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Easy Beignets lets you fry up a taste of New Orleans

March 21, 2019

Why make this? Beignets. Even the name sounds complicated. It’s an old recipe and maybe even an ancient dessert that just seems as if it was too fussy for my quick concept mind to ever attempt.

So, why now? Why do this in the midst of a complete turnaround in the way I prepare and now eat food?

Because it’s so worth it and not because there’s anything remotely complicated about this dessert. It’s worth it because it’s the most unfussy recipe and it’s complicated deliciousness is the only thing complicated about it. Also, almost anything deep fried with sugar and flour has to be great. I think that’s written somewhere or maybe it’s a law being proposed in congress. Not sure.

Anyway, my beignets bring all the boys to the yard/house. No seriously, I sent this picture to my kids, and they came running.

This is a great option if you’re like me and going out to grab doughnuts isn’t even something you can bring yourself to do. Plus, this reminded me of carnival food - funnel cake, the kind you can’t get but once a year. Only, this is better since the oil isn’t old and stale and full of burnt bits that taint the flavor. The small amount of cinnamon came through subtly and then the powdered sugar made it eye-rolling delicious.

Take a look at the photo and you’ll see just how light and airy the dough is and, I don’t know, it screams “eat three of me,” when there are big tufts of air pockets.

And then after frying each piece a voice in me said, “You made this with your hands! It took 5 minutes to assemble and 5 minutes to roll out. You did this. You’re amazing. Honestly, I always knew you had it in you.”

This could be you.

Beignets

1/2 cup warm water

1 packet instant yeast rapid rise (2 1/2 tsp.)

1 T. honey

1 cup buttermilk warmed in a microwave

1 large egg beaten

2 T. butter melted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

Vegetable oil for frying

powdered sugar

Dissolve the yeast packet in the warm water and add the honey. Allow to proof. About 10 minutes. In a large bowl mix in 3 cups of the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add the yeast mixture, vanilla, egg, butter and buttermilk. Mix with a large spoon and add in the remaining flour until a smooth ball develops. Place in a bowl, cover and allow to double in size. I put this in a warm oven.

Take the ball of dough and roll out to 1/8 inch and 3-by-3 inch squares. Cover with a damp towel. With a heavy bottom skillet like a cast iron skillet. Pour enough oil about 2 inches of oil in the pan and heat to 300 degrees. Fry each square a few at a time using a slotted spoon to turn over and remove. Repeat until all the dough is used. Place on a towel to drain and then dust with sugar.

Janet McCormick is the author of “10-Minute Meals” and owner of Let’s Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.