like any other reason to celebrate, I love valentine's day. not because of the candy or the flowers or the presents. goodness knows we all got spoiled enough at christmas to at least last until mother's day, wouldn't you say? no, but because the holiday itself celebrates romanticism and kindness and, well, the kind of lovey dovey nonsense that I am super fond of. and in honor of our heart-filled holiday, I thought I whip up a festive batch of beignets. why beignets? it could be because mardi gras is just around the corner or perhaps it's because they're a deep fried ball of dough smothered in powdered sugar. either way, I have been really craving them lately and they're one of mitch's favorites, so I set to work.
I have only made these twice before and this is, by far, the best batch I have ever made. the trick to any good yeasty dough is patience (in the form of letting it rest long enough), which is terribly hard for someone who's waiting on deep fried balls of dough smothered in powdered sugar. I adapted my own measurements from this recipe, which is sure to make you feel like you're hanging back at cafe du monde or somewhere wearing all black and a beret or something equally moody and worldly whilst nibbling on their amazing beignets. and I'd just like to mention, these are nowhere near as delicious as theirs! but I'm cool with it because I don't believe in setting unrealistic expectations.
3/4 cup warm water
4 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 large egg
1 egg white
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
powdered sugar to preference
step one :: combine the warm water, granulated sugar, and yeast to a large bowl and stir. wait about ten minutes or until your mixture is wet and bubbly.
step two :: combine the egg, egg white, evaporated milk, and salt in a separate bowl and then stir into the yeast mixture.
step three :: add two cups of flour stirring in gradually until the mixture looks like too-thick pancake batter. add in the butter whilst still solid and mix until smooth.
step four :: add the remaining two cups of flour. when dough starts to pull together, turn out onto a heavily floured surface and begin to knead. this can take anywhere from five to ten minutes depending on how vigorous your kneading style is. then, place in the fridge overnight if you're planning on these for breakfast or let rise in a warmish place for two hours if you're kneading them done asap (pun intended).
step five :: if you placed your dough in the refrigerator, remove and let sit at room temperature for a half hour or so, or until you can poke it with your finger and it doesn't spring back at you. then you're ready to turn dough out onto a floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out until it's about a 1/2-inch thick.
step six :: traditionally, beignets are cut into squares, but in light of the romantic holiday coming up, I opted to shape them into hearts with the cookie cutters my mom sent in my care package last week. once you've cut through all of your dough, cover with a clean tea towel and let prove (that is to say, give them a second rise) for about 45 minutes or until they've doubled in thickness. that part is crucial because otherwise your dough won't cook all the way through once in the fryer.
step seven :: heat a vat of oil to 350-365 degrees fahrenheit. you might need to measure via a candy thermometer several times throughout the frying process to insure that the temperature stays constant. then, begin frying those little beauties. mine took about 30 seconds on each side or until they turned a beautiful golden brown color. remove from oil with a spatula and let cool on paper towel.
step eight :: place seven-eight beignets and a handful of powdered sugar in a paper grocery bag. fold the top over a couple of times and shake over the sink until beignets are coated. if you have a few that just aren't cooperating, sprinkle a little powdered sugar over them yourself. and voila--a valentine's treat worth breaking your resolutions for! this recipe yields about 36 medium beignets.
and I don't think I can express, in words, how excited I am that it is almost friday! this week has been a long one and I am super excited about the r&r this weekend has to offer. I hope all of your weeks are going a little smoother and that you're getting pumped for your own valentine's day festivities even if it is to 'just stay home,' which is one of my favorite activities! happy frying, everyone!