Nun’s Beignets

beignet

If I am being honest, I wasn’t too excited about baking this recipe.  I mean if I was in New Orleans I would try their famous beignets but for the most part, I don’t eat or make fried food.  I will have the occasional French fries, but a funnel cake, onion rings, or these beignets…doesn’t happen.  But then after some thinking, I came back around and reminded myself why I got in this group in the first place…to learn, to step out of my comfort zone, to experience new things…got myself back on track and here you go. 🙂

The recipe is surprisingly easy…I only came across one problem with not having a deep-fat thermometer.  I do have my candy thermometer from other recipes we have made so I figured maybe that would work…and it did!!

I didn’t want to use so much oil in a big dutch oven…and picturing oil splattering as I tried to contain it all, I used my 5 quart saucepan with my candy thermometer attached to the side…just like I was making caramel. ;). I was able to make 5 beignets at a time with no problem.  I was surprised at how much oil that took even in such a small pan…almost my whole bottle!

I have to say, it was pretty fun watching the ping pong sized dough puff up and get their trademark “fissure” that we were looking for to know they were done.  I had no problem with them cooking properly or with the oil getting too hot or splattering.  All in all a very easy project and one I am glad to say I accomplished!!

I tried one of the beignets after it was rolled in the cinnamon sugar and although they didn’t seem too greasy at all, it just isn’t my type of dessert.  My family and tasters on the other hand all LOVED them…like LOVED them.  They even ate them later heated up…which I actually preferred strangely.  My tasters were saying things like:

“This is a three thumbs up recipe”

“When can I put in a request for a dozen?”

“I say this is “strongly” a keeper”

“The beignets were so delicious…so fluffy and airy!!”

I am once again reminded that we all have our ways that we do things, experience things, and like to take on new tasks…and we are usually really good at accomplishing those things because they probably “fit” into some sort of comfort zone we have for ourselves.  I have to make a conscious effort sometimes to get out of my routine, get out of my way…shake things up a bit for life is full of new and exciting experiences the we might miss if we didn’t veer off of our own path once in a while.  My daughter always says she notices I become someone else when we travel..that I take it all in because it is all new and different and I don’t want to look back and feel I have missed out…I need to bring some of that out in my daily life haha!

Cheers to beignets…who knew?!  haha 🙂

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Sunday in Paris Chocolate Cake

paris

Intriguing name right??  We are told in the recipe that “A Sunday in Paris” is the name of a pastry shop on an old cobblestone street off the Boulevard Saint-Germain…oh makes sense now…and can’t you just picture it? 🙂  Apparently the store and it’s pastries are quite modern and chic.  This cake comes in a special long, very slender loaf…packed in a snug box and topped with whole peanuts and squares of caramel candy.   The real surprise is an ingredient rarely found in French pastry: creamy peanut butter…they prefer Nutella.  This recipe Dorie created, is an adaption of this cake.

Dorie suggests we make these in small rectangular molds or in a loaf pan.  Since I was hosting Book Club, I figured I would make mini cupcakes so I can get them out to all my regular tasters and still have some left for my book club to try out. (BTW, my main dessert was the BWJ White Chocolate Patty Cake we made a few years ago…I have made that several times and it is always a hit!)

These mini-cakes were destined for greatness…I mean chocolate and peanut butter, how can you go wrong??  They are a fairly simple, straight forward dessert.  Mix up the batter, bake, and then top with ganache, chocolate shavings, and chopped peanuts.  They look amazing and very gourmet!!  Perfect for a gathering!  The only problem was…they were just ok.  They look great and you want them to be great but they fell short for most all of us who tried them.  They were more on the dry side…like a muffin or scone.  It isn’t that they were bad, but just not the rich, moist bite of cake you were expecting.  It was a little disappointing but you know, oh well…always fun to try these new recipes and I am always grateful for the experience.