Recipe by Belina Smith-Sullivan, Trenton, South Carolina
½ cup lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large, room-temperature egg
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
Canola oil for frying
Special equipment: Deep-fry thermometer
In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, combine ½ cup lukewarm water with milk, butter, egg, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast. Mix and knead on low until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Cover dough and allow to rise until puffy, about 1 hour (it won’t necessarily double in size).
Gently deflate the dough and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap let rise for 2 to 3 hours, occasionally punching it down as it rises. (The dough will keep for one week in the refrigerator—it actually improves with age. Just let it warm up before continuing with step 3.)
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it roughly into a 10×14-inch rectangle about ½-inch thick. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares. (At this point, the dough can be frozen.)
In a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven fitted with a deep-fry thermometer, heat canola oil to 375 degrees. Gently drop 5 or 6 squares of dough into the hot oil. They may sink to the bottom, then after about 5 seconds, rise to the top. Fry beignets for 1 minute, then turn them over. Fry until puffed and golden brown all over, about 1 minute more. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined platter. When the beignets are cool, sprinkle them heavily with powdered sugar.