Pour yourself a cafe au lait and enjoy these New Orleans beignets served warm with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar. These fried dough squares are tender, light, and the perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras!
Heat the milk over low heat to 105 - 110 degrees. Pour into a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk in the yeast. Let stand for a couple minutes until it begins to activate and froth.
Combine the flour, sugar, egg, salt, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until combined.
Pour in the milk/yeast mixture and vanilla and beat until just combined. Switch to the dough hook and knead the mixture for 3-4 mins. Mixture will be smooth, but still quite tacky.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
Fill a heavy bottomed pot (a dutch oven will work) with at least 2 inches of vegetable oil. Fit the pot with a deep fry cooking thermometer and heat oil to 375 degrees.
Roll or stretch the dough into a rectangle (about 6 x 16 inches), about 1/2 inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut into 18 - 2 inch squares.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels and pour 1 cup confectioners sugar into a brown bag. Set aside.
Once the oil is up to temperature, carefully slide 4-5 squares of dough into the oil. Fry until golden brown on one side and using a spider strainer or a slotted spoon, turn the beignets to the other side to brown. Beignets will be done in about 3 minutes total.
Remove and drain on the lined baking sheet and then shake the still hot beignets in the confectioners sugar in the paper bag. Repeat with remaining dough.
Yields: 18 beignets
Serving size: 2 beignets