Blame it on the rise of the humble doughnut to celebrity gourmet status. Montclair Bread Company put N.J. doughnuts on the map in 2014 when owner Rachel Crampsey won the grand prize in the “Donut Showdown.”
Now the 25th of Kislev is fast approaching…doughnuts, sufganiyot, and sfinj (traditional Moroccan doughnuts) are coming to Greater Metro-West in celebration of Chanukah. Once upon a time kosher bakeries couldn’t be counted on to make the traditional raspberry jelly-filled dough fried in oil, symbolic of the holiday miracle. (You’ve heard the story about the oil in the Temple lasting for eight days?) Today even non-kosher bakeries have special Jewish holiday offerings.
South Orange’s expert baker, Shannon Sarna, author of The Nosher and recently published “Modern Jewish Baker” (The Countryman Press), told NJJN there is a difference between American-style jelly doughnuts and the jelly doughnuts known by the Hebrew word sufganiyot. “Sufganiyot are a bit doughier and yeastier than an American jelly donut, which are lighter.” She added that there are other minor differences, like Israelis filling the dough from the top and Americans from the side.
“At the end of the day,” she said, “the bottom line is a fried proper yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jam.”
Sarna is on tap to make the classic variety, although peanut butter and jelly and crème brulee flavors are also on her “to do” list for Chanukah this year. Fortunately, those not interested in making the treats from scratch can purchase them from a number of places. Sufganiyot are widely available during next week’s holiday.
Oh, and about that raspberry jam? Sure, you can indulge in the traditional, but some of the bakeries listed below are creative and going way beyond jelly. Nutella or orange-cranberry compote filling, anyone?
Many bakeries, like Swiss Chalet in Morristown and Vaccaro’s in Clark (neither are kosher), have jelly doughnuts every day, as does Dunkin’ Donuts. (Dunkin’ Donuts in Elizabeth is certified kosher under the supervision of Rabbi Elazar Teitz of Elizabeth.) For a version free of gluten, grain, and dairy, Squirrel & The Bee in Short Hills (under the supervision of Rabbi Stephen Bayar, Congregation B’nai Israel) sells sweet potato doughnuts that are baked rather than fried.
Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of some of the vendors that will be selling sufganiyot made in-house or imported from Brooklyn or other locations. Some stores require pre-ordering. Kosher supervision is noted.
Next week: Going Moroccan on sufganiyot with chef Meny Vaknin, owner of Marcel Bakery & Kitchen, and a completely unscientific, but delicious, taste test of the doughnuts in our area.
A selection of places in Greater MetroWest selling sufganiyot:
Cait & Abby’s Daily Bread (kosher supervision by Rabbi Mark Mallach, Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield)
15 Sloan St.
The bakery, located under the South Orange train station, will offer its version of sufganiyot.
Jerusalem Pizza (Vaad Harabonim of MetroWest, NJ)
99 West Mount Pleasant Ave.
The vegetarian restaurant will be making sufganiyot.
Marcel Bakery & Kitchen (no kosher supervision)
631 ½ Valley Road
Israeli owner and chef Meny Vaknin, who also owns MishMish in Montclair, will be offering a Moroccan twist on Israeli sufganiyot.
Montclair Bread Company (no kosher supervision)
113 Walnut St.
Montclair Bread Company, the self-described bakery with “a doughnut addiction,” is offering three assorted donut boxes that must be pre-ordered and are available for pickup starting Dec. 12: a dozen doughnuts (six jelly doughnuts — two each of three jam flavors and six Chanukah ones, decorated in blue and white with a piece of chocolate gelt on top); nine jelly donuts (three each of three jam flavors); or a dozen assorted doughnuts, no substitutions, ranging from flavors such as Fruity Pebbles to tres leches to the very treif maple bacon. Of course, you can also walk in and order from the day’s selections.
Natale’s Summit Bakery (no kosher supervision)
185 Broad St.
Natale’s, a family-run Italian bakery, will make jelly donuts for Chanukah. The store recommends ordering in advance.
Palmers Sweetery & Café (no kosher supervision)
1 Highland Place
Palmer’s typically only offers doughnuts on Sundays, but for Chanukah customers can pre-order for pickup any day the following donut flavors, which come in a box of six, during Chanukah: cranberry orange compote; traditional raspberry; or Nutella.
Super Duper Bagels (Vaad Harabonim of MetroWest, NJ)
498 S. Livingston Ave. #3
Arguably the best bagels in the area, Super Duper is frying its own sufganiyot with dough from Israel.
West Orange Bake Shop (Vaad Harabonim of MetroWest, NJ)
480 Pleasant Valley Way
West Orange, NJ
This bakery, a staple of West Orange, will make sufganiyot throughout the holiday. Call in advance to be sure they are available.
Several restaurants are bringing in doughnuts for Chanukah. These include:
Pita on Essex (no kosher supervision)
182 Essex St.
Pre-ordering is recommended.
Rye Deli (Vaad Harabonim of MetroWest, NJ)
779 Mountain Ave.