How to Make the Easiest New Orleans-Style Beignets
We love beignets! it is one of our favorite easy deserts right up there with a good cinnamon roll. We love the warm pillowy plushness of each little Beignet, the airy pockets of spices and the sweet taste of the honey and sugar. It is great to make for a breakfast treat, served with coffee, or even as a mid day snack or an evening desert. There is no wrong time to serve these lovely little pastry delights.
If you’re making beignets for the first time, or really any fried dough, it helps to break down the steps and know what to expect.
- Make the dough. You’ll start by blooming the yeast in warm water and milk. Then you’ll add the eggs and some of the flour and beat the dough by hand, adding more flour as you go, before turning the dough out onto a floured work surface for more kneading. [ If you don’t want to wait on yeast to bloom you can use quick yeast or fast yeast and mix it in with the dry ingredients]
- Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or overnight. Once covered and snuggled in a warm spot on your counter, the dough will double in volume. Or, you can proof the dough in the fridge overnight.
- Roll out and cut the dough. You’ll roll the dough into a large rectangle, then use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into squares.
- Fry the beignets. A Dutch oven is the best vessel for home frying. When you add the beignets to the oil (370°F is best), use a heatproof spoon to spoon some of the hot oil over the beignets — it helps the beignets get their signature puff.
- Dust the beignets heavily with powdered sugar before serving. Drain the freshly-fried beignets on paper towels, then dust with powdered sugar just before serving. [ We always add a drizzle honey to ours or we dust with cinnamon sugar]
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp. pumpkin spice seasoning
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 11/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour divided, plus more for kneading and cutting
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 quart vegetable oil, plus more for the bowl
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- A mild honey like wildflower or clover honey for optional drizzle on top
- Warm the water and milk. Place the water and milk [ if you use unsweetened milk you will need to add sugar to feed the yeast a& activate it] in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes on full power. Alternatively, you can warm the milk and water in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 1 minute. The mixture should be warm but cooler than 100°F.
- Proof the yeast in the warm milk mixture for 15 minutes. Whisk the sugar into the milk mixture, then sprinkle with the yeast and set aside for 15 minutes until the yeast has become foamy.
- Beat in the the egg, butter, and flour. Add the egg, salt, cinnamon, vanilla paste, pumpkin spice, butter, and 2 cups of the flour to the milk mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula until the mixture is thick but smooth. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and beat again until just combined. You’re looking for a thick batter-like consistency that is closer to drop biscuits than bread dough here.
- Cover a work surface with flour and knead the dough. Dust a work surface with about 1/4 cup more flour and dump the dough onto it. Gently fold the dough over itself 3 to 4 times (the dough will be sticky and a little loose). Gently shape the dough into a round and place in a well-oiled bowl (you can reuse the mixing bowl if it is mostly scraped clean). Cover with a clean kitchen towel.
- Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or overnight. Set the bowl in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Alternatively, you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to 370°F. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven fitted with a deep-fry thermometer over medium-high heat until 370ºF. Line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels. If the dough is in the refrigerator, pull it out just before you heat the oil to give it 20 to 25 minutes to lose its chill while the oil warms up.
- Roll out and cut the dough. While the oil is heating, dust a work surface with about 1/4 cup of flour and dump the dough onto it. Roll the dough out to a 17×11-inch rectangle that is about 1/4-inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough into 20 to 22 (about 2-inch square) pieces. Don’t fret if some of the corner pieces are more triangular, and don’t reroll the dough.
- Fry 3 to 4 pieces at a time for 2 to 3 minutes. Fry 3 to 4 squares at a time: Gently add the beignets to the oil (you can use your hands or tongs). Immediately use a large heatproof spoon to ladle the hot oil over the pieces. Fry the first side until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Using the spoon or tongs, flip the beignets and fry until the second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Transfer the fried beignets to the baking sheet. Transfer the pieces to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Dust the beignets heavily with powdered sugar just before serving. Just before serving and while still warm, use a large fine-mesh strainer to generously dust the beignets with powdered sugar.
Whole wheat makes it a bit darker than if you used all purpose flour but it still tastes amazing!
Make ahead: These beignets are best eaten fresh, but the dough can be made the night before and proofed in the refrigerator overnight.