With Mardi Gras coming up, I thought I would share some Mini Beignets, my favorite dessert from the beautiful city of New Orleans! For those that aren’t familiar, beignets are kind of like a square doughnut that is covered in powdered sugar. Did you ever see Disney’s Princess and the Frog? That’s the dessert they eat in the beginning of the movie! When we were visiting New Orleans we regularly hit up the famous Cafe Du Monde for these tasty treats! And if you are at Disneyland, they have the closest replicas, besides my own :), that I have tasted so far. In a restaurant in New Orleans Square they serve their beignets with delicious dipping sauces, which is my favorite way to eat them! For making my own I have three sauces that are all amazing, a Chocolate Hazelnut, a Butterscotch Caramel, and a Vanilla Raspberry, recipes (HERE).
Be sure to prepare the dough at least 4 hours before when you plan to serve these because they need at least 3 hours to raise in the fridge then 30 to 40 more out of the fridge.
Combine the yeast, water, and sugar and let sit until frothy, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, or I just used my Bosch with the bread attachment on, combine the yeast mixture with the egg, salt, and evaporated milk. Blend in about half the flour, then add the shortening and blend in well, then add the rest of the four. You want the dough to be soft but not sticky, so add small amounts of flour as needed. I like when mine is just barely no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Cover loosely and let the dough raise in the fridge at least 3 hours or overnight.
Punch down the dough then remove from bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large square. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2 inch squares (for full size beignets make 4 inch squares). Remove squares to a cookie sheet lined with cooking spray and let raise for 30 to 40 minutes.
Pour vegetable oil into a deep fry pan over the stove on medium high to heat. When oil is hot, test a small piece of dough in the oil to make sure it's hot enough, the dough should float to the top and begin to brown within a few seconds.
Prepare by setting out a large plate topped with paper towels and a large slotted spoon near the stove, these cook quickly! Also fill your paper bag with about a cup of powdered sugar.
Carefully place several pieces of dough in the oil, when you see the edges turning golden, quickly flip them over and cook for a few seconds more. Use slotted spoon to remove dough to the paper towels on the plate. Let drain on paper towel for about 30 seconds then toss into the paper bag filled with powdered sugar. Seal the top and shake to coat. Add more powdered sugar as needed as you go. Remove coated pieces to a plate and serve immediately, they taste best warm!