Beignets

I’ve often wanted to try a hand at donuts at home, and when I started reading up on Beignets, they seemed to be the right place to start. Simple shapes, made from rolled sweet dough, fried and dusted with powdered sugar. When I explore new techniques, I try to learn the basics before moving on. The basics are typically the things I return to time and again, after playing with more inventive versions with unique ingredients. The original generally remains the gold-standard and favorite. This is an old, long standing recipe found in many books and internet recipe sites. I’ve scaled it to 1/2 the recipe usually posted as this still makes more beignets than a small family can eat. The recipe can be doubled easily.

Powder sugar coated pillows!
1 hour and 50 minutes – dough is risen
Rolled, cut and resting
Golden brown and ready to remove from fryer.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 (.25-ounce) (or 7 g) packet active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 3/4 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • corn oil or any flavorless oil , for frying
  • powdered sugar , for dusting

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl (I do this in my stand mixer bowl) combine lukewarm water (90-100 degrees Farenheit) and yeast. Let it sit until dissolve for about 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly whisk eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla extract , salt and sugar. Add to the yeast mixture.
  3. Mix in about 2 cups flour and continue mixing with hand or dough mixer. Using a stand mixer for about a minute or 2.
  4. Finally add melted butter, mix until dough is sticky but smooth. Add in additional flour to make soft dough. Add a bit at a time until it achieves a soft consistency. If using a dough mixer becareful not to overmix.
  5. Turn dough on lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. Add flour a tablespoon at a time, and knead in if dough is too sticky.
  6. Place dough in a greased (I use butter) bowl, turning once to coat the dough with butter. Cover loosely with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours or until doubled.
  7. Begin heating avocado or peanut oil in a dutch oven or deep fryer. These oils have a high-smoke point. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
  8. Punch the dough down and remove the dough from the bowl.
  9. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into ¼ – 1/3 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 1 1/2 or 2″ squares or diamonds. Let dough rest for about 10 minutes before frying.
  10. While dough rests, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and papertowels for draining the fried beignets.
  11. Check the oil with a candy thermometer to insure it has come to 375 degrees.
  12. Working with 4 – 6 dough pieces, so as to not crowd the oil, fry the dough squares until they are puffy and golden brown. Remove from the oil, drain onto paper towels, and immediately dust with powdered sugar.

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