Key Ingredient

New Orleans-Style Beignets

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
New Orleans-Style Beignets
Photo by Forrest Clonts

Satisfy your sweet-tooth with New Orleans-style beignets from Belinda-Smith Sullivan. These square donuts, served dripping with powdered sugar, were popularized by Café du Monde in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

You can’t eat a beignet without having it all over your face. What makes them so special is the powdered sugar. They won’t even get cool, you start sprinkling the powdered sugar and just start stuffing them in your mouth. Just stand at the counter and eat them. For a true New Orleans experience, serve with strong, hot coffee.

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Makes 20 to 24

  • 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
  • Powdered sugar

Special equipment: Deep-fry thermometer

  1. 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).
  2. 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.)
  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.)
  4. 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.
  • Recipe by Belina Smith-Sullivan, Trenton, South Carolina

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