In December, we consume copious amounts of sweets and treats, validating these actions by claiming – “It’s the holiday season!” Between work events, holiday parties, and nights spent with family, we find ourselves loosen our belts for sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, and peppermint bark. But for those who celebrate Hanukkah, the eighth day Festival of Lights is also known as the festival of donuts. That’s right “sufganiyot” are round Israeli donuts that are filled with jelly or custard.

Just as latkes are a Hanukkah staple, sufganiyot fit right in the profile of “culinary symbolism” of foods fried in oil. The holiday is actually “focused on oil, commemorating the miracle of one night of oil lasting for eight”, hence the eight nights of Hanukkah. But unlike latkes, sufganiyot are not as easy to make in your own home. Histadrut, a sort of labor group that organized Jewish workers, pushed this donut as a staple Hanukkah food to help create more jobs for Jewish workers by involving professionals. Well, this method seemed to work! In modern Israel, over 18 million sufganiyot donuts are eaten in the week surrounding the holiday, averaging to about three donuts per citizen. What many now think of as a sweet treat treat to inlduge in, started out as a way to stimulate Israel’s economy. That’s a “hole” lotta donuts if you ask me! But do not fear, it’s not necessary to make the pilgrimage all the way to Israel to get your hands on these tasty treats, you can find them right here in the states.

According to an AM New York article, kosher and even non-kosher bakeries and delis are selling sufganiyot to fill all of your needs this holiday season. Only available from December 19th to December 31st, Breads Bakery will celebrate Hanukkah with three kinds of sufganiyot – vanilla mascarpone, classic star berry jam and dulce de leche. Chocolatte, a kosher bakery with three different locations across NYC, has created “inject-your-own” doughnuts in many flavors in time for the holiday. As a bonus, their Crown Heights location is open 24-hours, except for Friday afternoon and Saturday evenings during Shabbat. During the days of Hanukkah at Padoca Bakery, you’ll find house-made, traditional raspberry filled sufganiyot along with a featured flavor each of the eight days. The best part? You can snag an entire box if you pre-order up to 48 hours in advance. The famous Doughnut Plant with locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens offers an alternative with their marzipan and blackberry jam doughseed. Whether or not you celebrate this eight-night festival, we can definitely all agree – donuts are a great way to take on the holiday season.

Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah of just looking for a delicious bite, sufganiyot is definitely the answer. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of recipes online that will walk you through the process. As we continue to discover every year, no one can say no to good old fashioned jelly donut!

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