So first of all, if you’re seeing this post, that means that you’re also able to see our new blog design!  If you’re using a reader, hop on over to to check out our shiny new look!  For all of you who have cursed us in weeks/months/years gone by about our sucktacular recipe index, you can find any recipe in just a few clicks.  We have to give a huuuuuuuuge shout-out to Susie at Zee Studio for her amazing work on our new look!

So you guys, I think I might have forgotten how to write a blog post.  To say it’s been a crazy couple of weeks would be a major understatement.  Thank you so much for your patience while we worked on this as well as some other massive behind-the-scenes projects (*cough* 2012 calendar with all brand-new recipes *cough cough*)! Believe it or not, our trip to Utah this week for the book launch will be a welcome break!

Before I moved to Louisiana, I had no idea how big of a deal Mardi Gras is here.  Um, yeah, my kids are out of school.  My friend Becky in New Orleans has a kid who’s out for 10 days.  10.  During the last few years, I’ve really come to love Mardi Gras (lots of fun, very little work on my part–totally my kind of holiday!), so the kids and I were pretty bummed when our parade got rained out on Saturday.  To make up for it, we watched The Princess and the Frog, made beignets (pronounced ben-yays, JUST in case you might be wondering), and I stopped just short of throwing beads and plastic cups at my kids and my cat.

I love this recipe because these babies are not just super, super delicious, but they are so easy, the dough can be made the night before and refrigerated, and they only require one short rise.  For the dough, you’ll need flour, salt, sugar, cooking oil, yeast, an egg, and milk. Yeah, the egg didn’t make it into the picture–wanna fight?

In a small saucepan, you want to heat the milk, sugar, salt, and oil until small bubbles form around the edges.  Remove the pan from heat.

While the milk is heating, place the yeast in some warm water with some sugar and let it stand for about 10 minutes until it’s bubbly.

When the milk has heated, add it to some flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix, scraping often, until the mixture is smooth.  Add the egg and mix until well-combined.  Add the yeast mixture and mix well.  Then you want to add enough flour to make a soft dough that slightly sticks to your finger.

At this point, you can do one of two things.  Option A is to spray a bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl, then spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray and place it over the bowl, then refrigerate the dough until you’re ready to use it (up to a day).  The other option is to turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface (I use my giant wood cutting board)…

then roll the dough into a large rectangle that’s about 1/4″ thick.  Using a pizza wheel or a small, sharp knife, cut the dough into rectangles that are about 3″x4″.  Totally approximate.  We’re talking fried pieces of sweet carbs here dusted in powdered sugar; there are bigger forces at play here than exact size!

Separate the pieces a little and then cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

When the dough has been rising for about 15 minutes, heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large skillet or saucepan to 325 degrees (use a candy thermometer) over medium-low heat.  It should take about 15 minutes to reach 325.  As far as the oil goes, I really recommend peanut oil for frying pastries because it has a high smoke point and is almost flavorless–while canola oil is great because it has a high smoke point and it’s good for your heart (um, am I talking about heart health in a post about deep-fried treats?), it can take on kind of a fishy taste, especially at high temperatures.  So unless allergies are a factor, peanut oil is the best way to go.

When the oil is hot, carefully place a few pieces of dough in the hot oil and fry for about 90 seconds-2 minutes on the first side, or until it puffs up and the bottom side is golden.  Flip the dough pieces and fry another 90 seconds or until the other side is golden.  Carefully remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place some powdered sugar into a fine mesh strainer and generously dust the beignets with the powdered sugar.  By “dust,” I’m talking light piles of powdered sugar, not some pansy smattering of powdered sugar.  This is a messy operation.

Eat ’em immediately while they’re hot.

Although hey’re still pretty irresistable when they’re not hot…not that I’d know from any kind of firsthand experience! :)

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