New Orleans Style Beignets

”Mom, I want to make sweet bread tomorrow for breakfast”. This sentence was given to me, along with a pencil sketch of ingredients my son needed in order to give us this sweet bread he was so excited about. In the drawing, it looked like a piece of toast with squiggles and a splotch over the center. ”Ok bud, what exactly do you need for this sweet bread?” I asked, in hopes of making sense of what I was looking at without outright saying “what the heck is sweet bread?!”. “Toast, flour, honey….” he said as he pointed to each item in the drawing. The look on my face must have still seemed lost because my 5 year old chimed in, “You know, like Tiana makes!”

Bingo! This was no ordinary sweet bread they wanted….and even in cartoon form they were drawn to these deliciously puffy pockets of dough, generously dusted with powdered sugar. Immediately I knew they were talking about the beignets that Princess Tiana was famous for making in The Princess and the Frog. I already had all the ingredients on hand and decided that this would be a perfect Saturday morning breakfast! Fast forward to Saturday and sleeping in until 8….but they still made a fabulous lunch.

Yes, we ate beignets for lunch. And if anyone tells you that is wrong, shove one of these suckers in their mouth and tell them to mind their own politely smile and walk away. While shoveling these into your own mouth. We don’t need that kind of negativity in our lives, right?

Start by gathering your ingredients. Or, since we’re doing these French style, your mise en place if you will.

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl for your stand mixer, add your yeast to your warm milk. Be sure the milk isn’t too hot or else you risk killing your yeast. Set aside and let it bloom for about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine your evaporated milk, egg, vanilla, sugar, and a pinch of salt.

With your dough hook attachment, add the sugar mixture to the yeast and mix on low to combine. Start adding the flour to your yeast mixture about a half cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Once all your flour is combined, pour in your melted (and slightly cooled) butter. Mix just to combine and make a sticky dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead it. It is important to activate the gluten and get a nice ‘bouncy’ dough so you will in turn have beautifully puffy beignets!

Place in an oiled bowl, rotating the dough to cover all sides with oil. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch the dough down, then turn out once more onto a lightly floured surface.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Then cut into squares.
Yes, there are a few triangles here. if you want all perfect squares, you an cut off the edges of your dough to square them off and get even sizes all around. But I am not a professional baker and we don’t waste scraps of delicious dough around here. Set aside for about 5 minutes.

In a large pot with your oil already preheated, add your dough squares a few at a time. Don’t over crowd them, they need some space. Cook them until golden on both sides.

Set the dough aside on paper towel lined trays and powder generously with powdered sugar.

Grab a cup of coffee café au lait and savor these little pillows of sugary heaven. You will never go back to plain doughnuts again after these. Bon Appetit!

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