What are beignets? They are a sort of fried doughnut and a specialty of New Orleans--no visit is complete without at least one! The best place to get them is at the Cafe du Monde which is always crowded with people drinking coffee and eating beignets.
Since I didn't get to go to Bouchercon (although I did make my fourth trip to New Orleans in June), when I happened upon this beignet mix in the grocery store, I decided to make my own!
I know it's cheating to use a mix...but the real challenge is in rolling these out and frying them...and waiting long enough for them to cool so you don't burn your mouth when you eat them!
So...start with a box of Cafe du Monde beignet mix (available by mail order). Add water.
Put a good bit of flour on your counter and roll out your dough to about 1/8 inch thick. I found it was a little sticky but by dusting with flour, it was fine. (I did divide the recipe because if I'd made the entire recipe we'd be eating way too many beignets!
Cut dough into squares--more or less. Mine weren't even but they still worked and still tasted good! One cup of mix made about a dozen beignets.
Heat a couple of inches of oil in a pan to 370 degrees (use a thermometer to check your temp--it took a lot longer to heat up than I expected.)
Drop two or three squares of dough into the hot oil--I found using a metal spatula to get them off the counter worked best. My squares sometimes stretched out to unusual shapes but that didn't in any way affect the deliciousness of the beignets!
When the beignets have risen to the top and turned golden brown on both sides, remove from the hot oil. Dust with powdered sugar while still warm. You can't eat the beignets at Cafe du Monde without coming away awash in powdered sugar so don't hold back!
I started out using my powdered sugar shaker and finally resorted to pouring powdered sugar into a mesh strainer. You want PLENTY of sugar!
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