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Sfinj (Moroccan Doughnuts)

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
5 cardamom pods
Pinch of saffron threads
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons yeast
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 to 4 cups water
Canola oil, for frying


Make the Sugar Syrup In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the syrup is the consistency of honey. (To test, place a few small plates in the freezer and drizzle a bit of the syrup on them throughout the cooking process.) Remove from the heat and let cool. Make the Doughnuts In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add 3 1/2 cups of water and mix thoroughly; the dough should be loose and sticky and doesnt need to hold its shape. Adjust the consistency if needed with the rest of the water. Cover the dough with cling plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Make the Doughnuts In the bowl, using your hands, fold the dough over onto itself few times. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, or until it doubles in volume. In a deep pan, heat 3 inches high of canola oil. Make the Doughnuts Wet your hands and cut a piece of dough the size of 2 golf balls. With 2 fingers quickly make a hole in the center and stretch it a little to form a ring shape. Repeat to form the remaining doughnuts. Make the Doughnuts Immediately and gently put the doughnuts in the oil and fry over moderate heat until golden on both sides. Drain the doughnuts on paper towels. Make the Doughnuts Serve the sfinj immediately and let your guests drizzle them with the sugar syrup.

Source: www.foodandwine.com