Hanukkah food & gifts | Wake-up call: Brunch tweaks Hanukkah favorites

One of my favorite ways to celebrate Hanukkah is over brunch. Yes, it’s nontraditional — and you can’t enjoy the experience of lighting the menorah together at sundown or singing holiday songs.

But it’s a great way to change the routine, especially if you have young kids and want to work around nap and bedtime schedules.

Serve Dill Potato Latkes with Caper and Lemon Crème Fraîche and a seasonal winter Blood Orange and Goat Cheese Salad, and add tradition with sufganiyot. Can’t find crème fraîche? Substitute sour cream or Greek yogurt for an easy fix.

Sufganiyot are much more popular in Israel, where bakeries feature an array of flavors beginning as early as October. In the United States, the flavors are more limited to jam and perhaps chocolate. But these round, fried doughnuts aren’t that difficult to make and lend themselves to any combination of flavors that you fancy.

I love peanut butter and jelly with baked goods, and so I decided to combine Israeli-style sufganiyot with the classic American PB&J. Whether it’s Hanukkah or not, doughnuts really are a perfect brunch food. So are the latkes when they are topped with lox. Have a peanut allergy? Swap out the peanut butter in the glaze for cashew or almond butter. Instead of salted peanuts, substitute cashews or almonds, or exclude the nuts completely.

Serve these dishes with mimosas and a strong pot of coffee. You might miss the sparkling lights of the menorah, but you won’t think twice about that applesauce or sour cream.


Blood Orange and Goat Cheese Salad

Serves 4 to 6

3 blood oranges, peel removed and cut into sections

1 navel orange, peel removed and cut into sections

1⁄4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

2 oz. crumbled goat cheese

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. honey

1⁄2 lemon, zest and juice

salt and pepper to taste

Alternate the blood orange and navel orange slices decoratively on a platter. Sprinkle chopped pecans or walnuts and goat cheese on top.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, honey, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad and serve.


Dill Potato Latkes with Caper and Lemon Crème Fraîche

Makes 2 dozen

6 medium-large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 small onions, or 1 medium-large onion, cut into large chunks

2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

1⁄4–1⁄2 cup flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

vegetable oil for frying

1 cup crème fraîche

1–2 Tbs. chopped capers

1⁄2 lemon, juice and zest

pinch salt

8–10 oz. fresh smoked salmon

Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a hand grater, coarsely grate potatoes, onions and garlic. Place in a large bowl.

Add flour, eggs, dill, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until completely combined. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes. Drain excess liquid.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using your hands, make a small latke patty and squeeze out excess liquid. Fry 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on wire cooling rack atop a baking sheet, which you can keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Mix together the crème fraîche, capers, lemon juice, zest and a pinch of salt.

Place piece of smoked salmon on each latke and top with about 1 tsp. of crème fraîche mixture. Garnish with more dill, if desired.


Peanut Butter & Jelly Sufganiyot

Makes 10–12

For the sufganiyot:

1 1⁄2 Tbs. dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1⁄2 cup lukewarm water

21⁄2 cups all-purpose flour

1⁄4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature

1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg

2 tsp. salt

vegetable oil for frying

For the glaze:

2 Tbs. milk

2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter (or nut butter)

1 cup powdered sugar

1⁄4 cup chopped, salted peanuts (or other nuts)

For the filling:

1 1⁄2 cups raspberry jam

Combine yeast, 1 tsp. sugar and water in a small bowl. Mix gently and allow to sit until top gets foamy, around 5 to 10 minutes.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sufganiyot photo/jta-shannon sarna

In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, add flour, sugar, eggs, butter, nutmeg and salt. Add yeast mixture and mix on low for 2 minutes. Increase speed and mix another 5 minutes. You can also do this by hand with a wooden spoon, which will take slightly longer.

Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise 21⁄2 to 3 hours.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a round biscuit cutter or drinking glass, cut rounds. Place on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise another 20 minutes.

While doughnuts are rising again, whisk the milk, peanut butter, powdered sugar and chopped peanuts together to make the glaze.

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat until a thermometer reads about 370 degrees. Fry each round for 30 to 40 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Immediately spoon peanut butter glaze over the top.

Fill a pastry bag with jam and cut the tip. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Wiggle the toothpick around a bit to open up the inside of the doughnut. Fit the pastry bag into the hole, pipe about 2 tsp. jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

Add an extra dot of jam on top if desired.

Shannon Sarna is editor of the Nosher blog on