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This recipe makes the traditional beignet, a signature yeast-raised breakfast treat native to New Orleans. Incredibly strong black coffee laced with chicory is the classic accompaniment. For step-by step process pictures, visit our beignet blog.
1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm water
1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor, optional
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
Combine all of the ingredients, and mix and knead them togetherby hand, mixer or bread machinetill you've made a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 hour, or until it's puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk). Gently deflate the dough, and place it in a greased bowl or greased plastic bag, choosing a bowl or bag that’ll allow the dough to expand. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 2 days.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and place it on a lightly greased or floured work surface; a silicone rolling mat works well here. Roll it into a 14" x 10" rectangle, squaring off the corners as well as you can without being overly fussy. Cut the dough into 2" squares.
Pour peanut, safflower, or canola oil to a depth of at least ¾" in a 10" electric fry pan (first choice), or a deep, heavy-bottomed 10" frying pan set over a burner. Heat the oil to 360°F, and drop 5 or 6 squares of dough into the hot oil. They’ll sink to the bottom, then after about 5 seconds or so, rise to the top. Fry the beignets for 1 minute, then use a pair of tongs to turn them over. Fry for another minute, till the beignets are puffed and golden brown all over. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. When the beignets are cool, sprinkle them heavily with confectioners’ sugar. For a real New Orleans experience, serve with strong coffee.
Yield: about 30 beignets.