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In New Orleans, breakfast is synonymous with piping hot beignets: deep-fried fritters that are topped with a generous dusting of confectioners' sugar. The traditional accompaniment is a steaming cup of café au lait.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with 3 layers of paper towels. Fill a heavy pot halfway with oil, set over medium-high heat and heat to 370°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, butter and vanilla. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until well combined.

Divide the dough in half and form into 2 balls; the dough will be sticky. On a well-floured surface, knead each ball lightly 2 times, then roll into an 8-by-10-inch rectangle, flouring the rolling pin if needed. Using a knife, cut each rectangle into 12 small rectangles. Alternatively, using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 12 rounds from each rectangle.

Fry the beignets 4 at a time, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Dust the beignets generously with confectioners' sugar.

Transfer the beignets to a platter and serve warm. Makes 24 beignets.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.