Even though I avoid all deep fried foods, sometimes I just want a doughnut. My favorite doughnut is the classic New Orleans beignet, which is a chewy pillow of goodness served covered in piles of powdered sugar. Not a good food choice if you are watching your blood sugar levels.
I've tried several beignet recipes at home, but they all have required (1) yeast and rising time, and (2) white flour. Since my Saturday mornings start with two hungry and impatient kids, I need to get something in front of them to eat ASAP. Keeping our health in mind, I tried out several rifts on a traditional beignet with whole grain flours and fruit toppings. The recipe below is our favorite - I use baking powder instead of yeast, so the texture is light, fluffy, and reminiscent of a biscuit with a crunchy crust. I like to spread my beignet with a berry compote, but the kids still prefer them dusted with powdered sugar.
1 1/2 cup stone ground flour, or organic whole grain flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons organic unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sodium-free baking powder
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup pure vegetable shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
Canola oil, for frying
1. Heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a large, deep pan to about 350 degrees (medium-high heat).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup of the unbleached all purpose flour with all of the stone ground/whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
3. Add the shortening to the bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, 'cut' the shortening into the dry mixture until it resembles a fine, sand-like texture. Make a well in the center.
4. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and buttermilk. Pour into the center of the dry mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine well. It will be a slightly sticky dough. You can sprinkle in some of the remaining flour to stiffen if the dough is too sticky.
5. Lightly flour a work surface, like a marble slab or large cutting board. Gather the dough into a ball and place on the center of the surface and sprinkle lightly with flour. Knead twice, then pat flat. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 1" squares.
6. Drop cut pieces into the oil and fry, turning every few seconds to reach a deep, golden color. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
7. Serve sprinkled lightly with organic powdered sugar, with sorghum or maple syrup, or with a simple berry compote.