Broas do Bolinho

Now this is a first. I couldn't find an appropriate title in English for this post so there you go, good old Portuguese. We don't really celebrate Halloween in Portugal. Instead, on the 1st of November, children wake up early in the morning and go door-to-door asking for "Bolinho" or "Pão-por-Deus" - basically they get treats that can be in the form of these rolls I'm sharing today, chocolates, money or even walnuts/chestnuts if you're terribly unlucky. I'm not 100% certain they do this in the big cities, but I sure got to do it in Leiria and I loved it. 

The 1st of November is celebrated differently depending on the region you are from. For instance, if you're from the North of Portugal you might remember the dead on this day. However, in Center Portugal it's all about the treats for the children. As for the catholic adults, in some villages, you can leave flowers on your door as a symbol that you welcome a priest to come in your home and give you and your family a blessing (and get some cake and wine!). Or at least that's what used to happen 18 years ago. 

As for the recipe, it's from an aunt of mine who is known for baking the very best "broas", in the village she lives in. This was the first time that I tried baking these and they were kind of amazing. You might think that 1kg of flour is a lot, but you can freeze them and reheat them in the oven later, and I promise they will remain just as good. Also, the recipe calls for baker's yeast, but they don't need proving!


  • 1kg (8 1/3 cups) flour
  • 400g (1 2/3 cups) water 
  • 375g (a little less than 2 cups) sugar
  • 125g (1 stick) butter
  • 100g (3.5oz) raisins
  • 100g (3.5oz) walnuts
  • 25g (0.9oz) baker's yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10g (0.4oz) salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk and some milk for the egg wash


Start by mixing the flour, the sugar, the raisins, the walnuts, the cinnamon, the baking soda and the zest of the lemon. Melt the butter and add to the dough. 

Dissolve the yeast in a bit of lukewarm water and add it to the dough. Measure the necessary lukewarm water and dissolve the salt in it. Add it to the dough and mix just until the dough comes together. You should end up with a fairly tough dough. 

Shape the dough into rolls and brush them with a egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven to 200ºC (390ºF) until they're golden (~25 minutes).

And serve! They're great on their own but you can also have them with a bit of butter.

For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.


  1. Adoro :D tb cozi bolinhos este ano!

  2. My grandmother used to make those and now my mother does, they are great. Never knew they are that easy to make, I'll have to give it a try

    1. Let me know how it goes if you do try it :)