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What to Eat Wednesday - Man-Catchin' Beignets!

Hello, my name is Dana, and I am a Disney kid.  I unabashedly love Disney, and I don't care who knows it!  One of my many favorites is The Princess and the Frog.  Besides all the great characters and highly quotable lines--I am Naveen, Prince of Maldonia, and she is Tiana, the not kiss her!--I really love that Disney used this film to emphasize the need to work for your dream.  I just think that's such a great message.  What else can this fantastic film teach us?  That if you're on a hunt for a man, you need some man-catching beignets!!!

Lottie understands

What's not to like, right?  Fried dough dusted with powdered sugar, served with a hot delicious drink (otherwise you're doing it wrong).  I really love beignets.  I love them so much, sometimes I end up wearing them.

See what I mean?

There's just one little problem.  The hubs has Celiac Disease, so I have to take a pretty tough stance on gluten in my house...

Yup, basically that.

What's a girl to do?  Fight back, of course!  My weapons?  Books like this!

If you have Celiac, gluten intolerance, or for any other reason want to cut gluten out of your life, this book is amazing.  The author, April Peveteaux, has Celiac, so this book is a really great (and personal) insight into that struggle and ways to cope and overcome, all while providing amazing entertainment.  Seriously, I recommend it so much.  Within, she also has a recipe for beignets.

Now, I really struggled with the decision of whether or not to write out this recipe.  I've thought about it all week.  Given that I am also an author and this recipe does not seem to be available online, only in the book, I put myself in her shoes and tried to think how I would feel if our positions were switched.  Therefore, I encourage all of you to go out and buy this book instead.  Do unto others, y'all.  I will still discuss my difficulties and thoughts, though, and there's a bonus recipe in the end, so hang in there!

I have mentioned in previous posts that I am not a baker.  I'd like to be, which is why I keep trying, but it does not come naturally to me.  And, if you've ever tried to learn to bake gluten free after using regular flour your whole life, you know it's a bit like if you were used to using a hammer to bang in some nails and now someone has replaced your hammer with a cat.  Let that sink're right.  It sounds crazy, because GF baking is crazy.  That being said, you may not be surprised to hear that I had a lot of issues with this recipe.

Thankfully, my yeast behaved.

Before and after getting started.  Bonus points for taking note of my fantastic teapot in the background.

I have terrible luck with yeast because it is the diva of the food world!!!  "Oh, my water isn't warm enough; I shall do nothing for you.  Oh no!  my water is too hot.  I'm drying!  I'm dead."  See what I mean?  Diva!

The first major problem I had was with the batter.  So, what with the lack of gluten and all in GF baking, there's no binder.  Usually recipes will call for Xanthan gum, but this one didn't, which I thought was weird right from the get-go.  I checked the notes in the book, though, read and re-read the recipe again.  Nope, no Xanthan gum.  I should have followed my gut because you're supposed to end up with a dough you can  roll out.  Instead, I ended up with this:

Disappointing, to say the least, and I will definitely use Xanthan gum next time.  Either that or a GF flour that already has it included.  Oh well, I'm not beaten that easily.  I soldiered on and, when it came time to fry, I just dropped in wads of my gooey not-dough.  It took a couple of different goes with different techniques, but in the end I ended up just spooning the stuff up and using another spoon to drop it into the fry oil.  This was my first batch...

Unfortunate, but this was my last!

The recipe I have called for you to roll your freshly fried beignets in powdered sugar, but I much prefer the sifter method.  I think it creates less waste and looks nicer.  Look in the picture below when I made the switch and you can see what I mean.

Whew!  Finally, at the end of the process, I ended up with lovely, hot, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside beignets that won't make my husband sick and want to die.

Look!  I caught a man!  The beignets delivered on their promise! :-) He can tell he's been caught.

Right, so I mentioned a bonus recipe, so here it is:

The Duke’s Hot Chocolate

Source: The Splendid Table


  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or the seeds scraped from the inside of a whole vanilla bean)
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  • Fine-grated zest of a large orange
  • 3 cups water, or half-water, half-milk, or half-water, half-cream
  • 10.5 to 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (Lindt Excellence 70%, Valrhona 71%, Scharffen Berger 70%, Guittard L’Harmonie 72%, or Ghiradelli 70% Extra Bittersweet, in our order of preference), broken up 


  1. In a 3-quart saucepan combine all ingredients except the chocolate. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 2 minutes.
  2. Pull the pan off the heat, let it sit a few minutes, then whisk in the chocolate until smooth. Taste the chocolate for sweetness and enough allspice. Serve hot.


Firstly, let me tell you, this is the richest, most decadent hot chocolate on the planet!  It's so thick!  
No wonder it was served to a duke!  Pretty much perfect for beignets, but I did end up cutting mine with a little water.  Also, I only added a quarter cup of sugar, which was perfect.   
Finally, what this recipe doesn't tell you is that you need to strain out the orange zest!  Otherwise, you're going to end up with a mouthful of it.
Whew!  Y'all that was a crazy night, but it was totally worth it.  Now, who wants to help me eat all these leftover beignets?  The recipe made about 40 in the end, and I'm not sure Mike and I can manage on our own!

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