Just a warning, I am mildly (err um…heavily) excited about this post. Prepare yourself.
You guys, you guys, you guys!
I made us maybe the best thing ever this holiday season and I am so giddy with joy over them that my brain actually cannot think of words to say. I mean, I have so many to say, but I am a teensy, tiny bit fearful of annoying you all with so much cheesy Christmas talk that I will try to hold back… a little.
Here’s the thing, there are a lot of months throughout the year that I struggle with developing recipes. Sometimes I have a ton of savory dishes that I cannot wait to make, but then I have zero ideas for sweets and then visa versa. Sometimes, I just have nothing new or nothing I am all that excited about sharing with you guys. I figure it out, but sometimes it’s a bit of work and a lot of brainstorming. But suddenly December rolls around and I have ideas like no other time of the year. Actually, I have had ideas for December since July because that is when my crazy, annoying head starts to dream about Christmas again.
I know. Seriously, I know. You do not have to say it.
This December it seems I have a list as longs as Santa’s when it comes to desserts and sweet things. Oh my gosh, I love it.
And hey, December is really all about the sweet stuff anyway. That’s why it’s the best time of the year!
So I just need to tell you all about these gingerbread beignets…and then the hot chocolate, but beignets first. No matter what, whether you like gingerbread or not, you will like these. You just will.
They are fried, they taste like Christmas AND they may or may not have a little surprise inside. Ah ha. I totally stuffed some Nutella into half of the beignets I made and we all agreed the chocolate beignets are the way to go. Chocolate is always the way to go. <–Learning life lessons here people.
These are just as simple as any other beignet recipe only we are adding molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Also known as the smells of Christmas and yes, the dough smells incredible!
They honestly could not be more perfect. Just a light dusting of powdered sugar and a dip through some hot cocoa and you’re in for a warm winter treat. No really.
Which brings me to the hot chocolate. You simply just cannot eat the beignets without a piping mug of hot cocoa, you just can’t.
I actually have a few hot chocolate recipes I want to share this month, but this is the perfect one for today. It’s creamy, silky and perfectly chocolatey. The mocha, while very subtle, just makes the chocolate shine and the pinch of cinnamon ties it together with the beignets. I am telling you – sinfully good.
If you plan on making these (which of course you really should), may I suggest you make them on the snowiest day possible? I know not all of you live in snowy locations, but if you do, wait for the snow. Snow makes desserts like this just magical. You can eat a beignet (or two or three) and slowly enjoy a giant mug of hot chocolate all while sitting by the fire with the tree lit up and music playing.
Doesn’t that sound so peaceful? Oh my gosh, if that could ever happen in real life I’d be so pleased. Can’t you telling I am just itching for some peace and quiet? Too many people in this house still. Barns almost done though. Can’t believe it. Nervous and excited all at the same time!
For everyone in warm places. Umm, use your imagination and decorate galore. That’s always fun too! then just kick back in the glow of your colored lights and relax with warm beignets and cocoa!
Finally, thank God it is Friday. I am going to sleep. Seriously.
Remember that cold I was telling you about yesterday? It kind of sort of turned into a not so nice cold and I really just want to sleep all day and night. Probably will not be able to do that because I do not have the gene that my brothers seem have that allows them to sleep all day and night. But I can try. I’ll probably just end up realizing it’s pointless though. Then I’ll go make gingerbread beignets and spiced hot cocoa because that’s just what I do.
Gingerbread Surprise Beignets with Spiced Mocha Hot Chocolate.
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups Nutella - optional 24 tablespoons
- canola oil for deep-frying
- powdered sugar for sprinkling
Mix the yeast, brown sugar and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for 10 minutes and allow the yeast to proof, it will foam up. Once the yeast is ready, add the eggs, salt, buttermilk, melted butter, molasses and vanilla.
Add 2 1/2 cups flour, the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice, mix on medium until combined. Continue adding the remaining 1/2 cup of flour slowly until it is all incorporated. Dough will be sticky. At this point begin adding a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms a smooth ball (about 4-6 minutes). If you don’t have a mixer or would rather knead the dough with you hands, place the dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding a little more flour as needed (about 8-10 minutes). The dough may still be a bit sticky, but shouldn’t be overly so.
Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside, cover with some plastic wrap on top. Let rise for 2 hours in a warm spot. When the dough is ready place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a square or rectangle.
To make unstuffed beignets: Roll to 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter, knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough into 3×3 inch squares (about 25 squares).
To make Nutella stuffed beignets: When the dough is ready place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a square or rectangle. Roll to 1/8 inch thick. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut into 3×3 inch squares (about 50 squares).
Scoop out a scant teaspoon of Nutella and place in the middle of a square. Gently place another square on top and pinch the sides together. Fold each side in about 1/4 inch and pinch again. It is VERY important that the beignet is well sealed. If not, it could pop open while it fries and all the filling will spill out!*
Place a deep, heavy bottom pot on the stove and add enough oil to fill the pot about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep. Turn the burner to medium and preheat the oil to 350 degrees F. I would recommend using an instant read thermometer so you know the exact temperature at all times.
Once the oil is ready, fry 4-6 beignets at a time depending on the size of your pot. Use a slotted spoon to flip them over every 30 seconds. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. If they are taking longer than 3 minutes to brown you need to turn your burner up and make sure your oil is at the correct temperature. Remove with the slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining squares. Dust the warm beignets with powdered sugar on both sides.
In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, instant coffee and salt. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk and cream. Bring it to a simmer, stirring every few minutes. Sprinkle the dry chocolate mixture over the hot milk, turning the heat down to low. Whisk continuously until smooth (do not let it boil), then whisk in the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract.
Serve the warm beignets with a big mug of hot chocolate...enjoy by the fire while listening to Christmas music. Obviously.
Santa would be so proud, don’t cha think?