2/21/2012

Homemade Beignets

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I know-- more sugar and more fried food, but I couldn't take you through a culinary tour of New Orleans without sharing this recipe (I promise to get to some heart healthy foods real soon).  Along with Mardi Gras, another thing people associate with New Orleans (especially if they have paid a visit to the city of jazz) are the beignets (prounced ben-yay and literally means bump) from Café du Monde.  Mmmm--beignets.  I remember my parents taking me and my sisters there, each one of us trying to out do the other blowing the powdered sugar off of the fried dough.   The warm pillows were tender, a little crispy, and darn near perfect.  Predictably, we polished off every last one with gusto.

Although I know I am a long way from Jackson Square, I still need my beignet fix every now and then.  Sure, they do sell a Café du Monde beignet mix (and it does produce a fine product) at my local store, but you should know me by now.  I like to steer clear of boxed mixes as much as I can and go homemade.  

There are quite a few recipes out there for homemade beignets, but the one problem I had with them is that they all require a rising time!  Wouldn't that produce a bready/cakey doughnut? Café du Monde beignets have a hollow bump.  I know from the box mix that their beignets do not have a rise-- just mix, cut, and fry.  I even checked the back of the box at the store for the leavening agents used and it read, yeast, and/or baking powder, baking soda.  And/or?  That made me think of a waffle recipe that I have that uses two of the leaveners with no rising time and that recipe produces crisp and fluffy waffles.  So-- I went with the best recipe I had and added the extra leavening agent.  The results...


Perfectly "souffled" beignet goodness!  Normally I don't like pictures of food that have been bitten into, but I made an exception so you could see for yourself.  Crisp, tender, and a that perfect hollow bump!!  It has been a few years since I tasted the real deal, but I have to admit that these might taste even better.  Probably has to do with being homemade.  A little love is added in the mix.

The recipe calls for just a half a cup of evaporated milk.  What to do with the leftover? 1. Make another batch of homemade beignets ☺or 2. Make a pot of Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese for dinner--yum!
Printable Recipe


Homemade Beignets
makes about 2 dozen

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup 2% evaporated milk
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten and at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons (1-ounce) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable oil for frying

Garnish
Confectioners' sugar (lots of it)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast and one tablespoon of the sugar in the warm water until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Add the milk, egg, vanilla, butter, remaining sugar, baking soda, salt, and flour.  Beat on medium high speed for 1 minute until a sticky dough has formed.  Transfer the dough to a well floured work surface, dust with more flour, and roll to an 1/8 inch thickness.  Using a pastry wheel, cut the dough into 2 inch squares with some irregular shapes around the edges.

Preheat the oil to 370° F.  Gently drop the squares, a few at a time, into the hot oil.  Once they have risen and puffed, flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining dough.  Generously dust with confectioners' sugar.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from foodnetwork.com

15 comments:

  1. I am beyond impressed! I love beignets-yum!

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  2. Looks just like I remember them! I'm sure Mom and Dad were thrilled we were blowing sugar across the table at each other :) I've used the Cafe Du Monde quick mix, but can't wait to try these homemade!!

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  3. Oh Dear, this is great! I am impressed how well it came out. I need to make it, although I am not a good baker (yet)...:)

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    1. Marina-
      This an easy dough to work with and I would recommend it to an entry level baker (not that I am professional). The most important factor is having the oil at the proper temperature. Too low and they won't soufflé, too high and they will brown too quickly.

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  4. I've never tried these before, but seriously they look amazing :)

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  5. I've just made these beignets recently and wanted let you know these beignets are pretty close to the real thing (speaking as an exiled yat). Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I just recently visited New Orleans and I'm looking for something as close to Cafe Du Monde as possible, and I hink these might finally be THE ONE!!! Thanks for the recipie!

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  7. Made these delightful treats on Sunday. While I messed up my first attempt by killing the yeast (H2O too hot), I succeeded at making them on my second atrempt. So delicious!!! Great recipe! Thank you for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome. I'm glad your second attempt was a success!

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  8. I'm a transplanted NOLA native and was looking for a good receipt to get my beignet fix. This is a pretty good recipe. Dough was a little sticky, but the results were fairly authentic. I'd recommend it to those who want to get a taste of NO.

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  9. A Cafe Du Monde beignet must have an almost-crispy crust and the inside must be airy yet chewy, and I've been looking for a recipe for that. I've tried so many on the internet, and I still have not found it yet. My beignets turned out like yours as well, they are puffy and pillowy. The outside looks like CDM beignet, but they don't taste the same. The flour/bread in my beignets sticked together on one side instead of evenly distributed, just like the one you pictured. And they tasted bready/cakey, not chewy and airy like a Cafe Du Monde beignet. I would love to hear if you have been able to replicate a CDM beignet, and what the secret is. I've tried no rising time, little rising time, long rising time, warm, refrigerated dough, etc. etc. Still searching.

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    Replies
    1. I grew up eating CDM beignets and this is the recipe I use to achieve that crispy, airy, yet chewy texture.

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  10. AnonymousJuly 30, 2014

    Amazing!!! I even forgot the butter and still came out pillowy! Question- do you think I could use baking powder instead of baking soda.
    Thanks! I have tried so many recipes and this is by far the best!

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    Replies
    1. I am so pleased you enjoyed them! I would not substitute the baking soda with baking powder.

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