The best part of any Hanukkah meal is perfect for breakfast. I’m not talking about latkes (though those are pretty wonderful too); no, mean sufganiyot. Sufganiyot are rotund jelly doughnuts topped with an avalanche of powdered sugar, and it’s pretty impossible not to grin while devouring one. As is custom during Hanukkah, sufganiyot get their incredible color from a quick fry in oil. The pastries can be filled with any jam or spread—smooth strawberry jelly is classic—but if you handed me a warm doughnut filled with Nutella or cookie butter I wouldn’t kick you out of my house, that’s for sure.
Shall we begin? In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, ¾ cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon dry active yeast. Set the mixture aside until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together 2 room temperature egg yolks (save the whites for later!), 1 whole room temperature egg, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. This can also be done in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on low speed if you want to save your arm muscles.
Use a wooden spoon or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed to stir in the yeast mixture, then drop in 3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter into the dough 1 tablespoon at a time. Slowly mix in 2 ½ cups all purpose flour (use a wooden spoon or dough hook and medium speed if using the stand mixer). If using the mixer, continue to knead with the dough hook until the dough becomes smooth and shiny, and begins to pull away from the hook—you may need to add more flour by the tablespoon. If you’re going about this by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured worked surface and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and shiny. Both kneading methods will take 5-8 minutes.
Drop the kneaded dough into an oiled or buttered bowl and cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough sit on your kitchen counter until it doubles in size, about 1 ½ hours. At this point you can also leave the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator.
Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to a ½-inch thickness. Use a 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter or cup to cut about 8-10 rounds from the dough. Form the dough scraps back into a ball, then re-roll and cut 8-10 more rounds. Place the rounds on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Let the dough rise again, for about 45 minutes.
Heat about 3 inches of vegetable oil over medium high in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan until it reaches 350ºF. Working in batches of 2-3, drop in doughnuts. Fry the doughnuts for 45 seconds for 1 minute on each side, then pull them out with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels.
After all the doughnuts have been fried, whisk about 1 cup of seedless strawberry or raspberry jam in a bowl. Scoop the jam into a pastry bag or 1 corner of a zip-top bag. If you don’t have a small pastry tip, use a toothpick to make a hole in the center top of the doughnuts, then pipe the filling into each doughnut.
Just before serving, cover the sufganiyot with a hefty shower of powdered sugar. Be prepared to lick your fingers.