There is a neighborhood in Bloggerville, where the flowers are always in bloom in the perfect gardens, laundry hangs on the line and never needs mending, the perfect temperature to build a snowman is 75, and freshly baked pies sit on every windowsill. I have met so many friends in the town of Bloggerville and the neighborhood is filled with so many talented people that bake, cook, sew, make jewelry, and all kinds of other crafts too. Being a baker, I live on Cupcake Lane and one of my neighbors is a beautiful and talented lady named Trish, from Sweetology. I know she is my neighbor because we frequently visit each other in Bloggerville and that is just what neighbors do, visit one another! Trish bakes all kinds of sweets and has tea parties every Tuesday, always reminding us to take time for tea, and it is she that inspired what I am doing today- taking time for tea!
Yesterday, after storytime at the library, my 3 year old and I were browsing through the books in the children's section and found a book called "The Princess and the Frog: Tiana's Cookbook: Recipes for Kids." Children's cookbooks seem to be where I find most of my joy, I am just a big kid! My littlest Princess and I are always watching Disney Princess movies, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Tangled are the most watched, and of course, The Princess and the Frog! When we found this cookbook, I knew I had to make something from it and what better than Princess Tiana's Man-Catching Beignets?! The name sounds so fancy being French and all, yet this really isn't fancy at all. This pillow-shaped French pastry is basically just a fried dough ball or a square doughnut without a hole, although not all of mine were all that square! In New Orleans, beignets are commonly served in cafes and the beignet is also the state doughnut of Louisiana. Anyway, I decided that since "beignet" does sound like something fancy, we would make a tea party out of it!
I don't like to cook and I have never fried anything in my life! This is an all new adventure for me! The beignet is in the first recipe in the book and in the breakfast section. This book rates recipes on a five-frog scale, 1 frog being easy and 5 frogs being complicated. This recipe is rated at 5 frog level...and after this, I think I should stick with things that are only at about a 3 frog level!
Tiana's Famous Beignets
Recipe slightly adapted from "The Princess and the Frog: Recipes for Kids"
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
vegetable oil (for frying)
confectioners' sugar (for dusting)
In medium bowl, whisk together first 6 ingredients, the dry ingredients. In separate mixer bowl beat egg, and then add in buttermilk, water, and vanilla. Slowly mix in dry ingredients.
Turn out dough onto well floured surface. Flatten into 1/2 inch thick square. Flour the top of dough and cut into 2-1/2 inch squares. Mine did vary in size a bit, as this isn't very easy to cut and required a lot of flour to do so. I made about 30.
Heat 2 inches of oil in heavy saucepan on stove until 325 degrees on deep-fat thermometer. Frying 3 at a time for 3 minutes on each side. Remove using slotted spoon and transfer to wire rack set on paper towels to drain. Dust with confectioners' sugar.
My thermometer must have been slow at registering, I put 3 beignets in the oil and they burnt upon impact! So they were trashed. I checked the thermometer again and it was now registering 400! I turned the stove down, opened the window and tried again, 3 at a time. The recipe says cook 3 minutes on each side. After about 1 minute they were a light golden and I flipped them. I didn't want to over cook them this time, and they go from gold to black fast! I removed the beignets from the oil and placed them on a wire rack sitting on top of a paper towel covered baking sheet. I continued on and the beignets began to look better as I got more comfortable with the whole frying thing. As soon as they were all fried and were dusted with powdered sugar I broke open the largest beignet to test and it was still doughy inside! Trashed it, luckily the next one was fine. I probably trashed 5 total including the burnt ones. Still had plenty more to work with. The smaller beignets were cooked perfectly, some of the larger ones were a little doughy inside and I baked them later in a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes which finished up the cooking process. They are better warm anyway, so this allowed the rest of the family to have a warm beignet!
I found these best served with a little maple syrup on the side for dipping!
We even pulled the China out of the garage for our first official tea party! It was given to us as a gift from my Grandmother and has been sitting in the box unopened for over 10 years, always afraid to break it, and always waiting for a special occasion. If having a tea party with my 3 year old isn't a special occasion, then I don't know what is! I would rather use it and break it, making memories on the way, than to never have a chance to use it at all!
We ate our Beignets served with Peppermint tea, sweetened with a little maple syrup. I would have never thought of maple syrup, but there is also a recipe in the book for Minty Iced Tea, made with peppermint tea, green tea, and maple syrup which gave me the idea. We skipped out on the green tea and just used the peppermint tea, and with a cool day, we like our tea hot, or warm for my littlest princess!
Before the tea party was over, my furbaby Rex came to join in the fun! He gave the tea a sniff and turned away, but he did have a small nibble of the beignet!
Life if short, so live it, and take time for tea with someone that you love!
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