Tuesday, February 17, 2015


 As I was waiting for Katie and Anthony to arrive for dinner, I was watching Anne Burrell's cooking show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. I remembered that I had seen this particular episode, but decided to watch it again. She was doing beignets and jambalaya, both of which I had decided I would make one of these days. Then I realized Oh Wait! This week is Mardi Gras! I should make them for our dessert tonight! I did a quick ingredient check, and I just happened to have all the ingredients on hands, so we whipped some up right then and there!
 I have to say, they're SO easy to make! Most of the work is done with the stand mixer. It does all the kneading for you! And then you let the dough rise, cut it into little pieces and deep fry them. Seriously, is there any person on the planet who doesn't like deep fried dough covered in sugar???  I think not. If you happen to have a little extra time on your hands, you should definitely make these. They're like little puffs of heaven. I KNOW you'll love 'em!

3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 (.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 6 cups peanut or other neutrally-flavored oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting
In a measuring cup combine the water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit until the yeast gets frothy and smells yeasty. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and pinch salt. In another bowl, combine the egg yolks, evaporated milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the yeast mixture and whisk to combine well. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and place on the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Once the ingredients are well combined, knead 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover, and place in a warm area for 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. In a wide, deep pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly knead on a floured work surface. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares. Set up a paper towel-lined sheet tray to land the beignets when they come out of the oil.
Working in batches so as to not crowd the oil, fry the dough squares until they are puffy and golden brown. Remove from the oil, make a pit stop on the paper towels and immediately dust with powdered sugar. Serve hot!!!!!
I didn't have evaporated milk, but I used half and half instead. It worked out beautifully!
For a little variation, or if you're not a fan of powdered sugar, try rolling the fried beignets in cinnamon sugar. Heavenly!

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