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Hanukkah has finally arrived, and what better way to celebrate the Festival of Lights than with all the delicious food the holiday has to offer? When deciding which recipes to choose, there seem to be a lot of variations of the same dishes. So, we asked a few notable Jewish food bloggers to tell us what their favorite recipe is to make around Hanukkah, and the results did not disappoint.
These recipes have been perfected by the internet's best and all have unique spins on them that make these treats something you'll want to have on this year's Hanukkah table. With some sweet options and some savory varieties, you can try one of these for each night of the holiday — with a few days to spare to indulge in the leftovers.
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1. Eitan Bernath's Hanukkah Croquembouche
You can never go wrong with an Eitan Bernath recipe — this one included. Croquembouche, a cream puff pastry arranged in a cone shape and bound together by caramel, is traditionally a French dessert and may not come to mind when you think of Hanukkah. However, Bernath has combined the aesthetic of the French treat with the Jewish tradition of jelly donuts to create a hybrid Hanukkah version. Even better, this recipe makes personal versions of croquembouche, meaning you get a mini tower all to yourself.
"As a young Jewish kid, I regularly saw gorgeous photos of towering croquembouche, but since they aren't a traditional Jewish dessert, I never got to try one," Bernath tells Hunker. "With this recipe, I'm changing that forever. I've taken the beautiful traditions of Hanukkah food and combined them with the method and aesthetic of croquembouche, which means, I donut-fied it. Instead of the traditional choux pastry to make cream puffs, I've fried up a few dozen donut holes."
2. Amy Kritzer Becker's Fried Pickle Latkes
Latkes are a Hanukkah staple, and Amy Kritzer Becker of What Jew Wanna Eat has taken the classic up a notch by incorporating pickles. If you like fried pickles, you'll love this Jewish spin, and Becker even pairs the creation with a mouthwatering everything bagel ranch dipping sauce. Plus, the recipe calls for little prep and is fairly simple to make, so you can have these steaming on your plate in just 35 minutes. A pretty sweet (or fried) deal, if you ask us.
"Fried Pickle Latkes with Everything Bagel Ranch are inspired by my favorite late night diner food," says Becker. "The salty, crispy pickles pair perfectly with the warm, crunchy potato coating and cool ranch dipping sauce."
3. New York Shuk's Sfenj (Moroccan Donuts)
Sfenj is an Arabic word that translates to "sponge," which is exactly the consistency of these Moroccan donuts. They are crispy on the outside, yet airy on the inside, making for a melt-in-your-mouth treat. Traditionally, the donuts are dipped in sugar or honey, but New York Shuk's version calls for a saffron and cardamom syrup or a syrup of Ras el Hanout, a Moroccan spice combination. Sfenj is a street food eaten all year long in Morocco, but this dessert is served around Hanukkah among Jewish communities.
"Besides just being one of his favorite recipes, Ron has very fond memories of his grandmother making sfenj for the whole family (his mother's side of the family is Moroccan)," said co-founder Leetal Arazi of her husband and partner Ron Arazi. "It was something they looked forward to and it's just one of those recipes that brings everyone of all ages together."
4. Tori Avey's Sufganiyot
Sufganiyot are jelly-filled donuts topped with powdered sugar and are traditionally served as a Hanukkah treat. Tori Avey's tasty recipe is thorough and addresses common roadblocks you may come across in the kitchen, like the dough cooking too fast or the donuts being too dense. If you follow Avey's instructions, you shouldn't have any issues at all.
"Yes, sufganiyot are difficult to make," the chef writes in a blog post. "Figuring out a foolproof recipe for sufganiyot has taken me years of patience, trial, and error. To be honest, it's much easier going to the bakery! But many readers have requested a from-scratch recipe through the years, so I made it my mission to develop a reliable and delicious one."
5. Rachel Manor's Crispy Potato Latkes
Rachel Manor of Mama Living Abroad seems to have perfected the classic potato latke recipe. All of the variations of the classic dish really show how much of a Jewish comfort food latkes really are. "Latke" is the Yiddish word for "pancake" and Manor's savory recipe is both fluffy and crispy. All you need to get cooking are potatoes, onion, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Pair with a little sour cream, applesauce, or even cream cheese, and you'll have all your Hanukkah guests coming back for seconds.
"In my family, no Hanukkah celebration is complete without potato latkes," Manor writes in her blog post. "Every time I make them, it takes me back to fun-filled Hanukkah nights at my grandparents' house. We would gather around the chanukiah and eat latkes and sufganiyot until our tummies hurt."