16 March 2013

Nutella Stuffed Beignets

I love the delicious creations of Joy the Baker.  This chica puts out some seriously good eats.  In fact, she's one of my favorite foodie bloggers (see list on the left...mostly for my quick & easy access).  I don't know what it is, but I think that she has channelled my husband's taste in treats.  When she came out with a recipe for buttermilk beignets, I knew that I absolutely had to make these for him.  After the all, the hubs gave me a candy thermomater for Christmas, and what better way to thank him then by making one of his favorite treats?

The first time he had beignets was in New Orleans, a city famous for these fried little balls of dough.  He fell in love with their crispy exterior and light, fluffy center.  He's been wanting to have them again ever since he came home.  But while Ohio has a preponderance of fabulous donut shops, we have yet to find a spot that makes fresh beignets.  The obvious solution was to make them at home, and that's why this recipe was so delightful to us.  

It seemed at times as if 2012 were the year for stuffing baked goods with Nutella.  Some may consider it a trend, but for us this spread a staple, and we love this chocolatey spread on anything (my favorite is crepes, but the husband is particularly fond of spoons).  So of course, I decided to try stuffing some Nutella into out beignets.  And it was superb idea.  Inside the crisp exterior of the beignet you still have the fluffy, tender inside that is so amazing and light, but with a melty chocolate hazelnut center.  It's like a lava-beignet.  

So amazing....so delicious...so quickly consumed!  I typically do not like doughnuts, but these little suckers were fabulous.  Incredibly light and easy to make, these treats are almost like a little bite of New Orleans at home.  

Nutella Stuffed Beignets (makes 12-13 beignets)
a whittled down quantity of Joy the Baker's recipe - more detailed instructions at her site
  • 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 c whole milk
  • additional 1/3 c whole milk
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 1/3 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 1/3 c flour 
  • scant 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c Nutella
  • 1-2 c powdered sugar
  • canola oil for frying
Measure your lemon juice into a glass measuring cup.  Fill with whole milk until you reach the 1/2 cup line, then set aside to make buttermilk.  In a second glass, measure out the additional 1/3 cup of whole milk, then let both sit on the counter to come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.  

Place the whole milk in the microwave and heat until it just starts to boil, about 45 seconds.  Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, then pour in the buttermilk.  Add the sugar and whisk together.  Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk mixture, then gently stir together with the whisk.  Let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is active and the top is foamy.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the milk mixture.  Using your dough hook, mix together wet and dry ingredients until they are just combined.  You may need an additional tablespoon or two of flour, but the dough should be very sticky and wet.  Increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes.   Once you have finished kneading the dough, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, ensuring that all flour has been incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, then set in a warm, draft-free area and let rise for one hour.  

When you are ready to make the doughnuts, fill a medium pot with 2-3 inches of oil.  Heat until the oil reaches 375 degrees on a candy thermometer, being sure the thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan.  Place a cooling rack over paper towels to the side of your oil as a cooling station.  

While the oil is heating, prepare the dough.  Generously flour a cutting board or baking mat.  With your rubber spatula, transfer the dough out onto the floured surface and form into a ball, turning to coat all sides.  Flour a rolling pin and roll out to 1/3 inch thick.  If the dough starts to stick, just add more flour.  Then cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

Cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch squares, separating the pieces as you cut so they don't stick together.  Press a little divot into the center of each square and fill with a half teaspoon of Nutella.  Fold over the top and sides and press together as best you can.  They may not seal completely, but as long as they are well folded the Nutella will stay inside.  Place in the heated oil and cook for 2 minutes, flipping once or twice, until golden brown.  Remove to the prepared cooling racks, and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.  Let cool for about a minute before eating.  Best served hot.

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