Recently I was in New Orleans for the New Orleans Bourbon Festival, which for me has been a must go to foodie destination on my list. I had always dreamed about being able to go to the one place that is a MUST visit while in New Orleans. Any ideas of where that is? That’s right, a visit to Cafe Du Monde for their famous hickory coffee and beignets. Except there is one small challenge for me, gluten. Of course I make it a point to visit New Orleans only after I was diagnosed with celiac disease leaving me unable to enjoy those delightful powdery sugar treats.
Believe me when I say I searched high and low to find a place that made gluten-free versions but my search came up empty. Since being back home, I have been obsessing over them, searching high and low for gluten free versions of these sweet treats. While researching, I stumbled upon several different gf versions, but now it was deciding which one would be the best and closely resemble what I was dreaming about.
As much as I’d like to say that I found the perfect recipe and had the most light, fluffy, most delightful beignets, I ended up with the opposite. So let me tell you were I went wrong…
First, rather than sticking with one recipe I decided to combine a recipe from two different places. I should have just stuck with what I know has always been a success for me with GF baking and just followed the recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring. Except, like I said I ended up combining recipes thinking I actually knew what I was doing… I was completely wrong…
My recipe was as follows:
280 g Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix
140 g Mama’s Coconut Blend All purpose flour
1/4 tsp. Cream of tartar
2 2/3 tsp (8g) Instant Yeast
1/2 tsp. (3g) Kosher Salt
11 oz Dairy-Free Culinary coconut milk at room temp
1 oz Bourbon (Old Forester 1870)
1 1/2 Tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar
4 Tbsp. (48g) Vegetable shortening- melted & cooled
1 egg at room temp, slightly beaten
I followed the prep directions just as stated on Gluten Free on a Shoestring, I placed the ingredients in my mixer, let sit in the fridge, I prepped the dough for shaping, shaped the dough and was ready to start frying the beignets. The day I decided to fry my beignets, I got a bit full of myself, the dough looked so good when I took it out of the fridge, basically I convinced myself that I #nailedit
Second thing I got wrong, I made the dough too thin. I really felt I followed everything to a ‘T’, making sure I didn’t over work the dough, using flour when I needed, and rolling it out to the desired thickness, 1/4″. I also didn’t allow time for it to rest & rise, I thought it would be ok because I had taken quite awhile to shape the dough and I felt that should have counted. -wrong
Third thing was trying to regulate the oil temperature. They advise you to carefully watch the temperature with a candy thermometer, shit they make it look so easy on tv! Thats not real life, regulating the oil temp is the worst thing I ever had to do!
Lastly, not only did I put too much oil in the pot but I mis-read the cooking directions. “Place the dough in the hot oil in batches of about 2-3 and cook until golden brown, 1 minute each side” So rather than actually focusing & really reading that line, I ended up frying them for 2-3 minutes on each side. Making them not so light & fluffy, they tasted like oil and they were a little dense.
I will say I learned a lot from this, just when I think I have this gluten free thing down and get a little full of myself these recipes have a way to bring me right back down to reality! The flavor was there and there is a lot of potential for me to get this recipe correct, only if I change a few things. I will attempt these again and the next time I will succeed!
If you can’t make it to the famous Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans for their beignets then definitely give this one a try and let us know if you have beignet success! Remember to #EatResponsibly