As Hanukkah approaches this year from December 7-15, Twin Cities residents looking for sufganiyot have several bakeries to choose from. These sweet, fried treats are a beloved part of the Jewish Festival of Lights. But what exactly are sufganiyot and why are they so popular during the holiday season?
What is a Sufganiyah?
A sufganiyah (plural sufganiyot) is a round jelly-filled doughnut that is traditional to eat in Israel and Jewish communities around the world during the Hanukkah holiday. The word comes from the Hebrew word “sof” meaning sponge or dough.
Why Eat Sufganiyot Over Hanukkah?
The history of the sufganiyah stretches back centuries and across continents. Though the name comes from Hebrew, these jelly donuts actually originate from the North African treat called Sfeni, a savory, deep-fried dough typically filled with mushrooms or meat.
Jelly donuts first appeared in 1485 within a German cookbook. Unlike modern sufganiyot, these pastries sandwiched jelly between two dough circles to create a jam cookie. Germans called them Berliners. By the 1800s, they were also known as Bismarck’s.
While popular across Europe, these early jelly donuts weren’t kosher, as they were fried in lard. Eastern European Jewish bakers altered a similar recipe – the Polish paczki – by frying the dough in oil instead, creating ponchiks.
When Jews fled to Israel in the 1900s seeking refuge, they brought ponchiks, combining them with North Africa’s Sfeni and the jelly filling of German Berliners to create the modern sufganiyah.
Where to Get The Best Sufganiyot in the Twin Cities?
Funner Brothers Bakehouse
The recently renamed Funner Brothers (formerly Valley Pastries) is offering strawberry, apple, raspberry, Bavarian cream and lemon-filled sufganiyot dusted with powdered sugar.
They also have Hanukkah cookie decorating kits for sale online for those looking to celebrate at home.
Bogarts Doughnut Company
Bogarts sells out of their kosher house made triple berry jam, powdered sugar coated Sufganiyot each year. Available starting December 1st, these will be around all month long. Orders of 12 or more need an advance online orders.
They have limited quantities available in-store during the holiday. With two locations, one in Downtown Minneapolis and in St Louis Park, Bogarts will be making the holiday’s a little sweeter.
Glam Doll Donuts
Glam Doll is doing a simpler take on the sufganiyot this year – their version is filled with strawberry jam and generously tossed with sugar.
They will be available starting December 7th for walk-in customers in Minneapolis. You can pre-order these too on their website under specialty donuts.
YoYo Donuts makes their raspberry “raspberry bomb” doughnuts year-round, but they add powdered sugar instead of glaze to make them special sufganiyot for Hanukkah.
These can be ordered ahead or purchased in-store during Hanukkah week.
If you’re looking for the perfect Hanukkah treat, stop by one of these local bakeries from December 7th-15th and grab some sufganiyot while you can!