Beignet is a word I cannot spell. I know how to make them and I definitely know how to eat them, but the “i” after the “e” when it’s not after a “c” is confusing. When I need autocorrect to be helpful, it takes my combination of vowels and leaves a red squiggly line underneath mocking me as if to say “Girl, we don’t know what that is.”
Thoughts on Deep Frying:
My inability to spell French words aside, in our everyday life the Air Fryer handles most things that could be fried (like turkey bacon or tater tots!) I was honestly surprised by the quality of the air fryer. But this deep fryer was on my Amazon Baking Wish List forever, but it was never a priority pick in terms of baking equipment. For the most part I got away with frying things in electric skillet that we got when we got married or more recently in one of my dutch ovens. It stayed on the list because I have a long history of burning myself, usually in the most ridiculous ways.
The deep fryer is a gamechanger and now I can do all sorts of things like:
- Not burn my house down. My insurance people love me.
- Control the temperature of the oil during the frying process.
- Filter the oil and store it with no chance of a mini re-enactment of the Valdez oil spill.
We don’t deep fry that often, but when we do it’s so worth it. Fat Tuesday is just around the corner so beignets seemed like a perfect Saturday morning treat before we decide what we’re giving up for Lent.
Note: Yes, I am copying and pasting the word “beignets” throughout this post.
I came across an overnight beignet recipe on A Cozy Kitchen’s Blog. Adrianna’s version involves strawberry powdered sugar, but what really drew me to the recipe is the brown butter. Anytime I can brown butter I will because it brings an additional flavor profile that is never wrong. But brown butter isn’t the secret ingredient.
What is the Secret Ingredient?
I know you’re dying to know. If you’ve been reading this blog at all, it won’t be a surprise to you that the secret ingredient is bourbon. It’s always bourbon. In fact I used a splash of Woodford Reserve to give the dough a hint of something extra. Important note: if you add too much bourbon, you will destroy the baker’s ratio of the bread. Moderation people. Moderation.
- If something is wrong with your yeast you won’t get the puffy beignet you deserve! The yeast mixture needs to be growing at an alarming pace after 5 to 7 minutes. If it’s not a couple of things could be happening
- The yeast is bad (how old is the yeast/ sometimes you just end up with a bad packet)
- The water temperature was too warm or too cool. 100 degrees isn’t as hot as you think, so grab a food thermometer and make sure you aren’t killing your yeast with super hot tap water.
- This dough has both yeast and baking powder– a one/two punch in terms of rise. Don’t be fooled if the dough doesn’t look puffy enough like other yeasted breads. I would say that my dough wasn’t a full “doubled in size” situation. It rose but wasn’t trying to escape the bowl like other breads I’ve made.
- These beignets can be turned into an overnight dough recipe. After you mix the dough, place it in your oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put the beignet dough in the fridge. The next morning, let the dough rise at room temperature for 30-45 minutes and proceed to the next step.
A spin on a classic New Orleans Treat made with brown butter and a splash of bourbon
For the Beignet Dough
- ½ cup butter
- 2 tablespoons warm water (100- 105ºF)
- 2 ½ teaspoons or 1 packet active dry yeast
- ¼ cup + pinch granulated sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
- 1 splash of bourbon or extract
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- neutral Oil for frying (like Canola)
- powdered sugar
For the Chocolate Sauce:
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Make the Beignet Dough:
- In a medium saucepan brown the butter over medium high heat, about 7 minutes. Pull the butter off the stove a few seconds after the first brown flecks appear on the bottom of the pan. Pour the brown butter in a glass measuring cup and set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast and pinch of sugar. The yeast should start to froth after 5 minutes.
- While the yeast mixture is working, gently warm the cup of milk in the microwave in 20 second bursts until the milk reaches 95-100 degrees.
- Once the yeast is ready, pour in the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, egg, cup of milk, browned butter and splash of bourbon into the bowl of the stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and mix on low speed until just combined, about a minute.
- Pour in half of the flour (2 cups), the salt and baking powder. Mix for another minute or so, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add the remaining flour and increase the speed on the mixer to Mix for another 2-3 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky but pulling away from the bowl.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Put the dough in the prepared bowl and cover with a dish towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough should double in size and be puffy.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough into a 16 x12 rectangle. Cut the dough into 2×2 inch squares. Place the cut dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a dishtowel.
- Heat the oil (either in your dutch oven or deep fryeto 375ºFry 4-5 beignets at a time, taking care to not overcrowd the pan. Depending on the size of the beignet fry on each side 45 seconds to a minute thirty before flipping and repeating. Fry for a total of 2 ½ to 3 minutes.
- Remove beignets from the oil onto a wire rack briefly to let any excess oil drain away.
- Dust immediately with powdered sugar.
- These are best served piping hot.
For the Chocolate Sauce:
- In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until steaming (not quite boiling).
- Pour the chocolate chips in a heat resistant bowl (I like glass).
- Once the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
For overnight beignets:
After you mix the dough, cover it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, set the dough on the counter for 30 minutes at room temperature, before rolling and cutting the dough.