Bimuelos (Sephardic Doughnuts) Makes about 24 medium or 48 small doughnuts
These are also called awamee in Arabic, loukoumades (loukoumas singular) in Greek, and lokmas in Turkish.
1 package (2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar or honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting or sugar syrup
Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup water. Stir in the sugar or honey and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture and remaining water into the well and stir until smooth. The dough will not be very thick. Cover and let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, about 1½ hours. Stir.
Heat 2 inches oil over medium heat to 375 degrees.
Dip a teaspoon or tablespoon into cold water and use the spoon to drop the dough into the hot oil. (Moisten your fingers to prevent sticking.) In batches, fry the doughnuts until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Dip the warm doughnuts into the cooled syrup or sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately. (To serve bimuelos later, let them cool without the syrup and store in an airtight container. Just before serving dip into warm syrup.)
VARIATION: Zelebi (Middle Eastern Funnel Cakes): Pour the dough from a large spoon or squeeze it from a plastic squeeze bottle or pastry bag into the hot oil in a spiral fashion into a 6-inch-long coil. Makes about 26 cakes.