooth.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, using approximately 13 cup per doughnut. The recipe says to bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans from front to back after 5 minutes, but you might want to allow extra time. Ours took about twice that. The doughnuts are done if they spring back when touched lightly on the top. Their tops should not be browned. Let the pans cool for 5 minutes, then turn the doughnuts out and place them on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy them warm from the oven or eat them within 6 to 8 hours. (Ours were still fine a few days later. I reheated them briefly in the toaster oven.) You can probably even mix the ingredients together, refrigerate and bake in the morning.

* We didn’t have apple juice, so I juiced an orange.