New Orleans Beignets
New Orleans Beignets are a classic sweet treat in the Crescent City. Now you can make a batch at home…complete with plenty of powdered sugar!
How do you take your coffee? On most mornings, I take mine with a splash of half-and-half and a half spoonful of sugar. Laura takes hers black. When we’re on vacation, we’ll almost always order a cappuccino (or two). But my favorite coffee? It would have to be a chicory cafe au lait. Hands down. Oh, and definitely with a side of New Orleans Beignets!
If you’ve never experienced chicory in your coffee, then put that on your list of things to try! According to Cafe du Monde (the iconic New Orleans coffee and beignet stand), the French first discovered the combination of chicory and coffee. During the French civil war, coffee was scarce. Someone discovered that adding chicory to coffee added a depth of flavor without adding more coffee beans – and that tradition just stuck.
Chicory is actually the root of the endive plant. You might be familiar with endive – it’s a type of lettuce that is readily available in most grocery stores. The root of the endive is roasted and ground and then added to coffee. There is a noticeable layer of flavor with chicory coffee, and I love it! Living in upstate New York, I can’t find chicory coffee anywhere. Fortunately, Community Coffee, my favorite Louisiana coffee brand, sells chicory coffee online. The only thing missing is a batch of New Orleans Beignets alongside that chicory coffee!
New Orleans Beignets
A mug of cafe au lait (made with chicory coffee) and a plate of beignets is the way to start a day…especially when you’re on vacation in New Orleans! Beignets are fried pieces of dough (think fritters) that are topped with a generous amount of powdered sugar. And when I say generous, I mean generous!
If you order beignets at Cafe du Monde in the French Market, you’ll need to tap off half of the powdered sugar first. And then you’ll still end up wearing most of the powdered sugar on your shirt. But it’s worth it! There’s no clean way to eat beignets, so just go all-in. If you end up with powdered sugar all over you, then no big deal!
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at homemade New Orleans Beignets for years, and I finally decided that it was time. This yeasted dough is pretty easy to make, except there is one trick – the dough needs to rest in the refrigerator overnight. You’ll need to plan ahead. However, the silver lining is that you can have fresh beignets the next morning with very little effort! Like most doughnuts, beignets are best eaten fresh. And let me tell ya – starting the morning with a cafe au lait and a plate of beignets almost makes me feel like I’m in New Orleans. Almost. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did – powdered sugar and all!
Did you make a batch of these New Orleans Beignets at home? Leave a comment, or snap a picture and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!
New Orleans Beignets
- ¼ cup warm water ~110°F
- 1¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar divided
- 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk warmed
- ½ cup water warmed
- 1 large egg
- 4-4½ cups all-purpose flour
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Using a small bowl, add warm water, yeast and 1 tsp of sugar; stir until well combined. Set bowl aside for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using the bowl for a countertop/electric mixer, add remaining 3 Tbsp of sugar, vegetable shortening and salt; mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add warm milk, water, egg and yeast mixture; mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition, until a smooth dough forms. (Note: The dough should be soft, but still pull away from the sides of the bowl.)
- Transfer dough to a lightly-floured work surface. Fold several times and then transfer dough into a lightly-oiled bowl.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm location for 1 hour. (Tip: I like to let dough rise in the oven with the light turned on – just don’t turn the actual oven on!)
- Fold dough again and place it back into the oiled bowl. Cover and refrigerate dough overnight.
- The next day, place dough on a lightly-floured work surface. Roll dough to ¼” thickness. Using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel, cut dough into 2” square pieces.
- Using a large Dutch oven or deep frying, add enough vegetable oil to fill bottom 3” of the pot. Heat oil to 350°F. (Test oil by dropping a pinch of dough into oil. If it bubbles immediately, then oil is ready.)
- Gently lower 4-5 beignets into the hot oil. Fry each batch for 2-3 minutes, turning frequently during frying, or until beignets are golden brown.
- Transfer beignets to a paper-towel (or brown paper grocery bag) lined plate. Repeat process with remaining beignets.
- While beignets are still hot, generously dust the tops with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
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Oddly I am not a donut fan, so when we ordered a bag of beignets at Cafe du Monde I was not expecting to be impressed. But OMG, incredible. And I love the idea of making my own! Yours look absolutely perfect, David! (Now to get some chicory coffee to go with them! So glad you have a resource because I haven’t been able to find it locally.)
You don’t like donuts!? Marissa! Haha – just kidding. Beignets are similar to donuts, but so very different. Uniquely chewy, and SO good covered in powdered sugar. And even better with chicory coffee! 🙂
I prefer my coffee black, but occasionally, I can add a spoon (or two) of sweetened condensed milk – if I want to really indulge myself. But chicory? No, thanks. Not my cup of tea…or coffee. Those Beignets, on the other side, are totally my kind of tea…or donuts? I’m confused haha. They look so beautifully pillowy and delicious!
Ah, but have you ever tried coffee with chicory in it? You’ve gotta try it before you can say you don’t like it! And beignets? Oh man, those are one of my favorite things about New Orleans!
These beignets look delicious! I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans… one day, hopefully! The chicory coffee sounds delicious — I wonder if it tastes the same as Vietnamese-style coffee?
Ah, you absolutely have to put New Orleans on your list of places to visit. It’s such a unique and wonderful city! From the food to the history to the food to the culture to the food… 🙂
So I’ve actually had Vietnamese-style coffee, and coffee + chicory is definitely different. I recall Vietnamese coffee being very sweet (and delicious) while chicory coffee is strong and bold. Think traditional black coffee but with an extra oomph. I know that doesn’t do it justice, but man is it good! If you put cream/sugar in your coffee, you’ll still need to put cream/sugar with chicory coffee, too. Just plan a trip to New Orleans post-pandemic and you’ll see what I mean! Haha!
David, I have fond memories of sitting at Cafe du Monde drinking coffee and eating their beignets. Although, I prefer them without the sugar and with honey. Kinda like a French sopapilla. The cafe is one of my favorite people-watching spots of all time.
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!
Honey and beignets? I didn’t even realize that was an option at Cafe du Monde – I’ve always opted for the yummy (and messy) powdered sugar! Now I want to try honey on my beignets. And, yes, people watching in New Orleans is an all-day activity!
I’m a huge coffee fan and a huge donut fan, but I’ve actually never had chicory coffee or a beignet! I feel like I’ve been living under a rock! Not certain when I’ll be able to take a trip to New Orleans (one day!) but I can whip up a batch of these beignets in my very own kitchen! They look delicious!!! Thanks for the inspiration.
Oh my goodness – you have to try chicory coffee, Kathy! It’s such a unique flavor. It’s definitely still coffee-flavored, but with an extra “oomph” to it. I love it! And beignets? They’re amazing! Do put a trip to New Orleans on the list for whenever we can travel again. The food and culture down there is incredible!
My husband always adds a bit of chicory to our morning coffee. His family hails from near New Orleans so maybe this is where he got that idea! In any case I’ll bring the coffee if you share the beignets!
Ah, that’s exactly why your husband adds chicory to the coffee – at least I suspect so! Chicory + coffee is very common in south Louisiana. I missed finding it up here until it hit me one day that I can just order it online. And if you’re offering up chicory coffee, then you can be sure I’ll be there!!
Ahh, I miss travelling! Just reading about Cafe du Monde brings so many memories – and boy, do they pile that sugar on high there! These look magnificent, David, and definitely the next best thing to travelling to New Orleans right now. Thanks so much for sharing!
I didn’t realize how much the lack of traveling would hit me, Katerina. It definitely dampened the mood here, but I do think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. (We have a vacation scheduled for June this year, and I’ve got my fingers crossed we can go!)
But since we can’t travel right now, the next best thing is making beignets at home! 🙂
I love doughnuts of all kinds. I’ve never been to Louisiana, and nor had the authentic Louisianan Beinets. This look so good and I’m tempted to try out soon. My hubby and son, the doughnut monsters, would go nuts over.
Ah, you have to schedule a trip to New Orleans once it’s safe to travel again, Holly! From the history to the culture to the food, there is so much to love about south Louisiana! Of course, beignets are a requirement when you’re in New Orleans. In the meantime, though, make a batch of these at home! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Cheers!
I’m like Laura, I like my coffee black. Lynne has been to New Orleans but not being a coffee drinker she didn’t come across these. Had I been there then I can gaurantee I would have. The first stop wherever we are on holiday exploring each morning is to a local coffee shop! These look delicious David and definitely a compliment to any coffee, however you like it!
Ah, that just means you have to go back, Neil. And order a coffee with chicory. 🙂 I prefer Community Coffee when it comes to coffee, but when in NOLA, you’ve just gotta stop by Cafe du Monde!
Oh wow! What a stellar treat! I have you to thank for that nugget about the relationship between chicory and endive roots – I had no idea! I’ve had chicory coffee a few times and you are spot on – a batch of beignets are the perfect pairing! In fact, I have some chicory coffee – I’l drone some up if you load up the drone and send it back with a batch of these?! 🙂
You know what’s funny, Shashi? Our local grocery store sells endive, but they label it as ‘chicory.’ I think that’s when I realized that endive and chicory are related. Of course, it’s the root – not the leaves – that get ground up for coffee. I love it! And beignets? Well those are just a requirement with chicory coffee. I’ll gladly make that trade with you – we can’t get chicory coffee up here! (Thank goodness for online ordering, though, right??) 🙂
cooking with yeast scares me as does frying so i will just have to dream on…
Oh no! You can do it, Sherry – I know you can! Heck, if I can do it, you can do it! 🙂
For me it will just be black, no sugar, so I usually opt for Americano, Long Black or Espresso depends on how sleepy I am still. Those beignets looks great, definitely perfect with any hot drink.
If you ever get to try chicory in your coffee, then do it! The flavor is unique, and I love it. And serving it with beignets? That’s how to do it New Orleans-style!
The only thing that could be better would be enjoying these beignets at the Cafe du Monde. Not their beignets, David. Sneaking yours into the cafe!
I love chickory coffee, too. When I was in high school, and my mom wouldn’t let me drink coffee, my best friend’s mother didn’t know that, and would let me drink it at her house. She I think had New Orleans roots somehow, and all she would ever drink was chickory coffee. I don’t remember what the brand name was. But it was so good. I haven’t had it in years, unfortunately.
Haha – hilarious, Jeff! Can you imagine going into Cafe du Monde and ordering a coffee, but then just pulling beignets out of your bag? That made me laugh…thanks for that!
Ah, chicory coffee is such a unique thing. When we moved up to upstate New York years ago, I didn’t anticipate the lack of certain grocery items which I always took for granted. Chicory coffee is one of those. I got out of the habit of drinking it until I realized I can just order it from Community Coffee. You should order some!