Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly Donuts

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly Donuts

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly DonutsWhy do Jewish people eat fried Jelly Donuts and Latkes on Hanukkah? Well, the story of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) says that the oppressed Maccabees defeated King Antiochus’ mighty troops and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. To celebrate, they attempted a ritual lighting of a seven-pronged Menorah candle, but there was oil for only one day. Miraculously, though, the oil lasted a full eight days. So at Hanukkah, Jewish people observe the custom of eating fried foods, notably latkes (fried potato pancakes) and sufganiyot, (fried jelly donuts), in commemoration of the miracle associated with the Temple oil.

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly DonutsThe traditional Hanukkah donut is deep-fried, filled with jelly or custard, and then topped with powdered sugar. Sounds delicious, right? Well, today many people, myself included, have lightened up on the oil for health reasons but want to maintain a sense of tradition.

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly Donuts
Baked Hanukkah donuts start with an idea (in a marked-up) cookbook

This year, I found myself looking at my mini donut pan, a baking pan I had not used in the 3 years since I bought it, and got to thinking about how to make a good tasting, not too sweet, very low oil baked jelly donut. (Grandma Ida in heaven, please understand.) I remembered the recipe in More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally for an easily made Dark Moist Spice Cake. I anddecided to adapt it by using less molasses and more maple syrup but altogether still less sweetener total. I cut the oil in half, too, not that the original amount of 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a whole cake is a lot.

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly DonutsBecause this was a test, I cut the original recipe in half. I wrote each change down and measured the batter (1 cup) as well as the amount of batter each cup in the pan would hold, which was 1 tablespoon. Note, the freshly made batter will be thin but you will find it thicker by the time you get to filling the 4th or 5th cup. I poured the batter from my favorite measuring cup, the 4T Mini by OXO which I refilled as needed. 

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly DonutsThe batter reached almost all the way to the top of each of the 12 molds. I had 1/4 cup leftover and baked 2 cupcakes in paper-lined silicon cupcake molds. These silicon cups hold 3/4 of the amount of batter compared to standard muffin tins. This is a lot of detail for a Gemini like me, but I have trained myself to pay attention and to write down all of the details worth remembering.

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly DonutsThe donuts baked in 9 minutes; the cupcakes a few minutes longer. I set the donut pan on an elevated cooling rack and after 1 minute, carefully ran a little offset spatula around each cake to release the sides.

Vegan Cupcakes
Cupcakes made with the same batter as donuts are ready for Christmas

I turned the cakes out onto the rack and was happy to see an indentation ready to fill with the jelly, or more accurately, no sugar-added jam.  When the cakes were fully cooled, I spooned a little jam into each indentation. In a few, I added some ganache, ‘cause why not? I dusted sifted powdered sugar over each one and set them on a plate that was lightly dusted with granulated sugar. Why the sugar? These cakes are moist and will stick after a while. It adds a bit of crunch and sweetness too but it’s optional. So what do you think? You don’t have to be Jewish to like (or love!) these lightly spiced minute donuts with jam.

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly Donuts

Vegan Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly Donuts

Hanukkah Spiced Mini Jelly Donuts

Fran Costigan
These vegan Spiced Mini Jelly Donuts are perfect for those who have lightened up on oil for health reasons and are looking for a healthier recipe to maintain the tradition of eating jelly donuts on Hanukkah.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 mini donuts and 2 cupcakes

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • pinch ground clove
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons soy or almond milk, or any favorite plant milk
  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil or mild tasting extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, grade A dark or dark amber
  • 1 tablespoon molasses, not blackstrap
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/8 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Oil a mini donut pan, even if it is nonstick.
  • Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the pastry flour, white flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves to the strainer. Whisk to sift the dry ingredients into the bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to aerate and distribute the ingredients.
  • Whisk the soymilk, oil, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, and vinegar in a separate medium bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth. It will be thin but active with bubbles.
  • Pour the batter into a small measuring cup or similar and fill each cavity of the donut pan almost to the top, with about 1 tablespoon of batter.
  • Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until the cakes have risen,  and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool the pan on a rack for 4-5 minutes. Run a flexible offset spatula around the sides of each cake. Turn the pan upside down over the cooling rack and cool bottom side up. You might have to bang the pan.
  • Fill each donut with naturally sweetened jelly or jam.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Enjoy!
  • The cakes can be frozen in an airtight container for a month. Defrost uncovered.

Notes

Tips: Dust with sugar before serving since the dusting may disappear into the cakes.
It’s okay to fill the cakes a day ahead and keep them in a lightly closed container at room temperature overnight. They don’t get soggy.
Freeze them unfilled if making the cakes ahead.
Of course, if you are making full size donuts, you’ll need more batter.
If you like the sound of this recipe, double it and bake an 8x8 inch square cake.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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