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As a kid, I knew one thing about Hanukkah: it included latkes and doughnuts and Christmas didn't. This made me more than a little sad that my family didn't celebrate the holiday. In my opinion, even the best Christmas cookie can't compete with a latke or doughnut fresh from the fryer.
Thankfully my mom's friend Judy provided all the laktes and doughnuts I could eat. This year I asked for her doughnut recipe—I didn't want to spend another holiday season jelly doughnut-less.
The doughnuts Judy made were jelly doughnut bites. "They're not doughnut holes because I don't make the full-size doughnut!" Judy told me after I asked for her "doughnut hole" recipe. (When I mentioned that jelly doughnuts don't actually have a hole, Judy laughed at me.) Thinking it might be a family tradition, I asked why she made doughnut "bites" and not full-size doughnuts. Did her mom make doughnut bites?
Her reply showed Judy's no-nonsense nature: "Tradition? No! My mother made regular doughnuts. Bites are just easier. I got the idea from Dunkin Donuts' Munchkins. They were new at the time and my kids loved 'em."
After I worked with the recipe, I understood what she meant about bites being easier. The recipe makes a soft dough. Not so soft that it's hard to fry but soft enough that rolling it out into large doughnuts might present a challenge. The size of the doughnuts isn't the only place Judy sidestepped tradition. Her doughnut bites are cake doughnuts—yes, cake jelly doughnuts—instead of traditional yeast-raised doughnuts.
The resulting doughnuts, which include just a little nutmeg and lemon extract, are a delicately flavored and tight-crumb "home style" cake doughnut. (Actually, they are very similar to the Munchkins that inspired the recipe.)
Like Judy, you could squeeze a little jam into the finished doughnut holes. Or, if you aren't in the mood for a jelly doughnut, dip them into a honey glaze or roll the doughnuts into granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. You could even leave them unadorned, even plain these doughnuts bites are a treat.
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