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Mardi Gras is Tuesday! Celebrate Carnivale with Simple, Homemade Beignets

This week, Mardi Gras kicks off and you’re going to be front and center of the celebration with this simple recipe for soft, sweet beignets.  Beignets are yeasty little squares of bread, fried like a donut, and served under mountains of powdered sugar.  This recipe is quick and simple, making a hefty stack of beignets that will dissappear quicker than the shirts of reveling partygoers on the streets of St. Louis.

Bite-Sized Beignets
1 c. very warm water
2 T. yeast
2 (5 oz.) cans evaporated milk
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2-4 c. flour
3 c. + 3 T. vegetable oil
In a large bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Stir in sugar. Add milk, sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Add 2 c. of flour to the bowl and stir until a thick batter is formed. Continue to add flour until a soft dough forms. Knead dough, adding just enough flour to keep it from being sticky. Pour 3 T. of vegetable oil over the top of the dough, cover and let rise for 15-20 minutes hour (If you plan to make them in the morning, just plop the dough into a gallon-sized ziploc bag & stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to fry the dough in the morning). Once you are ready to fry the dough, heat 3 c. of vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Roll risen dough very thin, cut into small rectangles, then carefully drop dough into hot oil. Fry on one side just until puffy and barely brown, then turn and fry on the other side. Remove from heat, place on a large platter lined with paper towels. Once all dough has been fried, sprinkle the mound of cooked beignets with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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