Saturday Baking: Beignets

Over the holidays, our lovely and dear manager decided to part from us and travel to the land of voodoo and good food. Luckily, he did not come back empty handed. This year’s gift? Cafe du Monde coffee, beignet mix, and a voodoo doll. Now if you’re not too sure of what a beignet is or where it started, they are traditionally prepared right before eating, you want them to be nice and hot! The origin is specifically French, so New Orleans is a hot spot for these bad boys. They were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists, from “the old mother country”, and became a large part of home-style Creole cooking. These powdered sugared beignets are typically served with a chicory coffee. They even became Louisiana’s official state doughnut in 1986!

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outside Cafe du Monde, the St. Louis Cathedral, Happy times after cooking

Now if you are not lucky enough to have a premix from Cafe du Monde than you can easily make these tasty treats at home.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Nonstick spray
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

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Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.

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the first batch were the squares; the second, doughnut holes! (much better)

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