Sonhos ~ Portuguese Doughnuts


Sonhos ~ Portuguese Doughnuts

Sonhos (it translate literally to dreams) is another staple dessert at Christmas; they are fluffy and light, deep-fried balls covered with sugar and cinnamon. The dough of Sonhos is a choux dough, made with flour, butter, eggs, sugar, and lemon or orange peel; they are then fried in small balls. After frying, you cover the balls in the traditional sugar and cinnamon or with sugar syrup
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Course Dessert
Cuisine Portuguese
Servings 24 donuts


  • ¾ cup water (177 ml)
  • 5 tbsp butter (70 g)
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 cup flour (120 g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp sugar 12 g
  • 1/2 tsp salt 3 g
  • 1.5 quarts vegetable oil for frying 1.5 liters


  • In a pot add water, butter, sugar, lemon peel and salt in a sauce pot over medium high heat. Stir until butter is melted and everything comes to a simmer
    lemon Pasted Graphic
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add flour into the mixture all at once while stirring quickly. Continue to stir and cook off the moisture in the dough until it pulls away from the sides and starts to form into a ball. This should take about a 2-3 minutes. If you have a digital thermometer, the dough temperature should be in the range from 170°F to 190°F (80°C)
  • Place dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes. (the dough needs to cool for a few minutes, so that the eggs do not begin to cook as you mix them into the dough.
  • With the mixer on medium-low speed, add eggs in one at a time. Do not add another egg until the one before has been completely absorbed into the batter. (Alternatively, you can mix in the eggs by hand. This just takes a bit longer). Mix each egg until completely absorbed before adding the next. (if you do not use the dough immediately, you can put it in the refrigerator for up to eight hours)
  • Heat at least 3-5 inches of oil in a pot over medium-high heat to 350F to 365F (182°C).
    sonhos fry
  • Use a small scoop or a spoon to drop about 1 TBSP of batter into the oil. Do not overcrowd the pot, the donuts well double or triple in size. Cook for about 7 to 9 minutes.
  • Remove the sonhos from the oil and place on a sheet pan with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  • Toss the donuts with granulated sugar, granulated sugar, with cinnamon, or drizzle the donuts with mel de cana (cane syrup)
    mel de cana sugar cane syrup


cane syrup mel de cana
Madeira Cane Honey is the syrup resulting from the purification, clarification and concentration of the natural, unfermented juice of sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L.), of the traditional varieties grown on the island of Madeira, which is obtained without the addition of any pH regulator, promoter of sucrose inversion, nor of any sweetener or preservative, natural or artificial, following the traditional Madeiran production method.
It usually has a high total sugar content (over 50% and up to 75%), with a sucrose content ranging from 20 to 45 g/100g and reducing sugars that are always over 17 g/100g and can exceed 20 g/100g, as well as an ash content of over 3.5% (but less than 5.5%).
It is distinguished by its dark color, which ranges from almost black brown to a slightly golden or amber brown, with orange to golden tinges when in a thin layer, and may be opaque and very to somewhat homogeneous or slightly translucent and brighter and be quite clear or contain very small bubbles or slight particles in suspension and also by its homogeneous texture, very creamy, velvety and light, which liquefies quickly in the mouth, with a medium/high viscosity, making it thick, but with plenty of fluidity and a light, caramel consistency with tiny particles.
aporation of the cane juice: through a boiling process, with a gradual rise in temperature until it exceeds its boiling point. The type of evaporators used determines the period in which the high temperatures (between 100 ºC and 108 ºC) must be maintained (for 10 to 13 hours, or even exceed 24 hours), for the refinement and concentration of its constituents, by the release of water vapor and the caramelization of sugars, until obtaining a syrup with the typical density characteristics of this product (38.º - 40º Bau-mé);
In addition to being consumed as such to spread on bread or to sweeten typical fried delicacies of Madeira (malassadas, sonhos and rabanadas) or even to enrich the local cuisine, Madeira Cane Honey, corresponds to the essential ingredient of the main traditional sweets, linked to the festivities of Christmas and Carnival in Madeira and, together with Madeira Rum PGI, represent the heirs of the important sugar cane processing industry that thrived on this island and that marked the history, culture and gastronomy of the Madeiran population.
ntroduced crops, so that, around 1425, Prince Henry the Navigator (Lord of the Islands) ordered the bringing of "cuttings" of sugar cane from Sicily for its production on the island.
Keyword Madeira Island recipes,, mel de cana
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I aspire to share recipes that you and your family can enjoy while also learning about cooking fundamentals along the way. I attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, CA and now enjoy cooking as a hobby.

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