Delicious Donuts for National Donut Day

While sufganiyo (aka jelly donuts) are a Hanukkah favorite, donuts are too good to enjoy just once a year.
May 29, 2024
Rocky Road Donuts Photo by Pam Stein

Who doesn’t love donuts! 

While sufganiyo (aka jelly donuts) are a Hanukkah favorite, donuts are too good to enjoy just once a year. Thank goodness, National Donut Day is the first Friday in June.

“Learning about different Jewish donuts is like taking a virtual trip around the Diaspora.”
– Beth Lee

“Learning about different Jewish donuts is like taking a virtual trip around the Diaspora,” Beth Lee, founder of OMGYummy.com, told the Journal. “Sufganiyot have roots in the Polish Pączki but are super popular in Israel, bimuelos are a Sephardic tradition for Jews from Spain and Greece and sfenj, a Moroccan treat, are often eaten as a Hanukkah treat by Mizrahi Jews from the Maghreb.”

Sfenj is a Moroccan donut made with a very wet, mildly-sweet dough. 

“The dough is firmer than bimuelos dough, so you can form a ring with the dough, rather than just spooning it into the oil,” she said. “Sfenj are sold as street food in Morocco sometimes strung together on palm fronds and are eaten for breakfast or tea time.”

Photo by Beth Lee

Sfenj (Moroccan Donuts)

PREP TIME: 15 mins
COOK TIME: About 4 minutes per batch of donuts
Makes one dozen donuts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry or instant yeast
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
¼ cup orange juice
2 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more to oil the bowl
1 large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar

Mix the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, whisk the flour, yeast, granulated sugar, salt, orange zest. (Pro-tip: Mix the orange zest and sugar together first to really help distribute the zest in the dough and avoid any clumping) In a medium bowl or big measuring cup, whisk together the water, orange juice, oil, and beaten egg. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and let the mixer work the dough for about 5 minutes on medium low. 

Rise: Move the dough with a dough scraper to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside to rise until tripled in size, about three hours.

Prepare for frying: Line a platter with a paper towel. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a medium saucepan to 350 – 375°F. 

Prepare the dough rings: Use a dough scraper to move the dough to a lightly floured surface. With extra flour at hand, fold the dough onto itself a few times to get a feel of it and form it into a rough rectangle. If the dough sticks to your hands even with a bit of flour, wet your hands. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 12 pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ring by rolling the dough into a ball, then flatten it, poke a hole and then stretch the hole out. No need for perfection, these are meant to be organic-looking, not perfectly round. Place each ring onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Deep-fry: Drop each dough ring into the fryer, not crowding the pot. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the donut with a slotted spoon or tongs to the prepared platter. Repeat with the rest of the dough rings. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the powdered sugar or granulated sugar. 

“There’s nothing like a comforting warm donut from your favorite bakery or straight from your own kitchen,” Pam Stein, of In Pam’s Kitchen, told the Journal. “Donut love is real.” 

Stein’s Rocky Road donuts are perfect for the chocoholic. Plus, they’re baked, not fried.


Rocky Road Donuts

Yields 8 donuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp slivered almonds 

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 Tbsp rum

Kosher marshmallow spread, kosher mini marshmallows and slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 2 six-cavity donut pans with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Mix in the slivered almonds.

Using a scantily filled #16 cookie scoop (or scant 4 tablespoons) fill the cavities of the donut pans, filling each 2/3 way full. With a knife, smooth the batter to make level.

Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a donut comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small saucepan, warm chocolate and whipping cream, whisking often until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in rum.

Place a dollop of marshmallow spread in the center of each donut. Top donut with mini marshmallows and sprinkle with slivered almonds.

Using a spoon or squeeze bottle, drizzle chocolate ganache over the donuts.

Store donuts in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

For a gluten free option, use a measure-for-measure gluten-free flour. Recipe was tested with King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour.

If using a mini-donut maker, follow the manufacturer’s directions for baking time and amount of batter to use.

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