The Festival of Lights, occurring this year from sunset on Dec. 8 through sunset on Dec. 16, provides opportunities to gather friends and family on cold winter nights, sustained by the comfort of home, joy in one another's presence and delicious fried foods.
During Hanukkah, tradition dictates eating fried foods or foods baked in oil, in commemoration of the oil that lit the Temple in Jerusalem for eight nights. Potato pancakes, fritters and doughnuts are commonly served as Hanukkah treats. Try making your own applesauce for the traditional latke topping.
Jesse's Favorite Crispy-Baked Potato Pancakes by Nina Simonds
Potato Latkes by Judy Bart Kancigor
Potato-Chive Cakes by Linda Zimmerman
Chunky Honey Applesauce by Amanda Stine and Mary Garland
While potatoes are the most recognized basis for latkes, other vegetables that also take well to frying, like carrots, sweet potatoes and zucchini, all provide good results.
Vegetable Latkes by Sharon Lebewohl
Aharoni's Pan-Sephardic Leek Latkes by Joan Nathan
Honey-Ginger Carrot and Parsnip Latkes With Crème Fraiche by Anne Bramley
One of the most well known Hanukkah foods, particularly in Israel, is sufganiyot, yeast doughnuts deep-fried in oil. Cheese often filled these pastries when made by Jewish cooks in Spain, while German Jews created the jelly-filled type and popularized them in Israel in the 1930s. Now, American and Israeli bakers create sufganiyot filled with a variety of flavors, like chocolate cream, vanilla custard or dulce de leche, as well as offering mini versions of the treats.
Israeli Doughnuts by Faye Levy
Soofganiyot With Jam by Faye Levy
In the Middle Ages, the custom of eating dairy foods, particularly cheese, during Hanukkah became widespread, drawn from the story of the Jewish heroine Judith who used cheese and wine to charm and then disarm the Babylonian army that besieged her village. Cheese blintzes and cheesecake are some of the dairy foods that have become common during Hanukkah.
Original New York Cheesecake by Beth Allen and Alan Rosen
Apple-Cinnamon Noodle Kugel With Sour Cream by Faye Levy
Cheese Blintzes by Mimi Sheraton
Of course, cold-weather favorites like brisket and chicken soup will always be welcome on a Hanukkah menu.
Belle's Chicken Soup by Lisa Schroeder
Brisket by Sharon Lebewohl