Hello Everyone! Welcome to Djalali Cooks, on this Monday before Fat Tuesday! For several years, I have enjoyed the festivities of Mardi Gras. Almost every year it’s looked different for me because I have moved around so much. When I was living in Saint Louis, Missouri, I went to the Mardi Gras parade and festivities that take place in the Soulard neighborhood, which is the historical French district in the city. In California, the festivities are more subdued, but Alex and I really enjoyed the party at one of our favorite local Los Gatos restaurants, The Bywater. This year, here in Athens, we will be home. But that’s no reason not to have a little fun on our own; with some King Cake Beignets to celebrate.
King Cake Beignets
I found this recipe by Ivy Odom in the latest issue of Southern Living. I was happy to discover it because I had been looking for King Cake recipes and since I love beignets, this just seemed like a perfect mash up of the two. Plus, I have never made beignets or doughnuts before so I was up for the challenge. Turns out, they are super easy!
We start by letting the active dry yeast bloom in a little of the warm water and a little sugar for about 5 minutes. When the yeast is foamy, stir in beaten eggs, evaporated milk, the remaining sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
Mix the shortening with the remaining warm water. I had to re-warm my remaining water to get the shortening to melt. And even then it still didn’t melt as much as I expected it to, but it all worked out ok with mostly melted, soft shortening. Beat this mixture on low in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment until well incorporated and smooth.
Stir together the cinnamon and the flour and gradually add it to the wet mixture while beating on low. Beat until mixture comes together to form a sticky dough. Use a silicone dough scraper to transfer dough to a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Turn the dough ball to coat, cover and place in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cream Cheese Frosting
While the dough is hanging out in the fridge, we can make the cream cheese frosting and get it into a piping bag. Just mix the room temperature cream cheese with the milk, butter, salt, vanilla and mix to a smooth consistency. The paddle attachment on a mixer is the easiest way to mix this all up. Set this aside with your purple, yellow and green sanding sugars until the beignets are ready to frost.
Making the Beignets
Once the dough is out of the fridge, prepare a work surface with a light dusting of flour.
Roll the dough our to a (mostly) square shape that is about 12″ x 12″, about 1/4″ thick. Then cut 2″ squares. A pizza wheel cutter is the easiest way to make smooth cuts. I will let you in on a secret: I am extremely detail-oriented, but not when it comes to rolling out and measuring things like dough. Because my dough is more rectangular, and even though I used my handy bench scraper’s ruler, I still ended up with wonky pieces of dough. But guess what, it doesn’t matter if they’re not all perfectly the same. Some are big, some are small; some are triangular, some are rectangular. I like the variety.
After you cut the dough, arrange your fry station with the pot and two sets of cooling rack/sheet tray set ups. Have your spider or slotted spoon close by.
In a 5-6 quart Dutch oven, pour enough vegetable oil to a depth of about 2 inches. Over medium-high heat, get the oil up to 360 degrees. Once you’re at temp, drop in about 6 pieces of dough and fry until golden. Adjust the heat to maintain temp.
It will be about a minute and a half per side. You definitely don’t want to walk away from them. Once golden on both sides, use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer them to a wire rack placed in a sheet tray.
Once all the beignets are done, give them a drizzle of frosting and liberally sprinkle with the purple, green and yellow sanding sugars. I accidentally snipped too wide of a tip off my piping bag, but that’s ok! They still got frosted and sugared. And they are delicious! Transfer them to a plate or platter for immediate service.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
That’s a wrap on today’s Mardi Gras recipe for King Cake Beignets! My beignets are all different shapes and sizes; the frosting isn’t perfectly piped. But none of that matters because these little fried and frosted bites of dough are wonderfully airy and chewy; perfectly sweetened with the frosting and sugar. These are such a fun and festive way to celebrate Mardi Gras tomorrow! I do hope you give them a try. If you want another recipe perfect for Mardi Gras, try my One Dish Low Country Boil – see if you can find crawfish to sub in for the shrimp. Don’t forget, you can give me a follow on Instagram and Pinterest! Take care and be well, everyone. xo Kelly
King Cake Beignets
King Cake decorated beignets are the perfect dessert hybrid for Mardi Gras. The beignets are airy and chewy; perfectly sweetened with the cream cheese frosting and bright sanding sugars.
- Beignet Dough
- 1 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
- 3/4 cup Warm Water (105 to 115 degrees), divided
- 4 tbsp. Granulated Sugar, divided
- 1 Large Egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp. Vegetable Shortening
- 3/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 3.5 cups Bread Flour, plus more for work surface
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 tbsp. Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tbsp. Whole Milk
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp. Powdered Sugar, sifted
- Green, Purple, and Yellow Sanding Sugars
Stir together the yeast, 1/4 cup of the warm water and 1/2 teaspoon of the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixture with the dough hook attachment. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir in egg, evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and remaining granulated sugar.
Stir together shortening and remaining warm water (reheat if needed to melt the shortening). Add to the yeast mixture and beat on low until combined.
Stir together cinnamon and bread flour. Gradually add cinnamon and flour blend to the yeast mixture, beat on low speed until a sticky dough forms.
Transfer to a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turn the dough to grease the top, cover and place in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting:
Combine cream cheese, butter, salt, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy.
Spoon frosting into a piping bag or a Ziplock and set aside.
Cutting and Frying Beignets
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 12" x 12" square. Use a pizza wheel cutter to cut dough into 2" x 2" squares (you should get about 36 pieces).
Pour oil to a depth of 2" in a large Dutch oven. Over medium-high heat, heat oil to 360 degrees.
Carefully drop in 6 dough pieces at a time (work in about 6 batches), and fry for about 1.5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to a wire rack placed in a sheet tray.
Once all beignets are done, cut a 1/16" -1/8" tip off the piping bag and drizzle frosting over beignets and sprinkle with the purple, green and yellow sanding sugars. Serve immediately.
Suzanne SmithFebruary 15, 2021 at 9:46 am
I’ve never made beignets. They do sound easy. Sometime I’ll try them. I love your colors! Very festive. Very N’awlins.
Kelly DjalaliFebruary 15, 2021 at 10:36 am
Hi Suzanne! I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to make. Thanks for stopping by today! xo Kelly
Sylvia EspinozaFebruary 15, 2021 at 10:29 am
Hi, Kelly…Amazing Kelly! Where to begin! Your gift of story-telling, sharing historical facts related to the recipes, speaking other languages, along with detailed instructions and pictures, and so much more, prove you were made for this blog. We get to travel via your food ideas right from the comfort of home. You come up with unique and interesting recipes that keep me glued to Djalali Cooks! Today I can almost smell the beignets. Years ago, a coworker received an overnight shipment of beignets from her daughter in New Orleans and shared with us. Hooked! Someday perhaps will enjoy them “in person” in NO. Appreciate every single post, Kelly. Thanks once more for sharing recipes and yourself with us. Hugs!~
Kelly DjalaliFebruary 15, 2021 at 10:41 am
Hello Sylvia, Thank you so much! I really enjoy sharing stories and your enthusiasm and support is such a great motivation! Thank you so much for your comments too, I love to hear how my stories and recipes resonate with y’all! It’s so good to hear from you today, Sylvia – have a beautiful day, xo Kelly
TerryFebruary 15, 2021 at 10:57 am
These look really good and delicious. I gave never had them..I will give them a shot ❤️Mom
Kelly DjalaliFebruary 15, 2021 at 11:59 am
You will find these easy to make Mom! I am sure they will remind Grandma of the Bakery! xo Kelly