Beignets are square doughnut that is covered in powdered sugar. Dip them in our Chocolate Hazelnut, Butterscotch Caramel, and Vanilla Raspberry sauces.
Celebrate Mardi Gras with these tasty Mini Beignets, my favorite dessert from the beautiful city of New Orleans!
What is Mardi Gras?
“Mardi Gras” is a French phrase that translates in English to “Fat Tuesday.” Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, or the 40 days of fasting and moderation leading up to Easter. Lent is traditionally observed by Roman Catholic and other Christian and Protestant religions. Fat Tuesday was the day people would eat the rich and fatty foods in their homes before the fast when only certain foods are allowed.
When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate popular pagan celebrations of spring and fertility with Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras became a time of carnivals, feasts, and festivities that is celebrated around the world today. In Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a legal holiday.
What are beignets?
For those that aren’t familiar, beignets are a square doughnut that is covered in powdered sugar. Did you ever see Disney’s Princess and the Frog? Beignets are 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 beignets with delicious dipping sauces, which is my favorite way to eat them. When I make these beignets, I also make three amazing sauces for dipping. You can find the recipes for our Chocolate Hazelnut, Butterscotch Caramel, and Vanilla Raspberry sauces here.
When making these beignets, be sure to prepare the dough at least 4 hours before you plan to serve them. They need at least 3 hours to raise in the fridge then 30 to 40 more out of the fridge.
How to make New Orleans Mini Beignets
New Orleans Mini Beignets
Combine the yeast, water, and sugar and let sit until frothy, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl or mixer, 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 flour. You want the dough to be soft but not sticky. Add small amounts of flour as needed. It's best when the dough just barely stops sticking to the side of the bowl or mixer.
Cover loosely and let the dough raise in the fridge at least 3 hours or overnight.
Punch down the dough and place it on 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 a slotted spoon to remove dough from the oil and place on the paper towels. Let the dough drain on the paper towels 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!
More Favorite Recipes from New Orleans
We are big fans of the delicious flavors in New Orleans. Check out more of our favorite copycat recipes from our visits to New Orleans here:
- Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Mint Juleps
- Cajun Chicken Po’ Boys
- Pecan Pralines
- Creole Butter Shrimp
- Cajun Style Grill Foil Packets
- One Pot Jambalaya Pasta
- Red Beans and Rice
- Shrimp Po Boys with Creamy Cajun Sauce