06 October 2011

Recipe: New Orleans Style Beignets

I had beignets {french doughnuts} for the first time ever at Le Dolce Vita Patisserie back in August. Oh were they scrumptious. It's a very good thing that I live 45 minutes from the pastry shop!! But even then, I still wanted to have them for a treat every once in a while so I was thrilled when I ran across this recipe from Our Best Bites.  I thought they would be pretty complicated to make and I'd never deep fried anything before. But they ended up being quite simple and you can go from first ingredients to melt in your mouth goodness in just an hour!

You ask, "why didn't you give me a heads up that you'd be making them and invite me over?" Well I had to see if the recipe would turn out first! {aka. that I wouldn't make 'em flop like I did cream puffs a few years back. pastries aren't usually my friends.} So until my official beignet party (*wink**wink*) here's the recipe so you can make some of these guys for yourself. Oh and since they are really only good fresh and the recipe makes quite a good amount, you should make sure you have others around to help you eat them {that's where my big family comes in handy!}.  Enjoy!

Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 c. whole milk
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. table salt
3 1/2-4 c. all-purpose flour
1 scant tablespoon dry active yeast
1/2 c. warm (about 105 degrees) water
1 egg
Peanut oil for frying
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, 1/4 c. sugar, vegetable oil, and salt.  Heat over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan.  Remove from heat.
While the milk is heating, combine the yeast and 1 Tbsp. of sugar with 1/2 c. water.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until it’s very bubbly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the heated milk and 2 c. flour.  Mix, scraping the bowl occasionally, until smooth (about 2-3 minutes).  Add the egg and mix until well-combined.  Add the yeast mixture.  Add enough flour to make a soft dough that slightly sticks to your finger.
At this point, you can either place the dough in a bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and cover with a piece of sprayed plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough up to 1 day or you can roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface.  Either way, when you roll it out, roll it into a large rectangle about 1/4″ thick.  Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into about 3″x4″ rectangles.  Slightly separate the dough pieces and cover with a clean cloth.  Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
When the dough has about 15 minutes left to go, heat 2-3 inches of peanut oil in a large skillet or saucepan to 325 degrees (just use a candy thermometer).  When the oil is heated, fry the dough pieces for about 90 seconds-2 minutes per side or until they are golden.  Carefully remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
Place some powdered sugar in a fine-mesh strainer and sprinkle the powdered sugar generously over the beignets.  Serve immediately.  Makes about 24-30 beignets.

Our Best Bites has way prettier pictures-- mine were taken at night and I was more intent on not burning them and eating them than taking pictures!

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