Thursday, February 16, 2012

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Beignets Aren't Just A Nawlins Treat!



Start celebrating Mardi Gras 2012 this weekend!

One of my favorite treats when visiting Nawlins  is Beignets and Café Au Lait at Café Du Monde!  I know, it sounds really touristy, BUT, for me, it is so traditional!  Something I have always done!  Now, will I stand in line…..usually not, unless it is really short!  There are times of the day when there is no waiting and it’s very easy to get my favorite treat!

And then there is always the pleasure of making beignets at home!  Honestly, it isn’t difficult!  It may take a little waiting time and you may need to clean up some splattering’s of grease; along with some wayward powdered sugar (actually, there may be a LOT of wayward powdered sugar!)….BUT, it is so worth it!

A powdered sugar hint.....when bringing the beignet toward your face.....DO NOT breathe in OR out when taking a bite!  Breathing out causes a snow storm....breathing in results in a coughing fit!

Make the dough up the night before and let it rise in the refrigerator, in the morning, simply roll out, cut out the beignets, let them rise one more time and fry!

Make sure you sprinkle the beignets with the powdered sugar before they cool!  Some of that sugar will melt into the beignets and just become tasty goodness!

This just may become your families favorite special Sunday morning treat!

Beignets    

1 envelope active dry yeast (always check the freshness date)
¾ cup lukewarm water (between 105 to 115 degrees)
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup evaporated milk
3 ½ - 3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar

Combine the yeast, water, and sugar in a bowl.  Allow yeast mixture to sit until frothy, about 5 minutes, then add the salt, egg, and evaporated milk, mix well.

Place in a food processor and add half of the flour, pulse several times until it starts to come together.  Add the shortening all at once and pulse several times again.

When the shortening is incorporated start adding the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time until most of it is incorporated. The dough will be forming a ball.  Turn the dough onto a floured work surface to finish by hand.

Knead the dough adding just enough flour as necessary to make a non-sticky and smooth dough.  Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, loosely cover with a towel and let rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove from the refrigerator and punch it down, turn it onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle that is about 1/2" thick. With a knife working at a diagonal to the rectangle, cut into 2" wide strips. Now cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts in the opposite direction.

Place the cut beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place (Heat oven to lowest setting and turn off, leave door ajar for 5 minutes, then place beignets inside and close door).

Remove beignets, heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 360-370 degrees. Place 2-3 Beignets into the hot oil at a time, being careful not to smash or deflate them.

When they are golden brown, flip them over until golden brown on the other side (They go pretty quickly so start checking them right after they go into the oil). Remove to paper towels to drain, sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar! Enjoy!


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