Bolinhos de Chuva are the Brazilian equivalent of Beignets: deep fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Named for their raindrop shape, they are impossible to resist!
These little Brazilian doughnuts taste like rainy afternoons at my grandma’s house. She would tell me that, since it was raining, I could stay home from school, and would then proceed to stuff me with lots of delicious food and treats!
Like beignets, they are slightly crunchy on the outside but light and pillowy inside. And, since they are meant to be an impromptu snack, they are very simple to make and ready in about 15 minutes!
Trust me when I say you have to have lots of will power not to make these all the time. Chances are you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge, so once you make these for the first time, you will be tempted to make them over and over again, rainy day or not!
And because I know the power these have over people, I feel slightly guilty for sharing this recipe with you. Sorry, friends! I know I’m being selfish, but if I have to constantly fight (and lose) battles with bolinhos de chuva, I might as well have a community of internet people that can relate to the struggle.
Oh, happy are the children who get to stay home on rainy days, eating fried dough, not knowing that calories exist! They also think only grandmas have the ability to make these. But they will grow up! Oh, yes. And they will learn to make bolinhos de chuva themselves, marking the beginning of a long conflict between keeping a fit figure and enjoying the pleasures of fried treats.
Ingredients for Bolinhos de Chuva
It baffles me that something so delicious can be made out of so few simple ingredients!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- Oil for frying
Making Brazilian Beignets – Tips and Tricks!
The batter for these Brazilian beignets is similar to patê choux, except it doesn’t need to go on the stove. Everything gets whisked together in a large mixing bowl in under 5 minutes, no stand mixer necessary!
Once the batter is smooth, it is ready to be fried! No need to rest, rise, shape, nada. Beware that the batter is soft, so don’t try to form balls or anything. I recommend using two spoons, one to scoop the batter and the other to help scrape it from the first spoon, dropping it in the hot oil. Yes, your bolinhos will be irregular, varying in size and shape. No, no one will care!
Now, here’s the important part: the oil’s temperature needs to be around 360 degrees F. Too hot and your beignets will be raw inside. Too cold and they’ll get oily and soggy.
If you have a deep fryer, that’s great! Just preheat it to 360 degrees F and let the machine work for you. But if you don’t, you can just heat the oil in a large pot and use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature, lowering or increasing the heat as needed. That’s what I do!
Once the beignets are golden brown and cooked through, remove them with a slotted spoon into a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Then, roll them into sugar (or a mixture of sugar and cinnamon) while they are still hot! And voila, they are ready to be devoured.
MAKE AHEAD – I’m sure you’re wondering if you can make the batter ahead and keep it in the fridge so you can fry some bolinhos whenever you have a craving. And the answer is yes! You can make the batter, cover, and keep refrigerated for up to 4 days!
Reheating bolinhos de chuva
Brazilian beignets are best when eaten warm, so if you made a batch and somehow they didn’t vanish in seconds, you can just reheat them later. The truth is they will lose a little bit of the freshly fried appeal, but they will still be delicious!
To reheat, set them in a large baking pan, uncovered, and pop in a 325°F oven until hot, 15 to 20 minutes.
Can I freeze these doughnuts?
To be honest, these have never lasted long enough in my house for me to consider freezing the leftovers. However, I have heard of home cooks partially frying them and then freezing. Once they are ready to eat them, just heat a pot of oil again and finish frying until they are golden brown.
Since the batter is so quick to make, I never saw the purpose in that. I can have a batch of batter ready by the time I finish heating the oil!
If you’ve never tried a bolinho de chuva, I recommend you proceed at your own risk. Don’t come back to yell at me, cause I am warning you: they are highly addictive!
That being said, if they spark joy for you, go ahead and make them. Eat the whole batch and be happy! That’s my “Marie Kondo” contribution for ya. ;-)
P.S. If you’re feeling extra naughty, you could even serve these with chocolate sauce or dulce de leche. Pure indulgence!
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- Oil for frying
- Cinnamon and sugar for dusting
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg, butter, sugar and salt until smooth.
- Slowly add the flour, baking powder and milk, stirring carefully with a wooden spoon, until you have a thick but cohesive batter.
- In a large pot, heat several inches of vegetable oil to 360 degrees F.
- Using two spoons, scoop some of the batter and scrape it off into the hot oil. Make sure to work in batches, frying about 5 to 6 beignets at a time, flipping them occasionally for even browning. They should take 3-4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried bolinhos from the oil and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the excess oil.
- While they are still hot, roll or dust with sugar and cinnamon.
- Serve immediately!
Read the post above for instructions on reheating and frying.
Other Brazilian treats I think you’ll love:
- Pão de Queijo
- Coxinhas (Chicken Croquettes)
- Bem Casados (Brazilian Wedding Cookies)
- Brazilian Pastel