Monday, February 20, 2012

Snow Cloud Buttermilk Beignets

There are some things in life that I think I would have been better off never knowing about. Most of the time I am referring to things like Chips and Dip, and Coca Cola. I'm pretty sure if I had never touched those two items I would be at least two dress sizes smaller. I lay off those kinds of junk foods these days, but there have been a few things that I have made since starting this blog that I really wish I didn't know anything about. Primarily Dulce de Leche Brownies and Crack Pie. You know, those foods that your mind instantly drift to when you have had a less than stellar week? If I only had a big pan of brownies, life would be so much better. Let's just say last week was one of those weeks. You know the ones, where nothing goes terribly wrong, but nothing goes terribly right either? The kind of weeks that leave you feeling just a little deflated. What better to help inflate your spirits than a nice puffy cloud of warm dough with powdered sugar? Now I have one more item to add to the list of foods I wish I didn't know about. While I am thinking about it, the entire DamGoodSweet cookbook is quite dangerous. The really big problem is that beignets are super easy to make in your stand mixer. I'm talking way too easy, so easy you could make them on a week day morning. The dough comes together quickly, although it does take a bit of time to rise. It is super soft and rolls out like a charm. When you make them yourself, you can put just the amount of powdered sugar that you like and they are super fresh. These little pillows of lightly sweet dough are sometimes all I can think of in the morning. Since the ingredients are pretty basic, the only thing that saves me from myself is the fact that I rarely have enough oil in the house for deep frying unless I plan ahead. So, Happy Fat Tuesday! Don't say I didn't warn you...if you decided to make your own beignets to celebrate the day, you might have a hard time making it through lent.
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Snow Cloud Beignets
adapted from Dam Good Sweet

3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 - 4 cups bread flour plus extra for flouring work surface
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Peanut oil for frying
Powdered sugar for serving

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until just barely simmering. Remove from the heat, and add along with the buttermilk to a stand mixer bowl. Whisk in the yeast and the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. Slowly add 3 1/2 cups of the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed, using a dough hook, until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough forms a loose ball and is still quite wet and tacky.  My dough was incredibly wet, so I added another 1/2 cup of flour and it came out perfectly. If you think you won't be able to work with the super sticky dough, go ahead and add a little more flour. The less flour you add, the lighter your beignets will be. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough aside in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 hour.
Pour enough peanut oil into a large pot to fill it to a depth of 3 inches and bring to a temperature of 375°F over medium heat (this will take about 20 minutes). Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on it. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, gently press to flatten, fold it in half, and gently tuck the ends under to create a long rectangle. Dust again and roll the dough out into a ½-inch thick. Let the dough rest for 1 minute before using a chef's knife, a bench knife, or a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares (you should get about 48). Alternately, you can use cookie cutters to cut the beignets into fun shapes. You won't get nearly as many beignets as you can not re-roll the dough. I only ended up with about 20 beignets, but I was thankful for that!
Gently stretch a beignet lengthwise and carefully drop it into the oil. Add a few beignets (don't overcrowd them, otherwise the oil will cool down and the beignets will soak up oil and be greasy) and fry until puffed and golden brown. You will need to turn them often with a slotted spoon, for about 2 minutes. You want to flip them almost instantly, otherwise they puff up on one side and will only float on one side without holding them down. You want them to puff evenly on both sides for even cooking. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain while you cook the rest. Serve while still warm, sprinkled with a generous amount of powdered sugar, with hot coffee on the side.

2 comments:

  1. Oh what a cute idea! Especially for the kinds.. great ones :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. just went on a trip to new orleans, and have been having sweet biegnet dreams ever since. thank you for these lovely photos and this post to remind me i need to make my own ASAP!

    ReplyDelete

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