Wake Up to Beignets & Café au Lait

Beignets Cafe

My friend Morgan taught me how to make these puffy fried pastries when I was interviewing her for our Mardi Gras blog post several years ago. These light fritters are a traditional New Orleans-style dessert that can be enjoyed as a morning treat, mid-afternoon snack or as a sweet ending to dinner.

  • 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Nonstick spray
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners  sugar for sprinkling

How to Make Beignets

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Add the egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the butter and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour. Add oil to a large, heavy pan and heat on medium (make sure to cover the entire bottom of pan with oil, about 1/2 inch.) Roll the dough out and cut into 1-inch squares. Add dough to oil and fry for about 2 – 3 minutes or until golden brown and flip. Cook for another 1 – 2 minutes. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then sift confectioners’ sugar over beignets. Makes 1 1/2 dozen.

Enjoy beignets with cafe au lait: steam milk and add to coffee.

Cheers – Crystal

Bitchen’ Chocolate-Grenache Truffles

Truffles and Wine

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and tonight I made some bitchen’ Chocolate-Grenache truffles for a Valentine’s Day pajama party I’m attending tomorrow. The requirements? Jammies, vino and some sort of chocolate goodness to share. I had a few glasses left of the 2009 Bitch Aragon Grenache from Spain that I opened last night to pair with my pizza and decided to use it up in this easy-to-make and oh so decadent recipe.

Chocolate Wine Truffles

Chocolate-Grenache Truffles

  • 10 ounces semi sweet (60%-70% cocoa)* chocolate (chopped small)
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grenache wine (you can substitute any strong red wine. I’ve make Cabernet and Zin truffles before… experiment and have fun!)
  • 6 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioners sugar (sifted)

Chocolate Truffles

In a small saucepan heat the wine on medium-high and reduce until you have about 4 tablespoons. Once reduced, melt chocolate on low with the butter and wine reduction using a double boiler. Don’t have a double boiler? No problem. Heat some water in a pot and place a heat resistant bowl over it. This will allow the chocolate to melt without it burning. Stir the mixture until smooth and then remove from heat and mix in cream and powdered sugar. Pour mixture into a glass baking dish. Cover and chill over night.
Truffles Banner

Once chilled, use a scoop to portion the truffles and roll to desired ball size. Roll in following mixture to coat.

Sift Together

  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Makes 24 truffles *Use the best quality chocolate you can find. Chocolate chips will not work well for this recipe.

Thanks to our winery chef, Robin Lehnhoff-McCray,  who shared with me a similar recipe many years ago!

Like this recipe? Check out our Chocolate Cranberry Zinfandel Brownies recipe.

Wine Pairing

Bitch Aragon Grenache 2009

Bitch Aragon Grenache 2009 (Spain)

This is a wine about pleasure. Subversive pleasure. Dark cherry and raspberry aromas are underpinned with spicy, peppery notes with hints of anise. Aragon Grenache displays extraordinary natural acid balance, even at elevated ripeness levels

Winemakers will tell you that Grenache is a bitch to grow. And, it’s a bitch to make. It’s a wine that can easily be vapid, but potentially as profound as wine gets. Bitch Grenache Aragon 2009 from a selection of un-oaked Grenache wines from various sub-regions of Aragon and Navarra, around the Southern regions of the Ebro river valley. The wine sees no oak. The objective of the wine is to provide pure, explosive, unadulterated, hedonistic, uncompromising, juicy Grenache.

Retail: $12.99

Chocolate Cranberry Zinfandel Brownies

Chocolate Cranberry Zinfandel Brownies

Happy Holidays to all of our friends and family. Here is a simple, yet extremely decadent holiday treat incorporating chocolate (always an all time favorite), a little wine and tart cranberries.

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups of fresh cranberries
½ pound unsalted butter
1 cup Kenwood Vineyards Zinfandel 
1 T vanilla extract  
4 eggs 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1  ¼  cups all purpose flour
How To Make Zin Brownies
Pour the Zinfandel and 3/4 cup of fresh cranberries in a saucepan and reduce down to 1/2 cup. Set aside and let cool slightly. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Don’t have a double broiler? Place a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water and melt chocolate and butter by stirring occasionally.  Let cool slightly. In a mixer bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, zinfandel reduction (make sure this is slightly cooled) and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Add chocolate mixture to the sugar/egg mix. Fold in flour until just mixed in. Drop in remaining fresh cranberries and mix slightly. Pour into a half sheet covered with parchment or foil. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes or until the center comes out clean with a toothpick or knife.
Makes 24 brownies.

Wine PairingWine Pairing

Zinfandel, of course! Some personal favorites are Creekview Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel, Bella Maple Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel and Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Zinfandel. How about you? What are some of your favorite Zinfandel wines?