Can you make regular doughnuts from beignet dough? Yes. The answer is yes. And they're delicious.
But since that sentence is probably too short for the makings of a good blog post, allow me to expand.
Recently, I was making beignets for an upcoming post on Craftsy. I started with a King Arthur Flour recipe. I made a few edits but mainly kept the soul of the recipe alive. The beignets turned out great.
But the recipe yielded about 30, and I didn't need that many, nor could I consume that many on the same day, and you know how it is: doughnuts really are best the same day made. So I saved some of the dough, and over the next few days, I tried frying some of it up in a more traditional doughnut form.
Well, guess what? They turned out great.
Beignet dough is kind of interesting: a little more dense than a typical yeast doughnut dough, in my opinion. Since they're small little pillows, you don't necessarily notice this right away. When it came to making more traditionally shaped doughnuts, though, you really notice the different texture. For me, a lover of cake doughnuts WAY WAY WAY over yeast doughnuts any day, this was a great thing.
In my opinion, doughnuts made from beignet dough have the texture of a cake doughnut, but the flavor of a yeast doughnut. Basically, the best of both worlds. A more complex flavor, but an indulgent "heft" and great texture.
Flavor-wise, these doughnuts were mild: lightly sweet, vanilla. I amped them up a little bit by topping them with a simple confectioners' sugar glaze (sorry, I don't even measure, I just pour a bunch of confectioners' sugar in a bowl then add milk or cream a little at a time and stir until it's glaze-like in consistency), which I made fancy with a touch of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and...most importantly, cocoa nibs from French Broad Chocolates in Asheville.
My sweetheart asked what I would like to call my creation, and I said with absolutely no hesitation, "NIBBY NUTS!".
So there you go. If you wanna, you can make this recipe and use the dough to make beignets, or you can cut them with a doughnut cutter, fry 'em up, top them with glaze and nibs, and have some nibby nuts of your own with which to fill your mouth.
Nibby Nuts (doughnuts made using beignet dough)
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour
In a saucepan, combine the water, milk, and butter. Heat on low until the butter melts; remove from heat. Once it is cooled to about 105 degrees F, add the yeast, and let it bubble a bit before moving on.
Add the rest of the ingredients (all of 'em) and mix the dough until combined with a wooden spoon. Ditch the spoon and knead by hand until smooth, 3-4 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise for about 1 hour, or until puffy and bigger (maybe not doubled in size, but approaching it).
Deflate the dough, then turn onto a work surface (I didn't need to flour mine, but you might; have some flour on hand just in case). Roll into a large rectangle, about 14x10 inches. Now, if you're making doughnuts I guess you wouldn't have to worry about this particular size, but since I made the recipe intending to make beignets, I'm leaving this in.
Now, decide if you want to make doughnuts or beignets. For beignets, cut the dough into 2-inch squares. For doughnuts, cut out as many as you can using a doughnut cutter. Save those holes too!
Place the dough portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let proof, covered with plastic, for about 30 minutes.
Fill a frying pan (10 or 12 inches) with 3/4 inch of oil -- I used olive oil, but that was kind of pricey, so you might want to try canola or vegetable oil. Whatevs. Heat that business up to 350-360 degrees F.
Place a few dough portions in the hot oil at a time; fry for about 1 minute on the first side, or until golden. Flip using tongs, and fry to match the second side with the first. Remove, and place on paper towels to blot excess oil.
When slightly cooled, dip in a confectioners' sugar glaze with cocoa nibs. (see my description of how I made it in the blog post).