Growing up in New Orleans has provided me with so many memories, wonderful traditions and GREAT food to share with my kids. Oh how I miss home! Now that you have me reminiscing, one of my favorite first day of school traditions and memories were the afternoon rides home on the St. Charles street car heading to Cafe du Monde, located in Jackson Square. For those of you not familiar, Cafe Du Monde is famous for their chicory coffee and beignets, a square french raised donut served warm and piled high with powdered sugar. Coffee of course not and option for us kids but the adults made sure they indulged. We had milk instead and for the record, milk goes great with these yummy powered treats.
My kids started school earlier this week and I wanted to keep with up tradition so I surprised them with a nice warm treat once they returned home. The great thing about beignets are that they are a perfect anytime snack. They are great for breakfast or just about anytime of the day or night. You should definitely give these a try. They are easy to make, and will practically melt in your mouth. Serve with milk or a steaming cup of coffee au lait and you will have yourself a delicious mouthwatering delight.
New Orleans Beignets
3/4 cup water, very warm
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or shortening
1 envelope dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
3 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup evaporated milk
oil for deep frying (vegetable or peanut oil)
In large bowl or mixer with dough hook, add sugar, yeast and warm water. Stir briefly to mix, and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add two cups of flour, salt, evaporated milk, salt, and beaten egg and mix well. Mix in shortening or butter. Add balance of flour and mix until sticky dough forms into a ball. Add additional flour, if needed, in 1/4 cups increments.
Transfer dough to floured board and knead briefly and form into ball. Transfer to greased bowl, and turn over. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour. (Another option is to cover and refrigerate overnight). Roll out dough to about 1 inch in thickness, and slice douhg into two inch squares, or triangular shapes.
Tip: Let the dough hook knead the dough for about 5 minutes which greatly decreases the time hand-kneading is require.
Heat oil in a skillet to 375 degrees. Fry squares, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Monitor frying closely as they will cook really quick with the correct temperature. With a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain.
Place on plate and sprinkle LIBERALLY with powdered sugar. Serve Hot.