Ooh, y’all! This post is bound to make you hungry (just ask Emily!), so I’d like to give you fair warning before you scroll down.
Ready? Beignets are a pastry made of fried dough, traditionally served with powdered sugar on top. Though fried dough can be found internationally (and at most state fairs!), the origin of the term beignet is specifically French — it means “bump”! Perfect for these pillowy treats, no?
Top two photos by Jamie Beck, photo on left by Jim Franco from Southern Living, photo on right by Ryan Benyi from My Recipes
In the South, beignets are most closely associated with New Orleans, which makes sense, since these delicacies were introduced in America by the Acadians (French colonists) in the 18th century. They were quickly incorporated into home-style Creole cooking, and NOLA still reigns supreme as the U.S. home of the beignet.
The most famous beignet spot is Cafe Du Monde, a coffee stand on Decatur Street that opened in 1862 (and is now open 24 hours a day — good for satisfying cravings at all hours of the morning and night!).
Photo by Rachel Thurston via Southern Weddings
Fun fact: Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986. I’m a fan of any state that has a state doughnut!!
These light-as-air sweets would make a perfect late-night snack at a wedding – especially served with hot cocoa or coffee! For an extra fun twist, ask your caterer to cut the dough into heart shapes!
Heart beignets from The Sweetest Occasion, mini beignets from Martha Stewart Weddings, beignets with coffee from The Jewels of New York
Of course, there are many ways to serve beignets, including my personal favorite: the “biscuit beignet”! Yes, you heard me right! Just last week I had my fair share of them at Another Broken Egg Cafe. To die for!
Looking to try your hand at these puffy treats? Our favorite Southern cook (besides Lara’s mama, of course), Paula Dean, has a great recipe for French Quarter Beignets. You can also buy beignet mix from the Cafe Du Monde online shop — and they have a page of baking tips, too!
Tell me: Have you ever tried your hand at making beignets? Or have you been to Cafe Du Monde itself?