Beignets {Happy Mardi Gras!}

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 www.ourbestbites.com 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! 🙂

woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog! The new site changes look really nice and I look forward to continuing to enjoy your fabulous recipes! Thank you! =)

  2. You forgot: serve with hot chocolate with a side of live jazz!

    Thanks for the great recipe!!! We moved away about 6 months ago and I’ve been totally craving it.

    Happy Mardi Gras!

  3. I’m making these today. 🙂 I just hope I can hold off on eating all of them before everyone gets home today.
    Ooooh, can’t wait for a calendar. I love recipe calendars. Will they be out and available in plenty of time for Christmas?

    ps…I have to ask because if I don’t I’ll be wondering all day…is that a little purple pepper or something in the first photo of the beignets with the powdered sugar?

    1. Patti, I hope you love them! And nope, it’s just powdered sugar–it must be the light or the shadows or the display on your computer or something! 🙂

  4. I am in love with the new layout, ladies!! I really like the recipe index. I find it much easier to navigate now and I have found recipes that I never knew were there before. I also really like the nutritional info added to the recipes!

  5. Even if you NEVER, EVER, EVER have a giveaway…..you’re STILL the best food blog on the entire net! LOVE YA!

  6. YUM! These look delicious! You’re new design looks FABULOUS! Love it! Congrats girls on the new book as well. Can’t wait to get it… hopefully for my anniversary. 😉

  7. I love your new look! You girls are seriously doing amazing things. Once again, a big congratulations!

  8. Oh, I forgot I was also going to mention how much I love the look of the new site! It’s absolutely amazing!

  9. Hey! I follow your site on google reader, but since the change it has not been updating on my feed. I thought I would just let you guys know in case it is a glitch. Love your site though!

    1. I know it’s still in the process of switching over–if you don’t get Wednesday’s email, please let us know!

  10. These look amazing! My mom used to make sopapillas that looked very similar, but we would bite the top off and fill it with honey instead of the powdered sugar. YUM!

  11. Beignets are one of the things I miss most about growing up in Louisiana! A tip for people worried about making a huge mess with the powdered sugar – my parents always put a GENEROUS amount of powdered sugar into a double lined brown paper bag (lunch bag) and dumped the beignets in there straight from the oil. The kids got to take turns shaking the bag and taking the coated beignets out, which kept us out of trouble, and it was one less mess on the countertop for my mom to clean up!

    1. Ali,
      I was just going to comment about the paper bag method. This is what we use here on weekend mornings when I can’t bother to make things super pretty and clean up extra mess. 🙂

  12. Ladies – I say again, GREAT job on the cookbook. I have been enjoying making new stuff and revisiting old friends published there and hubby and I are really enjoying it. The little Brazilian Cheese Rolls are becoming a weekly event! 🙂 Thanks again and keep on cookin’

      1. I love that I know who MomChops is! I like Lolly’s site as well.
        I have a sidenote question– I have looked in a couple different places and I am having a hard time finding tapioca flour. Any questions?

  13. YUM! I think the new layout is adorable, but I can’t find the search recipes option. Did you get rid or it? Or am I just a moron? Got my cookbook . . . LOVE IT!

    1. Laura, check out the hot pink tabbed box on the right-hand side–it’s there! 🙂

  14. I make these for our Christmas morning brunch every year in honor of my first grandchild who was born in New Orleans. Love them!

  15. I ADORE the new look! It’s so happy and fun! These look really good, too. We were watching “The Princess and the Frog” the other night and this looks like what Tiana’s specialty is!

  16. Love, love, love, LOVE the new design! And I can’t even express how much I’m enjoying the cookbook, too.

  17. I absolutely love your new look, but then again I loved your old look too! I just wanted to let you know that I tried to print the recipe by using the lone ‘print recipe’ button above the recipe and nothing printed up (well I got a sheet with the date and your web address on it, but surely not the recipe). I tried it twice with the same result. I then tried the ‘print recipe’ button next to Kate’s picture and that worked just fine. I’m sure it was something I did, but just in case it wasn’t (which would be amazing) I wanted to let you guys know so you would be on top of it! Thanks for all of the wonderful recipes!

    1. Heather, it might not work with some browsers. If you have another web browser installed on your computer, try that. If it doesn’t work, the Print Friendly button (the one you used) should still work, it’s just not quite as pretty! 🙂

  18. I just popped over to check out the new blog design and, although I love it, I have to say the heart-shaped lemon slice in your graphic doesn’t make much sense. If that was on a fork, how on Earth could anyone manage to hold the fork and take a bit out of the side of it like that? Shouldn’t the bite be on the other lobe of the heart? Not criticizing, mind you, just curious . . . I noticed it IMMEDIATELY, but then, maybe I’m just picky and overly-observant: )

    1. The GOOD news is that there aren’t any heart-shaped oranges, so it’s probably a moot point. 🙂 No, really, it was just supposed to be cute and light-hearted. 🙂

  19. These sound great and I’ve wanted to try making them since I saw that movie too. I just wish my kids liked the movie a little better so I could watch it more often. Ü I think we might have the same friend Becky—did she move from Des Moines? Can’t wait to give these a try. Dinner for tomorrow is planned!

  20. YUM! These look very similar to the scones I grew up eating. In fact, we just had them last night. I got your cookbook last week and tried your Smokey Bean Soup with Ham and Bacon last night as well. My husband is actually not a big fan of bean with bacon soup from a can, but he loved this! Thank you!!

    I’m also trying your dinner rolls tonight, and I’m excited! I am really starting to love working with dough, thanks to your recipes and tips. (And I’m not afraid of it anymore!) I accidently dripped a little water on the page while mixing the rolls together, though, and immediately felt really sad because I usually like to keep special things really nice and new. But then I realized that rippled and tattered pages are a sure trademark of a tried and true favorite cookbook!!

    Totally loving the cookbook and new website!!!

  21. I have been waiting forever for you to change up your site to make the recipes easier to find. I LOVE your site and have made ever so many delicious things from it!! Thanks a million! (And my mom always raves about your baked potato soup!)

  22. I’ve been thinking of making beignets since I saw them on the Princess and the Frog! Ha ha Having never lived in the South, I had never heard of them before that. This recipe makes them look really doable. I think I’ll pick up some peanut oil this afternoon when I hit Safeway.

  23. I LOVE beignets!! My mom used to make them when I was growing up and then I got to eat one at Cafe du Monde in The French Quarter years ago. Then I made them for book club a few years ago. I totally didn’t even realize it was Mardi Gras tomorrow, but I will definitely be mixing up a batch of these tomorrow now!!!