The Crescent City. The Big Easy. NOLA. No matter what name you give her New Orleans stays the same–a place of Cajun cuisine, Voodoo rituals and flowing jazz. There is an energy force, passionate and raw, that pulses through the city. And the pull is strong. That’s why people come.
Take a stroll down the cobblestone streets of the French Quarter. The wrought iron adorning every tiered building is mesmerizing. The buildings themselves are a burst of color–pinks, yellows, blues. Artists set up carts where they sell bright paintings that mimic the color of the city. Street musicians sit on crates and boxes in the middle of the street to play jazz and zydeco as they should be, spontaneously.
The birthplace of jazz is thought to be Bourbon Street–a place where musicians would go to entertain customers at the bars and brothels. Now, the street is known exclusively for its night life and jazz has found a new home on Frenchman Street.
Frenchmen Street leads right to the banks of the Mississippi River–the second longest (by 20 feet) river in the United States. And sitting along these banks, calling them home for over 150 years, is Cafe du Monde.
Known for the beignets and chicory coffee they started selling in 1862, the open-air cafe is now a staple, for midnight snack or anytime of day, in the French Quarter. Thankfully, Cafe du Monde understands the desire for what they sell and have made both the beignets and the chicory coffee readily available for anyone to recreate at home.
Head over to your nearest World Market or visit Cafe du Monde’s website and pick yourself up a box of beignet mix and a can of chicory coffee grounds. They come with everything you need (including directions), just add water.
Here are the step by step directions for beignet-making with some added bonus tips and some music to help you slip into the mood-
- In a bowl, combine 2 cups mix with 7 oz of water. Stir until mixed.
- Roll the dough out on a floured countertop to 1/8″ thickness. Cut rolled dough into 2″ squares.
*Bonus tip #1- Be sure to heavily flour your countertop, your rolling pin, and your hands. This dough is very sticky and will be difficult to roll out. When you think you have enough flour, add more.
* Bonus tip #2- Be sure to roll out the dough to 1/8″ thickness. This is where having enough flour comes in handy as it won’t be fun to roll if it’s sticking to everything. If the dough isn’t rolled out thin enough it won’t cook all the way through when it comes time to fry.
3. Heat about 1″ of oil in a pan. Pop squares in oil. To test that the oil is at the right temperature, the squares should float to surface after 8-10 seconds.
*Bonus tip #3- If you don’t have enough flour the squares will turn to blobs when you try to pry them off the countertop.
* Bonus tip #4- Start your coffee here so everything is ready at the same time.
4. It doesn’t take long for the beignets to fry. When they start to turn a light golden brown pull them out, douse them in powdered sugar, and enjoy!