Loukoumades with Honey

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By renowned chef Diane Kochilas

Serves: 8- 10

In a large stainless steel bowl, mix 4½ cups of the flour and the salt. Dissolve the yeast, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of flour in ½ cup warm water. Make a well in the center of the bowl of flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Add the remaining 11/2 cups water.

Either by hand (you can wear thin rubber gloves to do this) or with a large wooden spoon, gradually work enough flour into the liquid to form a thick, viscous, sticky, loose mass.

The dough for loukoumades should be wet. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place a large kitchen towel over it. Leave to stand in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Fill a large, deep pot halfway with olive or other oil. Bring to a boil.

To shape the loukoumades traditionally: Lightly oil your hands with olive oil. Take up a handful of the dough about the size of a tennis ball; the dough will be loose, elastic, stringy, and yeasty. If you are right-handed, pull up the dough with your left hand; if a lefty, pull it up with your right hand.

Clench your fist around it loosely. Have a cup of olive oil nearby to dip a tablespoon in. Squeeze out a knob of the batter between your curled up index finger and thumb, scoop it up with the oiled tablespoon then drop carefully in the hot oil. Repeat with several more.

As soon as the dough puffs rise to the top and are light golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the dough is finished. Replenish the oil if necessary.

Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon and walnuts to serve.

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