This version of Beignets can be made at the last minute because it does not require kneading or rising time. It is so easy that you'll find yourself whipping up a batch whenever you are in the mood for a little something sweet.
Oil for frying – safflower or other oil with a high smoke point
1-3/4 cups sifted flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon pure vanilla
2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
2 tablespoons milk
½ cup powdered sugar
Fill a heavy pot (or 2-1/2” deep cast iron skillet) halfway with oil. Be sure to use good frying oil with a high smoke point. Heat over a medium-high flame until oil reaches a temperature of 360 degrees F.
While the oil is heating up, lightly beat the eggs with a wire whisk in a large bowl. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir milk and oil (canola or safflower) into sugar-egg mixture. Add the flour, baking powder and salt into a sifter or sieve and sift directly into egg mixture. Stir until a biscuit-like dough forms.
Lightly flour a work surface and turn out the dough. If the dough is too sticky, gently work in a small amount of flour. The dough will be tough if overworked. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour and gently roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8-inch. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut rolled dough into 2-inch squares. Resist the temptation to remix the scraps. They will be tough so just fry up the odd bits just as they are.
Use a dough scraper or spatula to gently lift the cutout dough off the work surface and into the hot oil. Fry the beignets, a few at a time, until golden, turning as necessary, with a slotted spoon. When both sides are golden, remove from hot oil and allow the beignets to drain on paper towels. Dust heavily with sifted powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Makes about 1 dozen Beignets
Although it costs a few dollars more, you can make scrumptious Beignets from a mix! I like the one from Cafe du Monde.