As Chanukah approaches, all of us weight watchers worry how to keep our motivation intact as luscious, hot fried fare is served before our noses. Well, I have news for you: this Chanukah you won't need to feel deprived with the following whole wheat recipe ideas which are baked instead of fried. In addition, making your own pretzels and donuts lets you control portion size so making them small will help you move closer to a size "Small" too!

Photos and Styling by: Henny Moskowitz

Whole Wheat Hot Pretzels with Cream Cheese Dip

These hot pretzels really remind me of the NY vendors in Manhattan. I've never tasted one there of course and I'm sure they don't come anywhere near these!

Yields 15-20 pretzels

For the dough:

  • 2.2 lbs. whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1½ tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 550 ml. warm water

For the "water-bath":

  • 2 liters water
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda

For egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

Topping options:

  • Sesame seeds, Kosher salt, poppy seeds, crushed garlic chips

Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the center and pour the yeast inside. Cover with flour. Add the rest of the ingredients, making sure the salt doesn’t come in contact with the yeast as salt ruins the leavening effect of yeast.

Mix with the kneading attachment until a soft, elastic ball of dough is formed. Cover and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into equal parts and roll each one into a long rope. Form a pretzel shape and place on a baking pan lined with baking paper.

Meanwhile, boil the water for the water-bath in a large pot then add the baking soda and mix until dissolved.

Heat the oven to 400F.

Dunk each pretzel shape into the "bath" for about 15 seconds and place on a lined baking pan.

Beat the egg wash with a fork in a small bowl and brush on all the forms. Sprinkle one of the topping options on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dark brown.

Flavored Cream Cheese Dip

You don't need a recipe for this but you must try it!

When my husband was in Greece recently, he told the goyish manufacturer he was working for about my homemade cream cheese. The guy said he wants to taste it. So I made some before my husband's next trip and the Greek could not believe how delicious it tasted. He said it's even better than the Philadelphia cream cheese he's used to.

It's good to know that Cholov Yisroel produce tastes better than the general dairy produce as even a goy attests to. So now you know you aren't missing out on anything. But what really made me happy is the Kiddush Hashem my cream cheese made in Greece.

What you need is a good brand of sour cream. Put it into a cheese cloth or cloth diaper and hang over your sink for 2-4 hours to strain the liquids.

Put into a bowl and add salt to taste. This is the original flavor. For different flavors, add garlic powder and dill or grated carrots and dried onion pieces or chives.

Chocolate Covered Mousse Filled Mini Donuts

Make these whole wheat, eye stopping baked donuts for a beautiful yet healthful twist on the "same old" this Chanukah. Your family and friends will love them and they'll be so grateful to you for helping them cut down on superfluous calories.

Yields: 15-18 donuts

For the donut batter:

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice or water
  • 1¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

For the chocolate shell:

  • 100 grams baking chocolate

For the chocolate mousse:

  • ¼ cup (50 grams) bittersweet chocolate
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) dairy/parve whipped cream

To prepare the donuts:

Beat the eggs in a mixer, gradually adding the sugar. Add the rest of the batter ingredients and continue to mix until well combined.

Spray a donut pan with cooking oil and pour the batter into each of the forms filling them only half way.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Release the donuts from the pan and place them on a lined tray.

To prepare the chocolate shell:

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a plastic cup in the microwave at 20 second intervals. Dunk the top half of each donut in the chocolate and put on the lined tray to dry.

To prepare the chocolate mousse:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave with ¼ cup whipped cream. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about ½-1 hr. beat with 100 gr. until stiff

TopTip!

For easier coating of the donuts with chocolate, freeze the donuts for a couple of hours before hand. This way the melted chocolate will harden almost immediately on the frozen donuts giving them a smoother look.