New Orleans-Style Beignets
It’s Fat Tuesday, the last day of Mardi Gras. Time to eat Beignets and drink Cafe au Lait, best made with a coffee-chicory blend or French Roast. Quite honestly though, you can make any day special by making and serving Beignets and you don’t necessarily need Cafe au Lait, though, why not?
A suggestion: If you are gluten-intolerant or have a wheat allergy (I do), you can make this recipe by substituting a gluten-free bread or pizza blend one-for-one. I used Pamela’s Bread Mix. The dough will not rise quite as much as it does with all-purpose flour, but the beignets will still puff up when fried. Also, if you have leftover beignets, they warm up nicely when put in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds.
Be sure to wear an apron as the powdered sugar gets everywhere!
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 quart high-heat vegetable oil for frying
- Powdered Sugar
- In a medium-saucepan, heat the milk to the scalding point but do not boil. Add sugar, salt, nutmeg and vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.
- Sprinkle the yeast into warm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved.
- Add oil, egg and dissolved yeast to the milk mixture and blend with a spoon. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the flour gradually, beating well until mixed. The dough will be very soft. Cover the bowl with a towel and set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place to rise until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).
- Lightly flour a rolling board or work surface and gently knead dough. You don't want to activate gluten strands too much as dough will become tough. Roll dough to about a 1/4-inch thickness in a rectangle of about 12 x 18 inches. Cut dough into 2" x 3" rectangles (roughly 36). Don't worry if they're not perfectly the same size. Cover with the towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.
- Add between 1/3 and 1/2 pound of powdered sugar to a plain brown bag.
- Add frying oil to a heavy-bottomed pan. Add a candy or deep-frying thermometer to manage heat. Bring oil to 375 degrees, then carefully add beignet dough pieces to pan. Do not crowd.
- Using a slotted spoon, turn beignets after 30 - 45 seconds so that they brown on all sides. Fry until golden-brown then remove and drain on paper towels.
- When beignets are drained, toss into paper bag and shake well so that beignets are thoroughly covered with powdered sugar.
- Leftovers? Warm beignets briefly in microwave.
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