About two years ago, it seemed that every bistro and gastropub in San Francisco, CA, began offering some kind of fried dough on its dessert menu, and whether it was called a doughnut, beignet, fritter, or funnel cake, the formula was about the same: a few airy puffs deep-fried to perfection and served with the chef's choice of sweet accompaniments.
Turns out there's a reason for this dessert's popularity: it's incredibly simple, comforting, and delicious all at once. You may have memories of digging into funnel cakes at the county fair, munching doughnuts from the corner bodega, or plowing through beignets at Cafe du Monde, but a basic fried dough recipe speaks to our deeply rooted food nostalgia.
This recipe represents my first stab at beignets, but it certainly won't be my last. Despite the hour-and-a-half dough-rising wait time, the hands-on steps were easy and relatively low mess (for a fry project). And there's a topping for you, whether you're a traditionalist or out to try something new: sprinkle them with powdered sugar, smudge them with jam or apple butter, drizzle with chocolate or salted caramel sauce, or try something wholly different with a sprinkle of sugar and matcha green tea powder. Ready for the recipe? Just keep reading.