Gluten free beignets. Just the sound of those words causes me to sigh (happily).
For those of us in the gluten free community, a Beignet may seem like a faint, sweet memory, but now it doesn’t have to be. I love when I can be the bearer of good news: gluten free Beignets are here, and you can make them ANYTIME you like! No need to wait for a trip to New Orleans or even for Mardi Gras. Gluten free Beignets are yours for the taking whenever you have the craving!
Especially at Mardi Gras time of year, when we think all things New Orleans, take heart knowing these amazingly festive and special doughnuts, and even King Cakes are again within reach (you simply MUST try my gluten free King Cake recipe! Oh, and my gluten free étouffée!
Here are some other Mardi Gras recipe ideas from Southern Living Magazine I think I might have to dive into soon, as well! They’re not necessarily gluten free, but with my gfJules Flour, anything is possible!).
So grab your plastic beads, and let’s make some Gluten Free Beignets!
A little background on Beignets first. This quintessential New Orleans treat, the Beignet: (pronounced: ben-yay), is a crispy-on-the-outside, feather-light, heavenly doughnut, flash fried and smothered in confectioner’s sugar … and totally full of gluten.
They are unique to New Orleans, so I hadn’t been lucky enough to have one since my parents’ trip to Bourbon Street in the ’80s, when they brought back boxes of famous wheat-filled Café du Monde Beignet Mix.
Since I devised this recipe, I’ve actually had some gluten free beignets at Disney World which was a really cool experience to be able to order them out, but mine are better. Just being honest. Which means when you make these gluten free beignets with my recipe, yours will be better than a Disney chef’s too! (I think it’s the gluten free flour talking – it makes a huge difference, as you know.)
For years, the thought of ever enjoying such a soft, airy, gluten-free puffed doughnut seemed like an unachievable dream to me.
Now, sharing my gluten free beignet recipe with a host of friends and family (and two Louisiana natives), I am happy to pronounce my gluten free beignets are a resounding success! Made with my award-winning gfJules Flour, you would never know these delicate puffs are gluten free. No grit, no denseness, no funky taste. Just gluten free beignet perfection.
Whether you have had and now miss Beignets since going gluten-free, or are just curious to try these little puffs of New Orleans deliciousness, give this recipe a try, even if it’s not Mardi Gras time!
My children have never been to New Orleans, so when they tasted these gluten free Beignets, they announced that they taste just like funnel cakes, only better because they’re fluffy! Sounds pretty yummy to me! (Oh and yes, I have a recipe for gluten free Funnel Cakes too!).
How to Make Gluten Free Beignets
To make these beauties, you prepare the dough as outlined in the recipe, then cut into parallelograms (see, and you thought you would never use high school geometry again).
Then repeat to use up all the dough:
Then they rise for an hour or two or even overnight (covered, in a chilly garage for a long, slow rise works great!). Once they’ve risen, you simply fry them. Check out my specific directions below for the oil temperature and for how long — it’s not hard or complicated, but it is precise.
Making Beignets in an Air Fryer
This year I tried something new and even made these babies in my Air Fryer! I have to say they were definitely a success! There are some differences though.
When the risen dough hits hot oil, it causes air pockets to form quickly in traditional beignets and in my gluten free beignets; in an air fryer, there’s no such rapid contact with high heat, so there are no huge air pockets formed. Nonetheless, the dough is still light and airy, if more uniform.
Gluten free beignets made in an air fryer!
In my Cuisinart Toaster Air Fryer set on 350F, they only took about 2 minutes to cook in the air fryer. I misted them with water first and then with cooking oil spray so that they would be a bit wet when I took them out of the air fryer so that the powdered sugar would stick to them because … powdered sugar.
And lest you think these gluten free beignets must be too difficult to master, take inspiration from young Cosette:
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
I can’t wait to hear how much your family loves this treat!
1 cup warm water (110° F)
1/4 cup granulated cane sugar
1 package instant or quick rise yeast
1 large egg (or 1 Tbs. vegetable oil + 2 Tbs. water + 2 tsp. baking powder)
1/2 cup evaporated milk (see directions below for making non-dairy evaporated milk or use Nature's Charm Coconut Evaporated Milk)
3 3/4 cup gfJules All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. shortening (vegetable or palm shortening)
high heat vegetable oil for frying
confectioner’s sugar to dust Beignets
Combine the warm water, sugar and yeast; stir and set aside to activate the yeast. Allow mixture to sit until it becomes frothy, at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat together the egg and milk. Add 1 cup of the gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and the salt. Beat until integrated.
Cut the shortening into small chunks and mix in with the 1 cup flour, egg and milk. Slowly beat in remaining flour and the proofed yeast mixture until completely mixed. The dough should start to pull away from the sides of the bowl and not be stiff or sticky at this point.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface or pastry mat lightly dusted with gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Roll gently into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle.
Using a large, sharp knife, cut strips of dough 2 inches wide, on a diagonal (not straight up and down, leaving a diagonal edge to the strips). Cut across these strips 2 inches across in the same way, creating 2x2 diamond-shaped Beignets.
Cut in this way, you should have approximately 24 Beignets with extra dough scraps.
Leave any scraps of dough to test the temperature of the oil – do not knead together and cut again. Place cut Beignets onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel or parchment paper.
Allow to rise in a warming drawer or an oven brought to 200° F, then turned off. The Beignets will roughly double in size after rising for 45 – 90 minutes (I’ve left them covered overnight in the refrigerator or a chilly garage for a long, slow rise as well, and they turned out great!).
After the Beignets have risen, pour vegetable oil into a large saucepan to a depth of 2-3 inches. Heat the oil on medium-high to approximately 370° – 385° F.
Test the temperature of the oil by using any risen scraps of dough remaining. Gently submerge a piece of dough in oil – if it rises to the top of the oil immediately and begins to bubble, the oil is hot enough; if it does not rise to the top of the oil, it is not hot enough. If the dough turns dark brown within 30 seconds of being submerged, the oil is too hot.
Once the oil is to temperature, gently submerge 2 – 3 Beignets in hot oil and cook until lightly browned and puffed on each side – approximately 1- 2 minutes only.
Remove with a skimmer or slotted spoon to drain on paper towels, and sprinkle confectioner’s sugar liberally over top of each Beignet. Serve warm.
Directions for Non-Dairy Evaporated Milk:
Measure 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice and pour into a small saucepan.
Over low-medium heat, stir milk occasionally to prevent a skin from forming or the milk from sticking to the pan. Heat until the milk is reduced by half to measure 1/2 cup of liquid (allow approximately 30 minutes for this process).
Once reduced, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding to dough per recipe.
Alternatively, mix 2/3 cup warm water with 1/2 cup powdered non-dairy milk (like coconut milk powder). Whisk together, then measure out enough for your recipe.
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