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.
Looking for more tasty breakfast or brunch recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: