Khfaf spongy fried rounds of bread dough with a thick, tender chewy edge and thin slightly crispy centre.
Eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon treat with a cup of coffee or tea. Plain or topped in cinnamon sugar, it’s hard to resist eating only one.
I’m a bit late this week sharing my weekly recipe, yes if you hadn’t noticed I’ve been consistently posting every week for about 2 months after a year-long hiatus. With that being said I may skip posting a recipe next weekend because it’s Eid on Friday! preparations, including deep cleaning the entire house which I’ve already started and by the time I’m finished both my kitchen and bathroom which I tackled first may need yet another deep clean. Dust and sand people, dust and sand.
Plus there is that whole dilemma to bake or not to bake mountains of cookies etc. I don’t think I will make many if any.
These Khfaf could make an appearance though if I feel up to the task on Eid morning. It’ll put my mind at ease and put off what I’m about to do with the slaughtered sheep. Which will not be that much, except maybe holding the odd organ or piece of meat while my mother and sister-in-law cut it into pieces for Osbane etc. I have the weakest stomach for all the blood and really just the reality of it all (i literally feel faint and weak at the knees) but these things have to be done and so I must build up some courage, no really I must.
More reasons why I’m late sharing:this is a photo heavy post = lots of time spent editing. Also during the week I got the idea I wanted to talk a lot in the post too (yeh me), about how specific foods remind me of special people:
My grandfather and apples or more specifically how he can peel the skin (I mean peel) of an apple without it breaking off so you are left with one long spiral of apple peel and as a child I was always mesmerised by this. That and his skill of calligraphy. He painted an ice cream truck among other works of shop signs etc. That same ice cream truck would come with his jingle every day during summer in the late 90s / early 00s, of course it got new paint jobs but none as good as grandads.
Doughnuts I associate with my mother, they remind me so much of days out with her visiting the seaside etc and she would always buy some.
Back to Khfaf…
Khfaf are the Algerian variation of doughnuts known as Sfenj in some parts of Algeria and other countries of the Maghreb.
A distant relation to the American doughnut, Khfaf have their own charms and are far more economical to make at home.
There are no butter, eggs or milk to enrich the dough. Khfaf are made from fine semolina and a small amount of flour along with the regular ingredients you find in homemade bread.
Khfaf are one of my mother-in-law’s specialities and while this isn’t her recipe (i adapted my recipe from les amis de sherazade blog) they sure taste the same, minus the cinnamon sugar because while she sometimes adds sanoudj-nigella seeds or zabeeb-golden raisins I’m sure she has never considered sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar.
The plain Khfaf you see I sent to my in-laws while my children and I enjoyed the cinnamon sugar ones with our afternoon tea/coffee.
Algerian style fried-bread / doughnuts given an American twist - cinnamon sugar. Chewy, soft and crisp with warming aromatic sweetness.
- 600g fine semolina
- 100g plain flour (i used t55 - french bread flour for making baguettes)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons fast-action yeast
- 1 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 465ml luke-warm water, divided
- Oil, for deep frying and shaping
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (cassia bark)
- In a large mixing bowl mix the semolina, flour, salt, sugar and yeast together thoroughly.
- Gradually add about 400ml of the water or just enough to bring the dough together. Turn out onto your kitchen worktop knead for 10mins.
- Gradually add another 50-60ml to obtain a soft, flexible, slightly sticky dough whilst kneading for a further 5mins. Place the dough back in the bowl cover bowl with a plastic bag and leave to rise in a draft-free place (kitchen cupboard is ideal) for approximately 1hr or until at least doubled in size.
- Knock back the dough inside the bowl and leave dough to relax for 10mins, covered. Pre-heat a large frying pan a third filled with oil to approximately 180°C. Oil a large dinner plate and your hands. Taking a handful of dough shape it into a ball, place on the plate and flatten. Shape into a circle by spreading out the dough from the centre with your fingertips. The khfaf needs to be thinner in the centre and thick on the edges; same as pizza. Carefully transfer the khfaf to the frying pan. The khfaf should quickly float to the top of the oil. Fry until lightly golden brown, turning once.
- Gently shake off excess oil and transfer to plate of cinnamon sugar. Press khfaf down (not with your hands!) into cin/sug mixture for best result. Repeat using the remaining dough.
Top tip: whilst the first side of the khfaf is frying gently but very carefully splash/flick the hot oil over the top side with your turner/fish slice
Fried Khfaf (minus the cinnamon sugar) can be frozen and re-heated without defrosting in a dry frying pan over medium heat.
Thanks to my son Hamza for agreeing to be my hand model.