Sarah’s New Orleans-style Beignets

I understand…if you haven’t been to New Orleans, you’ve probably not even heard of beignets.  Beignets, pronounced (ben-Yey), are squares of white dough that are then deep-fried like doughnuts and dusted with powdered or confectioner’s sugar.  It’s indeed frenchy to enjoy beignets as beignet is french for fritter.  And understandably enough, Cafe Du Monde now sells beignet batter mix for tourists who just can’t have enough of beignets.  But really, making beignets is easy as 1-2-3.  Albert Schmid, author of “The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook” and a recent guest at the CelebrEATy Circle included an easy and quick Kentucky
Bourbon beignets (he describes beignets as fried pillows of dough) in his book.  So the recipe in this page was derived/adapted slightly from his beignet version.  Other bakers simply deep-fry choux pastry or white dough used for cream puffs, profiteroles, and eclairs.  Make these beignets soon for breakfast or dessert!

Sarah’s New Orleans-style Beignets
Go ahead and dip the fried beignets in your hot coffee, just like we enjoy doing it with pandesal.

Activate yeast:
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Bread dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour (plus allowance for dusting)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm whole milk (or 1/2 cup lukewarm water + 1/2 cup evaporated milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg, slightly beaten

Vegetable oil/shortening for deep frying
Powdered sugar for dusting
confectioner’s sugar, or frostings

1) Suspend yeast in lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon sugar (stir well with a fork) until it foams up, about 2 or 3 minutes.
2) Combine together: flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
3) In a large bowl, place 3 cups flour mixture, dissolved yeast, milk, vanilla, softened butter and beaten egg.  Mix well.  Slowly add the remaining flour; transfer dough to a floured surface to knead dough until a satiny texture is achieved.  Do not overwork the dough.
4) No proofing required.  Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch on a floured surface.  Cut into 2 or 3-inch squares.
5) Heat the oil in a large saucepan (I use half oil and half vegetable shortening) until it reaches 350 to 370 F.  Oil temperature is important here to ensure the beignets puff up nicely.  Drop dough squares 3 or 4 at a time and immediately splash/pour hot oil over the dough.  When nicely browned and puffed, flip them over to brown the other side.
6) Drain on paper towels.  Dust liberally with powdered sugar and enjoy ’em warm! (Use a sifter for a snowy effect).

And a tablespoon of Kentucky bourbon in the dough even enhances the flavors, try it!

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