A Totally Sweet Chocolate Filled Sufganiah Recipe

Chocolate filled sufganiotAs Chanukah draws near (Tuesday evening, 12/16), we remember and celebrate the ancient victory of the Maccabees, restoring the Temple and our freedom to worship there.  It inspires us to think of contemporary issues of freedom and liberation in general.  The word “Chanukah” itself means “dedication”, so perhaps this holiday is a time to re-dedicate ourselves to seeking freedom/liberation for those who are unable to do so for themselves.

When I first learned about the issue of trafficked child labor in the cocoa fields, I immediately thought of the gelt that I’ve eaten every Chanukah since I was a young girl.  The sweetness of its taste in my mouth while playing dreidel is deeply embedded in my memory.   Now I was being introduced to its true bitter-sweet character.

Today, young children are trafficked and forced into working on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, where more than half the world’s cocoa is grown.  Many have been kidnapped from surrounding countries and brought to the Ivory Coast against their will.  They are forced to work long hours, often without pay; they do not receive any education.  Their work involves hazardous chemicals and pesticides, and the dangerous use of machetes.

The gelt we eat on Chanukah is a reminder of the freedom our people won many years ago. There is a choice that leans towards freedom – Fair trade certification prohibits the use of child labor.

The Talmud teaches that we don’t rely on miracles (Kiddushin 39b); we must take action ourselves to bring about redemption. On Chanukah, we celebrate the miracles of ages past, and we strengthen our resolve to make miracles happen today. Choosing Fair Trade Chanukah gelt moves us a step closer towards ending child labor and modern slavery around the world.

Here is a kavannah to enjoy with your fair trade gelt (Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, California):
“I hold more than chocolate in my hand. This product I have purchased is a mixture of bitter and sweet flavors, but it contains no taste of slavery. As Chanukah is an eight-day reminder that light can penetrate darkness, may this experience of tasting sweet freedom, the bounty of free people’s work, inspire me to add more light to the world”.

You can find fair trade gelt and free resources for Chanukah on Fair Trade Judaica’s website.

1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (keep some handy for your work surface)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or  peanut oil
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1/4 cup Divine 70% Bittersweet or Milk Chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a large metal bowl, stir together warm water and yeast. Let stand until foamy, around 5-7 minutes.
2. Add 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt; mix until well combined. Add egg yolks and remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and vanilla extract. Mix until combined, then knead dough in bowl. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead a few minutes until smooth. Knead in butter.
3. Transfer dough to a well-oiled bowl; turn dough several times to coat entirely with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
4. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to form doughnuts, remove dough from refrigerator to come to room temperature. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into an 11 inch square about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 inch cookie cutter (or a glass), cut out about 24 rounds, dipping cutter in flour as needed to prevent sticking. Re-roll scraps and cut out about 16 more rounds.
5. Line a baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg whites. Brush edge of a dough round with egg white, then mount 1/2 teaspoon jam or chocolate bar pieces in center, or both. Top with another round and press edges to seal. Repeat process with remaining rounds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; let doughnuts rise until puffy, 20 to 30 minutes.
6. Heat a few inches of oil in a large (4-5 quart) heavy pot until it registers 360 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer or a scrap of dough sizzles upon contact. Working in batches of 4 to 5, carefully slip doughnuts into hot oil. Fry, turning once until golden brown, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain.
7. Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl. While doughnuts are still hot, toss them in sugar, turning to coat. Serve immediately.

*** Developed by New York City pastry chef Keyin Fulford, inspired by a recipe from “Peace, Love and Chocolate”.  Recipe reprinted from Divine Chocolate website