As if eight days of presents and celebration weren't enough, Hanukkah festivities traditionally include some pretty mouthwatering fare. Sufganiyot, more commonly known as fresh jelly doughnuts, are a sweet staple during the holiday, which is also known as the Festival of Lights. The holiday celebrates the Jewish people's freedom from religious persecution, as well as the biblical miracle in which sacred oil burned in a lamp for not just one night, as it should have, but eight full nights. In recognition of this extraordinary event, many Hanukkah foods, including sufganiyot, are fried in oil.
The popular dessert, which can be bought virtually anywhere in Israel, was likely introduced by Austrian-Jewish immigrants in the mid-1900s. Although recipes for this delicacy may sound daunting, many chefs promise that sufganiyot is surprisingly easy to turn out. In short, when the dough has been prepared and has risen twice (once after kneading and a second time after the doughnuts have been shaped), the doughnuts are dropped in hot oil to fry. After they're removed from the fryer, the doughnuts are dusted with cinnamon or powdered sugar and filled with jelly, caramel or chocolate. Experts attest that the end result is well worth the effort in freshness and taste. Even though the caloric price tag is a little steep, people of all faiths will enjoy indulging with this melt-in-your-mouth treat.