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Sufganiyot: Where to find NYC's top Hanukkah doughnuts

What could make the holidays even sweeter? Doughnuts, of course.

Happily, there's a holiday coming up that calls for eating them. Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, is also a Festival of Doughnuts. Sufganiyot, to be exact -- round Israeli doughnuts that are filled with either jelly or custard.

For Yonatan Floman, CEO of Breads Bakery, it's a little taste of nostalgia.

"Sufganiyot is something that, ever since I grew up, I remember in the '80s eating sufganiyot every Hanukkah," Floman said.

Like its savory holiday companion, the latke, the sufganiyah is meant to commemorate the Hanukkah miracle of a small amount of oil lasting for eight nights to keep a menorah lit.

"Traditionally, you eat a lot of stuff that are fried -- so you have latke, you have suygfaniyot," he explained.

What sets them apart from your typical doughnuts?

"You don’t have the hole in the middle. You have the filling basically injected inside," Floman said. "Traditionally, growing up every Hanukkah sufganiyah was always strawberry, with powdered sugar on top."

At Breads, you'll find the same, with high-quality ingredients, like jam from the Union Square Greenmarket. But Breads is known for putting a little spin on the classics -- Nutella babka, anyone? -- so it's offering up other varieties, too. The bakery is frying these doughnuts up all day every day through Dec. 20, so that you can grab a fresh one at any time.

The first night of Hannukah may not arrive until Dec. 12, but Breads is getting a head start to meet demand, Floman said: "There are certain holiday items like Hamentaschen and Sufganiyot that we love so much and the holiday isn’t long enough to satisfy that urge so we extend it."

Here's a look at the jelly doughnuts ovens around the city are popping out this time of year:

Underwest Donuts

This is not your typical sufganiyah. Infused with jelly, this cake doughnut comes hidden under a thick layer of powdered sugar. Adding a touch of whimsy are chewy, bright blue pate de fruits cut in the shape of the Star of David. Underwest's locations at Penn station and on the West Side Highway start selling them on Dec. 8. (2 Penn Plaza and 638 W. 47th St., Manhattan, underwestdonuts.com)

Zaro's Family Bakery

The fourth-generation bakery rolls out its jelly doughnuts to the hungry commuting masses at Penn and Grand Central stations on Dec. 11. At $11 for a box of six, they're filled with raspberry jam, fried and dusted with powdered sugar. (Multiple locations, zaro.com)

Padoca Bakery

For the eight days of Hanukkah starting Dec. 12, this bakery turning out all kinds of multicultural pastries "with Brazilian flair" (fun fact: "padoca" is São Paulo's word for "neighborhood bakery") is selling sufganiyot stuffed with either raspberry jelly or dulce de leche. A box of six costs $18, a box of 12 is $34. (359 E. 68th St., Manhattan, padocabakery.com)

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Tal Bagels

You might be heading to one of Tal's three locations for the bagels and lox, but the doughnuts are sure to tempt you. These beauties are available starting Dec. 15. (333 E. 86th St., 1228 Lexington Ave. and 357 First Ave., Manhattan, talbagelsny.com)

Orwasher's

Orwasher's has been around for 100 years, so you can trust them to fry up perfect sufganiyot -- and fill them to order with a selection of fresh jams available. (Right now, the options are raspberry, black raspberry, sour cherry, strawberry and pumpkin.) A doughnut, which costs $4.25, comes with either a dusting of sugar or chocolate frosting. (440 Amsterdam Ave. and 308 E. 78th St., orwashers.com)

Breads Bakery is celebrating Hanukkah with four kinds of sufganiyot: chocolate, lemon, dulce de leche and the classic strawberry jam. They made their 2017 debut on Dec. 1 and will be available through the end of the Jewish Festival of Lights on Dec. 20. Want to treat yourself? Buy one for $3.50. If you want to share the love, a box of six will set you back $18, a box of 12, $30. (18 E. 16th St., Manhattan, breadsbakery.com)