Food & Swine

beignets

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I’m always trying to find additional uses to recipes in my ‘tried and true’ vault.  My Prize Winning Dinner Roll Recipe is a recipe that is quite versatile.  I use it for traditional dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, caramel pecan rolls, cloverleaf rolls, parker house rolls and more.  My goal for a few years has been to make a delicious yeast risen doughnut/donut.  I love yeast risen oven products, that is no secret but have never turned out a yeast donut.  Ever.  So I set out to make one and my first stop on the recipe-road-to-success was additional dough from my Prize Winning Dinner Roll recipe I had leftover in the refrigerator from the night before. Bingo!

You can make these a number of ways, if you make them square with no hole they are a beignet.  I think that is a great shape, no holes for the precious glaze to drip through and plenty of room for powdered sugar or sprinkles.  For some reason, if they are dusted (think blizzard) with powdered sugar I call them beignets, if they are frosted/glazed/iced etc. I call them donuts.  Nothing scientific, just personal preference.

On birthdays in our family my Dad is notorious for bringing AE chocolate milk in abundance and a dozen donuts on the morning of your birthday to share.  It is a great tradition and is always a surprise!  Just when you wonder if the doorbell will ring on your birthday morning, it does.  Then you are greeted with a very tall man, twelve donuts and a jug of chocolate milk.  Perfection.  That my friends is how you start off a birthday.

In no way is this going to replace tradition.  I’ll say that Dad loves these beignets as much as anyone.  He especially loves the vanilla beans in the glaze.  I still don’t think he knows I use vanilla bean paste (a gel-like mixture of extract, thickener and pure vanilla beans).  He must think I slave over many precious (expensive) vanilla beans, scraping the valuable caviar out to use in the glaze.  Well, if it makes the glaze taste better, I’ll let him keep thinking that!

So let’s make it official with an actual recipe!

Cristen’s Beignets

(Beignets, Doughnuts, Donuts… your call!)

Makes: 1 dozen to 4 dozen, depending on amount of dough you’re using.

Ingredients:

1 recipe, ½ recipe, ¼ recipe: Prize Winning Dinner Roll dough, after first rise (may be chilled overnight in refrigerator, but it will double your rising time.)

1 QT Peanut oil (or other oil/shortening suitable for frying)

Powdered Sugar for Dusting

Basic Powdered Sugar Icing

Sparkling Sugar Sprinkles

Punch desired amount of dough down after first rise.  Let rest 5 minutes to relax gluten. Roll out to ½ inch thickness, cut into 3”-4” squares.  Place on well floured baking sheet.

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Spray with nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until double in size. *1 hour for room temperature dough, 2 hours for previously chilled dough.

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Prepare a paper towel lined plate to drain your beignets.  Place it near your frying station.

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When ready, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium to medium high heat until oil temperature is 350-360 degrees.  (I love my instant read thermometer for tasks like this.)

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Fry beignets in groups of 4-6, frying on 1 side for 1 minute, flipping over and frying on the other side for 1 minute.

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I use my most coveted kitchen tool, my Grandma Celeste’s spreader.  It is flexible yet sturdy and is my perfect tool for this job.  The wooden handle is soft and weathered.  Sometimes I use a fork or sharp tipped knife in my other hand to assist in turning the beignets carefully so the oil doesn’t splatter.

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Remove from hot oil, place on paper towel lined plate.  Dust with powdered sugar and eat after cooled a moment.  (Dip in berry, chocolate or caramel sauce for an over the top experience!)

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Frosted Beignet-Donuts:

If you desire, let the beignets without powdered sugar stand on the paper towels until warm.  Frost them with the following powdered sugar icing.  (Adjust amount of icing based upon amount of dough you are frying up.)

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Basic Powdered Sugar Icing

3 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Pinch of salt

2-4 TBSP milk

Combine all ingredients, use 2TBSP of milk initially and then add drops of milk until desired thick but pourable consistency is reached.  Add 1 T cocoa powder to make a lightly chocolate icing.  Frost warm beignets with this icing.  Sprinkle with sparkling sugar or other sprinkles immediately.  Serve immediately.

To young, eager children:

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No Mom… no powdered sugar or sprinkles.  Really?

hallebeingets

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