Donuts -- anything deep fried, really -- seem very intimidating to the average home cook. But these New Orleans-style beignets from KCET's Cook's Country are pretty shockingly easy to cook. Be careful with that oil, of course, but when everything's cooled down you've got a sure-fire crowd-pleaser on your hands. Eat up!
Makes about 2 dozen
1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 quarts vegetable oil
Combine water, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and yeast in large bowl and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Combine flour, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and salt in second bowl. Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons oil into yeast mixture. Add flour mixture and stir vigorously with rubber spatula until dough comes together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Line second sheet with parchment paper and dust heavily with flour. Place half of dough on well-floured counter and pat into rough rectangle with floured hands, flipping to coat with flour. Roll dough into ¼-inch-thick rectangle (roughly 12 by 9 inches). Using pizza wheel, cut dough into twelve 3-inch squares and transfer to floured sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Add enough of remaining 2 quarts oil to large Dutch oven to measure about 1½ inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Place 6 beignets in oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes, flipping halfway through frying. Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees. Using slotted spoon or spider, transfer beignets to prepared wire rack. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining beignets. Dust beignets with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.