The end of the (secular) year is approaching quickly, and with it Hanukka. This is a typical holiday when waistlines will expand from eating calorie-rich sufganiyot (doughnuts), and wallets will deplete because of all the presents that need to be bought.
In our home, we still prefer the traditional, jelly-filled doughnut, but we've seen many examples of exotic variations this year - and not always to the liking of children. Roladin makes some exotic sufganiyot in Caribbean style, called Jamaica, Aruba, and Havana. The Jamaica variety is filled with bitter chocolate and rum, with a frosting of chocolate and nuts; Aruba is filled with creme patissier cooked in coconut milk, pineapple and pina colada, with a frosting of white chocolate and coconut slivers; and the Havana doughnut comes with a milk chocolate filling cooked in coconut milk and coffee liquor, with a frosting of bitter chocolate and peanuts. The Roladin sufganiyot are quite small, compared to others, but here you can probably find the varieties most to the liking of adults. The price for a traditional, jelly-filled doughnut is NIS 4.5, and the gourmet doughnuts are NIS 6.5 a piece; the chain also offers mini-doughnuts for NIS 3.5.
The Bonjour bakeries make some varieties that look very appealing to children, especially the ones with pink or chocolate frosting and sprinkles. In addition to the traditional jelly-filled doughnuts, Bonjour makes sufganiyot filled with chocolate, caramel cream, whipped cream, blueberry cream, and with vanilla cream and chocolate frosting, or vice versa. Also available are the American style doughnuts with a hole in the middle, called Sufgaliya. The Bonjour doughnuts can be bought in big supermarket chains such as Coop Blue Square, Hatsi Hinam, or Yad Yitshak for much more economic prices. A box of six regular sufganiyot is NIS 10; a box of four with different fillings and frostings is NIS 10; and the price for one sufganiya is NIS 1.5-2.5.
The Supersol chain has its own sufganiyot, baked by the regular bakery for Supersol, Gidron. Here no exotic ware - just the plain, but tasty, jelly-doughnut in two sizes - regular and mini. Prices vary from NIS 1.69 to NIS 3, and if you buy five, you will get one extra for free.
English Cake has a few different varieties such as doughnuts filled with jelly, caramel cream, vanilla cream, chocolate, and blueberry, and the new flavors of this year, pistachio cream and cappuccino cream. Those who are afraid of all the calories can enjoy mini-size doughnuts or the calorie-reduced doughnuts that contain only 280 calories a piece, as opposed to the 400 calories hidden in a regular doughnut. The price for a sufganiya at English cake is NIS 4-4.5, and a mini-sufganiya is NIS 3-3.5.
Tal Bagels makes some interesting varieties of doughnuts, also the ones with the hole in the middle, with different frostings and fillings. A classic doughnut with strawberry jam filling is NIS 3.5 or NIS 4.5, depending on the size, and big sufganiyot with caramel cream, chocolate, vanilla cream, and decorated with chocolate frosting with white or dark chocolate chips or sprinkles is NIS 6.5. If you buy 10 doughnuts, you will receive one for free.
The Ben Ami bakeries offer their clients different sizes of doughnuts, from size S to size L, as well as doughnuts without added sugar, with fillings such as mocha, chocolate, halva, vanilla cream, and caramel cream. A box of twelve mini-doughnuts goes for NIS 29 (or NIS 36 for those without sugar) and a large doughnut is NIS 4.5-5.5.
Pay attention to what the doughnut looks like when you buy it: There should be a white line in the middle, a sign that the doughnut is airy and didn't absorb oil, and the width should be about 1.5 times as much as the height. The amount of powdered sugar should be generous, and the jelly should be thick and not too much liquid - but of course you will only notice that when it's already too late. The doughnut will taste better after you heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds.
If you want to make your own doughnuts, you can use many good quality jams, and if you prefer jam with no added sugar, try Marmelite's Comfitures. Marmelite Light jams are suitable for people with diabetes, as well, and have the approval of the Israel Diabetes Association. The price for a 305 gr. jar is NIS 14 until the end of this month, after which it will be NIS 16.
If you want to let your kids decorate the sufganiyot, you can get some kind of round spoons with a template in it to make a smiley face or a butterfly with powdered sugar. These templates are available at cook stores such as Domo for NIS 26.
Another traditional food eaten during Hanukka is latkes or potato pancakes. According to Haim Ben Ari, distributor of the Dod Moshe potatoes, good potatoes are those suitable for frying, such as the Rodeo or Dazira potatoes. At the website www.dodmoshe.co.il you will find lots of information about potatoes, as well as recipes. For frying potato pancakes, you can use olive oil, such as Yad Mordechai's olive oil for frying and cooking.