Ah, Chanukah — the one time of year when Jews throw all caution out the window and eat all the foods they please. Wait a second, you might say, isn’t that most Jewish holidays? Yes, we are a bunch known for celebrating everything — including, but not limited to, our escape from Egypt, receiving the Torah, the autumn harvest, and, of course, trees — with food. But Chanukah can put an even bigger strain on our collective waistband, with its emphasis on fried foods like latkes and doughnuts. (See Chanukah story for full explanation.)
After a traditional meal of brisket and latkes, though, it can be hard to fathom another oily food for dessert, so for the sake of our health and our digestion, we decided to lighten up the Chanukah doughnut this year by baking, not frying, them. But lest you think we’re missing the point of the tradition by forgoing frying, please note that we added the oil to the doughnut batter instead, along with the freshness of lemon zest and juice and the earthiness of rosemary. True, the lack of frying means the texture is more similar to a muffin than Krispy Kreme, but you’ll appreciate its fine crumb and burst of citrus flavor, which makes the treat seem healthier and more virtuous somehow. We top the doughnuts with a glaze made from sour cream (a common latke topping), powdered sugar, lemon juice, and honey to help them retain moisture, and since this is Minnesota, they have to be mini.
So save the big jug of oil for your latkes and end your meal on a lighter note with a batch of lemon-scented mini-doughnuts. After all, Chanukah is eight days long — you can always have that deep-fried Snickers or another crispy treat tomorrow night.
Olive Oil Mini-Doughnuts
Yield: 48 mini-doughnuts
Adapted from Farmgirl Gourmet
For the doughnuts:
1 c white whole-wheat flour
1 c cake flour
¾ c white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp minced rosemary
2 large eggs
juice from one lemon half
1 c milk
4 tbsp olive oil
For the glaze:
2 tbsp sour cream
¾ c powdered sugar
½ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp honey
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a mini-doughnut baking pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, blend the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and rosemary with a whisk.
3. Add the eggs, milk and olive oil and mix until just combined.
4. Spoon about one tablespoon of batter into each mini-doughnut mold.
5. Bake for 11-12 minutes.
6. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack, and cool completely.
7. To make the glaze, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.
8. Remove from heat and stir in the honey and lemon juice.
9. Dip the top of each mini-doughnut in the glaze and return to cooling rack. Glaze will remain soft and sticky.