Sundown tomorrow marks the beginning of Hanukkah for Jews worldwide. This holiday celebrates the miracle of oil – how one little cruet of sacred oil, enough to light the candles for one night, miraculously lasted for eight nights. As a result, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights, and foods that are traditionally eaten during these celebratory days are fried in oil.
We know that oil is a concentrated source of calories – about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon – calories which can quickly add up and put you over the top if you’re trying to watch your weight. But certain oils do have health benefits, if eaten in moderation. Both olive oil and canola oil are very low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat (the heart-healthy kind) and we know that fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (anti inflammatory properties). Popular, yet controversial is coconut oil, is a saturated fat that appears to have numerous health benefits. This is due to the fact that 60% of coconut oil is made up of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized much differently than the long-chain triglycerides found in traditional oils. Just make sure to choose virgin and unrefined coconut oil.
So, how do you keep your waistline nice and trim while including these healthier oils and chowing down on fried goodies? Make sure to measure them out and limit your intake to one to two tablespoons a day. A beloved traditional food enjoyed during Hanukkah is sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts). While it is usually fried in copious amounts of oil, we’ve worked our magic and lightened it up – all without sacrificing flavor. Try out this sweet Hanukkah recipe and enjoy it with loved ones as you spin the dreidel and sample some chocolate gelt.
- 1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm nonfat or 1% milk
- 5 tbs. turbinado sugar
- 1 tbs. canola oil
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 3 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- cooking spray
- 3/4 cup all-fruit preserves (flavor of your choice)
- powdered sugar
- Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Add remaining milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, and egg; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Add 2 cups of flour to yeast mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth. Stir in 1 cup flour to form soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tbs. at a time, to prevent doughnut from sticking to hands (dough will fell sticky).
- Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; spray the top of the dough. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch down dough; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide into 16 portions, rolling each into a ball.
- Place dough balls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until dough is doubled in size.
- preheat oven to 375F.
- Uncover dough balls. Place in oven and bake for 14 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.
- Make a pocket in each roll using the handle of a wooden spoon, pushing almost to the opposite end. Fill with 2 tsp. jam using a piping bag or a plastic condiment bottle. Sprinkle rolls with powdered sugar.