Café au lait and Beignets. I woke up this morning and knew exactly what I wanted, what I needed, what I yearned for: Café au lait and Beignets.
I’m going to take advantage of this hankering and shift gears. It’s a good opportunity to swerve away from my neuroses, or at least my worry neuroses, and focus on FOOD! My friends and family make fun of me…frequently…for my extreme food cravings. But, it’s simple math (and if you know me, you know that I am dedicated to sound mathematics), extreme food cravings + my love of being in the kitchen = elaborate, delicious meals with far too much food, so they don’t complain too often.
Whenever I think of a certain fare, see a picture of a type of food, or smell a specific meal…I HAVE TO EAT IT. This particular quirk has led to apple cinnamon muffins at 2 a.m., eggs benedict at 5:30 a.m. on a school day before a 45 minute commute, and a “quick and easy” dinner of chicken parmesan, which my grumbly and very hungry family did not get to enjoy until close to 10 p.m. It’s also led me to utter phrases like “Well, we can’t agree on what we’ll have for dinner, so I’ll just make bruschetta while we decide.” I love food.
So, this morning I woke up and needed Café au lait and Beignets. This isn’t the first time I’ve pined for beignets. My best friend Katie, who lives in Louisiana (home of Café du Monde) came to visit me while I was living in Nebraska. She brought with her a carry-on, which held her clothes, and a large rolling suitcase, which housed 12 boxes of Café Du Monde Beignet Mix. Talk about friendship!
It was decided as soon as my eyes popped open. I rolled out of bed, went downstairs to the kitchen, made my espresso, and satisfied my craving for Beignets with the following recipe:
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 6 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- oil for frying
- powdered sugar to dump ALL OVER your delicious beignets
- Combine warm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a large bowl.
- Let sit for around 10 minutes.
- Add remaining sugar, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk.
- Gradually stir in 4 cups of flour until well combined.
- Add the shortening, using a wooden spoon.
- Add the remaining flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, working it with your hands. It should be stiff, but still sticky.
- Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours (you can make the dough ahead of time).
- Roll the dough onto a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/8 inch, then cut into rectangles 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. I use a pizza cutter to cut through the sticky dough.
- In a deep pan (I used my sauté pan), heat the oil at medium heat.
- Fry the beignets about 5 at a time until they are puffed a golden brown on both sides, turning them over in the oil with tongs to get them evenly brown.
- After removing from the oil, place them on paper towel to let some of the oil drain.
- Put beignets into a brown paper bag full of powdered sugar and shake to coat.
- Enjoy these delicious treats while they are still warm and fresh!
I ditch the spoon fairly early in the process, there is something so cathartic about kneading dough.
The beignets should float to the surface. If they sink, it is because the oil is not yet hot enough.
I like to let the oil drain off of the beignets before I cover them in powdered sugar.
Berries are a good way to pretend you aren’t just eating fried dough covered in powdered sugar…
*This recipe is adapted from Your Homebased Mom.