Hanukkah starts at sundown tonight. For many of my friends, this means the start of several days of holiday parties, and gatherings of family and friends over good food. Part of the tradition of Hanukkah is eating fried foods, using oil in celebration of an historic miracle where a single day’s worth of oil lasted for eight days and nights. Fried potato pancakes, or latkes, are a staple of the holiday, and donuts are a traditional food as well. I’ve been to Hanukkah parties where a box of Krispy Kremes were set out on the dessert table, but I’ve been to even more where party hosts were looking to balance fried foods with lighter, healthier options.
For lighter fare, Oven-Baked Latkes can still come out crispy, with a fraction of the oil of their pan-fried counterparts. They’re good year round and always a popular choice for health-conscious Hanukkah partygoers. Sugar Donut Muffins are an alternative to deep fried donuts, that still deliver the flavor and texture of a good sugar donut.
On the slightly more fried side, you can go with fried latkes, a batch of fluffy Beignets with powdered sugar or some Pumpkin Spice Donuts to infuse some fall and winter spices into the menu. Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Rugelach are a traditional Jewish pastry, but not one that is necessarily traditional for Hanukkah because they’re not fried. That said, they’re still a very popular holiday cookie and I doubt anyone is going to say no to a batch of them at a holiday party.