Sfinj are traditional Moroccan donuts that are usually made at Chanukah and other family celebrations. The dough is made with baker’s yeast and is pretty simple to make, but it is very soft and sticky – so you must work quickly. —Shelly's Humble Kitchen
unbleached all-purpose flour
luke warm water
canola - for dipping hands while working with the dough
canola oil for deep frying
A plate or bowl with granulated sugar for sprinkling (Cinammon optional.)
1. Sift the flour into an electric mixer bowl with the dough hook. Crumble the yeast with your hands into the bowl. Add the sugar and water, and turn on the mixer on low speed for two minutes. Add the salt and mix for exactly two minutes. The dough should be very soft, so don’t be tempted to add more flour!
2. Put the dough into a bigger bowl and cover with some plastic wrap. Let the dough sit somewhere fairly warm – just over room temperature – but not too warm, e.g., don’t leave it near a radiator! Wait until it doubles in size – about 2 hours.
3. Use a wooden spoon dipped in oil to mix the dough for 1 minute, then cover again with the plastic wrap until the dough doubles in size again – about 30 minutes.
4. Put enough oil for deep frying in your biggest frying pan (about 3" deep) and turn the heat on medium high. (To check if the oil is at the right temperature, put a small piece of carrot in the pan. You should see bubbles. If there are no bubbles around the carrot, then the oil is not hot enough. If the carrot turns brown in less than 15 seconds, then the oil is too hot.)
5. When you're ready to fry, dip your hands in oil, then grab some dough with one hand, pull it up, and, with the other hand, pinch off a handful-sized piece. Hold the dough with two hands, and punch a hole in the middle of it with your fingers. (It sounds complicated but it's really easy and fun). Stretch the dough a bit to create a ring, then gently place it in the pan. Fill the pan with as many rings as you can fit. Cook until the bottom of the sfinj is golden brown, then flip them with a non-plastic spatula – about 2 minutes each side.
6. While the sfinj are cooking, place a paper towel on a large flat plate. When the sfinj are done on both sides, take them out of the pan and place on the paper towel, and start frying your second batch. While you wait for the second batch to cook, coat the ones that are done with the sugar. We ate them as soon as they cooled down a bit – they are best when still fresh and warm!
You can add some cinnamon in with the coating sugar, which makes them taste a bit like churros, the delicious Spanish fried pastry. Or you can drizzle on some maple or agave syrup, instead of the sugar, and those were yummy, too. (And, of course, you could always dip them in some jam!)