Hanukkah cometh

Dairy Free, dessert, Hanukkah, quick breads and tea cakes, Vegan

Oh dear. Seventeen years of trying to forget about my jewish day school experiences and I find myself baking jelly “donut” cupcakes while humming ‘Don’t Let the Light Go Out’ the week before Hanukkah begins. What can you do? These memories of dressing up in blue and white and singing songs about the Maccabi children while wedged between a nose picker and the boy-you’d-like-to-hold-hands-with-but-has-no-idea-you’re-alive (and has since become a handsome gay filmmaker in L.A.), creep into our present and make it impossible to fry a latke in peace. So here we are, the week before Hanukkah and I am trying hard to claw my way through the bottomless pit of ashkenazi (eastern european) holiday recipes in search of something a little closer to my heart.

Here’s a start:

Vegan Jelly Donut Cupcakes! Hurray!

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Hanukkah, I’m hardly the person to explain what happened. But I do know this: there were some candles in oil and they burned for eight whole days without anyone having to do anything. So that’s kind of a miracle I guess, and that’s why on this holiday we fry things in oil. Two very popular fried Hanukkah treats are latkes (also known as levivot, in the mother land, and potato pancakes here in the United States) and jelly donuts or sufganiot.

Now I don’t know about you, but I like to make life easier for myself (and also save frying for things I really care about, like falafel…mmmm…) which often means preparing food ahead of time. Fried donuts are not nearly as good the next day or the day after, but these brilliant little cupcakes are actually better when eaten a day or so after they are made.

Enjoy and stay tuned for Potato Pancakes!

Jelly Donut Cupcakes from Veganomicon

1 cup soy or rice milk (you can also use regular milk if you like)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbs corn starch

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup all purpose and 1 cup whole what pastry- or, here in Israel a blend of all purpose and 70% whole wheat)

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup canola oil

3/4 plus 2 Tbs granulated sugar (I used a heaping 1/2 cup and they were plenty sweet)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

About 1/3 cup raspberry jam preserves (or any flavor you like)

confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Pour the soy milk, vinegar and cornstarch into a measuring cup, stir and set aside to curdle and thicken.

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Create a well in the center to pour your wet ingredients into.

Stir the soy milk mixture to dissolve starch then pour it into the dries along with the oil, sugar and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full with the batter. Place a heaping teaspoon of jam on the center of each cupcake. You don’t need to press down, it will sink during baking.

Bake for about 22 minutes until tops are golden and look firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks. Once cooled, set them someplace cool and dry overnight (uncovered if you can). Before serving, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar using a sifter or sieve.

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