These square doughnuts are a bit more sophisticated, which makes them ideal to serve at a Chanukah gathering. Instead of yeast, you can double the baking powder for a different sort of texture that is equally as good. If doing that, then knead the dough for half as long.
- ½ cup warm water -
- 5 tsp instant or bread machine yeast -
- 1 cup warm light cream, soy milk, or water -
- 1/3 cup sugar -
- 1½ tsp salt -
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract -
- 2 eggs -
- 1/3 cup oil or unsalted butter -
- 5 cups all-purpose flour -
- 2 tsp baking powder -
- Oil for frying -
- Sugar for dusting -
- Confectioner’s sugar, with vanilla powder (optional) -
1. In a large mixer bowl, stir together the yeast and warm water. Let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes to allow the yeast to swell.
2. Stir in the warm cream or soy milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, oil, baking powder and flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 5 - 8 minutes (by hand or with a dough hook). Add additional flour as needed to form a firm, smooth, elastic dough.
3. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Place the bowl in a plastic bag and seal. (If you are not using it right away, you may refrigerate the dough at this point.) Allow the dough to rise in a covered, lightly greased bowl for 30 - 40 minutes.
4. Gently deflate the dough (if the dough was refrigerated, let it warm at room temperature for about 40 minutes before proceeding).
5. Roll out or press the dough into a large rectangle, about 3/4-inch thick. Let it rest if it is resistant. Cover the dough with a tea towel for a few minutes, then cut it into large squares (about 3 - 4 inches square). Let rest another 20 minutes.
6. Heat about four inches of oil in a fryer (a wok works best but you can use a Dutch oven or whatever you usually use for frying) to about 375F. To test the oil, if a tiny bit of dough tossed into the oil sizzles and swells immediately, the oil temperature is where it should be.
7. Add the beignets to the hot oil, one or two at a time. Turn once to fry until the undersides are deep brown. Lift the beignets out with tongs and drain on paper towels.
8. Fill a large bowl with a few cups of white sugar. Toss the beignets in sugar with a little cinnamon, if you wish, and shake off any excess.