Every year during the week of Hanukkah, it’s our family tradition to make what we call “levivot“– fritters made from a simple batter, fried to fluffy crispy goodness, then drenched in warm flavored sugar syrup. While most Jews know levivot as the Hebrew word for latkes, the Israeli side of my family uses the word to describe any sort of little fried treat. Some Sephardic Jewish families sweeten these fritters with warm honey and call them bimuelos, or bunuelos. I call them delicious. This year, I took them to a whole new level by replacing our family’s traditional sugar syrup with a warm, rich chocolate sauce. Freshly fried, piping hot fritters dusted with powdered sugar, then drizzled with ooey gooey chocolate sauce… holy moly, who can resist?
Because traditional bimuelos are made with honey or sugar syrup, I’ve decided to call these “Hanukkah Fritters.” They’re kind of a cross between a bimuelo and a beignet. The chocolate sauce is made with semi-sweet chocolate, and can be sweetened more to taste. A hint of optional rose water in the chocolate sauce gives it a delectable aroma that really makes it special, taking it above and beyond an ordinary chocolate syrup or hot fudge. This sauce is creamy, chocolately, and decadent. I could eat it by the spoonful (and have been known to do just that!).
Be sure to fry the fritters for at least 3 minutes– if they’re browning too fast, they won’t cook all the way through. Try to serve them soon after you fry them, they’ll lose their lovely crisp exterior over time. The fritters themselves aren’t sweet. The chocolate sauce and powdered sugar give them sweetness, so don’t be afraid to pour both on liberally. Indulge yourself, it’s a holiday.
Chag Sameach! May your Hanukkah be filled with light, love, and lots of good eating.
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Hanukkah Fritters with Warm Chocolate Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- Grapeseed or peanut oil for frying
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Warm Chocolate Sauce Ingredients
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate
- 3 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Pinch salt
- 1/3 cup half and half, or more if needed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp rosewater (optional)
To Make Fritters
- In a mixing bowl, use a fork to mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Whisk the milk into the egg till well combined. Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a fork till a thick batter forms.
- Warm oil (use the whole bottle) over medium heat till hot enough for frying (around 365 degrees F). Use a metal soup spoon to scoop up each portion of batter. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into the hot oil. The oil should sizzle but not splatter-- if the oil pops or splatters, let it cool slightly before proceeding. Test one fritter first to see if you've got the oil temperature right. You want the oil temperature at the low end of the frying spectrum-- they take a while to cook through.
- Between each scoop of batter, dip your metal spoon into a dish of water. This will help keep the batter from sticking to the spoon. Make 4-5 fritters at a time. Keep a metal slotted spoon handy to turn the fritters as they become golden.
- Fry the fritters till golden brown on both sides. If the oil is at the right temperature, it should take about 3 minutes for the fritters to brown completely and cook all the way through. Drain fried fritters on a wire rack.
To Make Warm Chocolate Sauce
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat.
- Whisk in the sugar, butter, and salt, stirring constantly, till the butter is completely melted and mixed into the chocolate.
- Whisk in the half and half, a few tablespoonfuls at a time, stirring to combine after each addition. Whisk the sauce over medium heat till the half and half is fully incorporated. Add additional half and half as needed until the sauce reaches a smooth, pourable hot fudge-like consistency.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and optional rosewater. Add additional sugar or salt to taste, if desired. Chocolate will thicken as it cools.
- Dust the fried fritters with powdered sugar, using a wire mesh strainer to sift the sugar.
- Pour the warm chocolate sauce over the fritters and serve. Pairs well with fresh, cold whipped cream; you can also serve fritters and sauce over vanilla ice cream to make a Hanukkah fritter sundae.