This morning I had a little more time to make a special breakfast for my kids since we are taking this week off from school. So, per my son Timothy's request, I am making his favorite breakfast - whole wheat beignets. I have to admit that the recipe at first glance does sound a bit frightening, but following these easy steps, you too can make these easy little doughnuts that are sure to please even the pickiest eater.
Start by warming the following ingredients together (should be about the temperature of a bath you would put a baby into. Yes, you can put a clean finger into the mixture to test.)
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 3/4 cup milk (or water)
- 1/4 cup SUNANAT (or other sugar of your choosing)
To a medium-to-large bowl add the warmed milk and yeast mixture and add the following:
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup gluten flour
Mix well, and then mix in as much of 3 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (freshly ground if possible) until you have a good elastic dough. (Note: If you are not used to baking bread from scratch, just make sure to add only enough flour so that the dough barely sticks to the side of the bowl you are kneading it in. The electric mixer with a dough hook make the process much easier, but it is not necessary.)
Then heat your oven to 170 F to warm it, then SHUT IT OFF. Oil the bowl you are going to raise your dough in, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in the over AFTER you shut it off. (The reason you heat up the oven and then shut it off to put the dough in is that the mild heat will raise your dough, no fail.) If you want to make the dough up the night before, which is what I usually do, you can skip the oven heating and just put the bowl into the oven with the light on all night. You will wake up to perfectly raised dough that is ready to roll and fry.
After your dough is risen, punch it down and try not to knead too much since the more you handle the dough the tougher it is to handle and roll out. Roll dough into a large rectangle and cut into 32 rectangular pieces. I cut mine in a grid 8 x 4 with a pizza cutter, as you can see to the side here.
Next heat 5 to 6 cups of oil, any mild oil works well for this step, to 180 F. Drop in 4 or 5 beignets at a time, making sure to flip them after 45 seconds. The total cooking time should be about 2 minutes, but it may be more or less depending on your oil and the exact cooking heat. Just make sure they are not too brown. Remove the beignets to a warm tray in the oven covered with paper towel to soak up any excess oil. And then cook the rest in the same manner.
My kids love to rolls these wonderful doughnuts in powered SUCANAT, which I make by grinding regular SUNCANAT in a coffee mill that I use just for grinding sweeter things. One press of the button gives you perfect brown powdered sugar that is much less processed than regular powdered sugar.