- 3/4 cup warm water (105-110℉; too hot or cold will inactivate yeast)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups Swans Down Cake Flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Powdered sugar, for garnish
- Cafe au Lait, for serving, optional
Classic New Orleans Beignets
Yield: About 24 Beignets
This delightful puff of fried dough, served hot and sprinkled with powdered sugar, is an old Creole New Orleans tradition and also the much beloved official donut of Louisiana. It's best enjoyed with a hot cup of chicory cafe au lait.
- DISSOLVE yeast and about half of the granulated sugar in the warm water in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer. Give it a quick stir and then let sit for 5 minutes until it becomes foamy.
- WHISK in the milk, egg and salt and remaining sugar. Mix in half of the flour with a large spoon. If using a mixer, use a paddle attachment on low to medium speed.
- MIX in butter and vanilla extract.
- ADD remaining flour and mix with the spoon until you can use your hands, then turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead just until smooth. Don’t over-knead or the dough will get too tough. If using a mixer, swap out the paddle for your dough hook and knead just until dough is smooth.
- PLACE dough in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap or a towel in a warm spot to rise for 2 hours or until double in size. Alternatively, you can make dough one day ahead and let it proof in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Let dough come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before proceeding with recipe.
- HEAT 3 to 4 inches of oil in a cast iron pan or deep fryer to 375℉.
- ROLL out dough on a heavily floured surface to 1/4-inch thick.
- CUT dough into 2 1/2-inch square pieces and fry 3 to 4 pieces at a time in oil.
- IMMEDIATELY after dropping dough into oil, use a large spoon to gently move hot oil over the top of each piece. After 30 to 45 seconds, flip all beignets over and continue to spoon the hot oil over them, about 1 minute. Flip beignets again and continue to cook in oil until all beignets are a golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes.
- REMOVE beignets from oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
- PLACE on dessert plates, 3 beignets per plate, dust liberally with powdered sugar and serve with hot cafe au lait.