Beignets

Beignets

Makes about 2 dozen.

Ingredients:

1 Envelope active dry yeast
3/4 cup very warm water (110 degrees F)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 1/2 - 3 3/4 cups flour
1/8 cup shortening
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar for topping the hot beignets

Method:
Combine the yeast, water, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (You could also make this in a food processor.) Let this sit until yeast blooms (gets frothy), about 5 minutes.

Add the salt, egg, and evaporated milk. Mix on low speed, add half of the flour until it starts to come together, then add the shortening. When the shortening is incorporated start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until most of it is incorporated.  Turn the dough onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough adding just enough flour as necessary to make a non-sticky, smooth dough.

Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, loosely cover and let rise. You can make it in the dough in evening let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.

After the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and turn it onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle that is about 1/2" thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, working at a diagonal to the rectangle, cut into 2" wide strips. Now cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts in the opposite direction. Place the beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place.

When the beignets have risen, heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot with high sides to 350-360 degrees. Place 2-4 beignets into the hot oil at a time, being careful not to smash or deflate them. When they are golden brown, flip them over until golden brown on the other side, about 1 minute per side. They go pretty quickly so start checking them right after they go into the oil. Remove to paper towel lined plates to drain.

Serve hot topped with lots of powdered sugar. Serve with a pipping hot Cafe au Lait!
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