If you’re anything like me, the end of year holidays are as much about food—especially desserts—as they are about traditions and symbolism. When all of those things come together, it feels like the *chefs kiss* of celebrations.
Hanukkah is a perfect example of this assertion. The holiday dates back about 2,200 years, to when a small group of freedom fighters accomplished the unthinkable by overthrowing their powerful oppressors. As they moved to mark the occasion with a ceremony, another miracle occurred: The oil they thought would only provide enough energy to light the ritual candle for one night somehow lasted eight days and nights.
Today, the Jewish diaspora around the world continues to celebrate the festival of lights every year with traditions that honor the miraculous events of that week, by lighting the menorah candles each night, playing a game called dreidel and eating hearty foods fried in oil, like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), both of which have storied myths of their own: Latkes are said to be the legacy of a righteous badass named Judith, while sufganiyot are believed to be the result of a confluence of contributions from various cultures within the diaspora.
Which brings us to this moment, some two-plus millenia after that first Hanukkah, ready to celebrate another year of history and family and miracles—and I can’t imagine a better way to do that than with rich, sweet, fried dough (like I said, I’m all about the holiday desserts).
So whether you’re grabbing one on the go for a quiet commemoration on your own, or lighting your menorah candles with a crew, here are the places to go for jelly doughnuts worthy of a two-thousand-year-old celebration of light.
245 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Heights
Plus five locations in Manhattan, and one in Queens
Go for: DP made its name on its peanut butter and jam square doughnut for good reason. If you’re with a group, the three-ring ripple doughnut is both customizable and can be cut in half and fashioned into an edible menorah.
222 Montrose Ave., Williamsburg
102 St. Mark’s Pl., Lower East Side
Go for: Dun-Well’s all-vegan selection makes it a natural choice for plant-based revelers. Jelly doughnut purists will love both the raspberry-filled and PB&J, and for those who think outside the holiday dessert box, the cherry and blueberry pie flavors are divine.
Peter Pan Donuts
727 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint
Go for: The classic powdered jelly can’t be missed at this old-school shop that’s been open since the 1950s. And if you’re in the market for treats beyond the jelly-filled variety, every single item here warrants multiple drool emojis.
The Doughnut Project
10 Morton St., West Village
912 7th Ave., Columbus Circle
Go for: You’ll have to schlep to Manhattan for the Doughnut Project’s unique delights—which include the decidedly not kosher maple bacon bar—but the award-winning beet and ricotta doughnut is well worth the trek.
6822 5th Ave., Bay Ridge
Go for: Another classic, decades-old spot where the classic glazed jelly-filled is the way to go. If you’re feeding a crowd, grab a variety, including some with toppings like Cocoa Pebbles or Fruit Loops—a baker’s dozen starts at $8!