This weekend I was ridiculously busy. I co-hosted two parties, and then decided to go to a 10pm concert Sunday night to wrap up my weekend. Needless to say, Monday is really challenging me! But back to the fun times! My dear friend is getting married in December (in Key West!) and I co-hosted her bachelorette party on Saturday night. She got engaged last fall in New Orleans, so my foodie friend and fellow co-host Sarah decided we should throw a themed party, complete with New Orleans inspired appetizers, drinks, and decorations. Sarah cooked up some Cajun crab cakes, the bride-to-be's sister brought an amazing black-eyed pea salsa, and the maid of honor wowed everyone with a shrimp and andouille sausage appetizer. In addition to my party game (Guess Those Abs!), I contributed some homemade beignets as the sweet option to our appetizer table.
I'd never heard of beignets, but when I saw the recipe, I knew it would be a winner. What's not to love about pieces of fried dough covered in powdered sugar? Nothing. The answer is absolutely nothing. The dough was very easy to make and after rising, I had enough dough for maybe four hundred million beignets. I made about a third of the dough into beignets and was able to get maybe 3-4 dozen little pieces of happiness out of that chunk. When dropped into the oil, the dough puffs up, turning into a fluffy little square of sweetness. They were insanely good warm, delicious at room temp, and were still holding up well the next morning as a makeshift breakfast!
adapted from Paula Deen's recipe
makes about 9 dozen beignets
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
Medium-size bottle of vegetable oil
3 cups of powdered sugar
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Add the butter and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a large pan to 350 degrees. The oil need not be more than about 2 inches up the side of the pan. Add the powdered sugar to a ziplock bag and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. (I rolled out the dough in chunks to make it easier.) Place a handful of the dough pieces into the hot oil and deep fry, flipping constantly, until they become golden brown. After beignets are fried, drain them on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of powdered sugar.
Continue until all pieces are cooked. Serve warm and enjoy.