Sfinj – Moroccan Donuts

Categories: Cakes and Desserts, Hanukkah Recipes, Holidays

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Sfinj - Moroccan Donuts

I know it’s a worn-out saying but I’ll say it again, fortunately Hanukkah only comes around once a year, but when it does, this recipe is dynamite! These donuts are completely irresistible.
Just know that there’s a risk here that once you try this recipe you very well may find yourself making them all year round, not just on Hanukkah.
And I dare you to eat only one 🙂 My job in the family is to make the sfinj and the best compliment I can get is that they taste exactly like the ones the Moroccan grandmother makes.
I have to add a disclaimer here that the dough is really annoying to work with. It’s sticky and not user-friendly but just go with it, you’ll eventually get a delicious and tender sfinj.
Watch how I make them in the video. I give a few tips and don’t be too concerned if the first few donuts are a bit of a flop. You’ll improve as you go along.

Makes 16 donuts


1/2 kilo flour (3.5 cups + 1 Tbsp)
or 25 grams fresh yeast (1/2 packet)
or 11 grams fresh yeast (1 Tbsp)
30 grams sugar (1 heaped Tbsp)
6 grams salt (1 tsp)
2 Tbsp brandy
360 ml warm tap water (1.5 cup)

For a smaller quantity of dough for 9 sfinj: (less guilt)
300 grams flour (2.5 cups)
6 grams dry yeast (1/2 Tbsp) or
17 grams fresh yeast (1/3 packet)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp brandy
240 ml warm tap water (1 cup)


1. Place the flour, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Using the hook attachment, stir to combine then add the salt and half the water and stir for around a minute, then add the brandy and rest of the water and mix until well combined into a sticky and fairly runny dough.

2. Grease a bowl and with wet hands and transfer the dough to the bowl. Lightly grease the top of the dough and cover to let rise for around an hour. Release trapped air to reduce volume and let rise again for 40 minutes, then reduce volume again and let rise for a 3rd time for another 40 minutes. (Three rises in total)

3. Heat enough oil for deep frying in a pot or pan. How do you know when the oil is hot enough? Stick a wooden spoon in the oil and check to see that small bubbles form around the spoon. Prepare a bowl with water to wet your hands and take a piece of dough (for sticklers it’s about 60 grams), make a hole in the middle with your finger (like a donut) and place in the oil. Use a wooden stick to enlarge the hole and fry until nice and golden. Flip and fry the second side until golden.

4. Remove and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Wait 20-30 seconds and then coat with sugar.  Enjoy!

Preparing in advance:
It’s best not to prepare in advance but rather the day you plan to serve them. If you want to make them ahead of time regardless, then freeze and defrost around an hour before serving and then warm for around 20 minutes at 180°C. If you only want to eat one sfinj then heat for 20 seconds in the microwave.

Good to know…
* The dough is sticky and runny, work with wet hands.
* The actual dough is not sweet.
* If you want a milder sweetness then dust with powdered sugar before serving.
* There’s no oil in the dough.
* Not suitable for baking.
* Brandy isn’t mandatory but definitely recommended for the dough to absorb less oil.

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Sfinj - Moroccan DonutsSfinj - Moroccan DonutsSfinj - Moroccan Donuts

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