Photographer's Note

Sfinj are usually eaten in the mornings, with a glass of mint tas or coffee. This sfinj maker sits right up on his table with everything he needs around him to make them. He would squeeze the dough in his oiled hand and then pop off a small ball of dough. He then would poke a hole into the middle and stretch the dough out into a ring as you can see here. He then drops it into the hot oil and immediately it puffs up golden brown and crispy. He then uses a hook to remove it from the oil and transfers it to another bowl to drain. He also has a helper who strings your selections and you pay by weight. Then its time to run home quick and eat them while they are still hot! These are more delicious than any 'doughnut' here in the USA, even the famous Krispy Kreme.

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 t. sugar
4 c. flour
1 t. salt

oil for frying

1. sprinkle yeast and sugar over 1/4 c. lukewarm water. Stir to dissolve, cover, and set in a warm place until the yeast is bubbling and has doubled in volume.
2. Combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in yeast and enough lukewarm water to make a stiff dough. Knead well by vigorously pushing parts of the dough outwards and folding it back onto itself until it is smooth and elastic.
3. Place a bowl of lukewarm water by your side. Gradually add water to the dough by sprinkling 2-3 T. water on the work surface and covering it with dough. Punch down with your fists, making squishy noises as you work the dough, until it absorbs the water. Turn the dough over and repeat. Wet your hands as you work and continue adding water in this fashoin until the dough looks spongy and is very sticky. Pick the dough up and begin to slap it down many times to loosen it up. Continue adding water by tablespoons at intervals, until the dough is so elastic that it moves iwth the movement of your hand en masse as you raise it and slap it down again. Place the dough to rest in a bowl that has been rinsed out with warm water, then cover with a clean towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in volume. To test the dough, twist off a piece and flip it in your hands; it should become a smooth ball. If it is not ready, leave it for another 10 minutes before forming rings.
4. Pour oil into the skillet or deep fryer to a depth of 2 1/2 inches. Heat to 400 degrees.
5. Oil you hands lightly and squeeze out a small amount of dough between thumb and forefinger to form a small ball. Break it off with your other hand and punch a hole in the center with your thumb. Let it fall loose to form a "bracelet" and then slip it into the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining dough. Fry 4 or 5 doughnuts at a time until golden, swollen, and crisp, turning them over once with a skewer. Drain on paper towels. Serve with a sprinkling of confectioners sugar if desired, tho in Morocco they are usually eaten plain to be dunked in coffee.

Recipe courtesy of Paula Wolferts: Couscous and Other Good Foods from Morocco

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Additional Photos by Sophia Butler Lakhouiri (dflydsgns) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 11 W: 6 N: 20] (40)
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