A few years back, I visited New Orleans for the first time. I went with a friend, and we made a pact– we wouldn’t waste time or money buying souvenirs. We would just spend our money on the best food we could find. Let me tell you, that was the best decision EVER made. Gumbo, jambalaya, po’ boys, perfectly blackened fish, shrimp and grits—and every afternoon we could (if we weren’t too stuffed from lunch), we walked to the Café du Monde for chicory coffee and fresh beignets.
If you’ve never had a real New Orleans beignet – lightly sweet donuts fried a deep brown and served in an avalanche of powdered sugar—it’s an experience. Take a bite, but don’t breathe in when you do – you’ll be coughing up powdered sugar for the rest of the day. (And don’t wear black!)
I wanted to have all the good things about beignets—sweet, tasty, tender, and good with coffee—but take away all the things I don’t like – mountains of powdered sugar lying in wait for an unsuspecting inhale, and messy frying – and for good measure, see if I could develop a gluten free version I can make for my family (i.e. perfectly gluten free for those who need that, but doesn’t taste like it, for those who don’t.)
I already knew I would use Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Multi Purpose Baking Mix as the base of the dough, but did you know we just came out with Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Coconut Flour? So exciting! Coconut flour is naturally gluten free, and it’s processed to Hodgson Mill’s high standards in a gluten-free environment so it’s as safe as it can be for those with gluten intolerance. If you’ve never worked with coconut flour, it’s a treat. You won’t believe how light and moist it helps make your baked goods! It added the perfect light texture to these beignets. I think I’m smitten.
Ready to get started? Start by proofing the yeast while you mix up the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the bubbly yeast and the rest of the liquid ingredients and stir well.
The dough will start out wet, but it will quickly become thick from the xanthan gum’s binding action. Keep stirring and mashing and kneading with a fork as long as you are able – at least 3-4 minutes. It starts shaggy and comes into a ball, and eventually you’ll think it’s impossible to stir. Then cover and put the dough in a warm, draft-free place to rise. (An oven preheated to 200°F and turned off works well on cold winter days.)
Here’s my dough after its first rise. Turn the risen dough onto surface, sprinkle with a little more Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Multi Purpose Baking Mix, and knead gently for a minute. It’s a really fun dough to play with. It’s smooth, light and delicate, very easy to shape and cut, and it keeps the shape you give it.
Roll out to ¾-inch to 1-inch thick. You can just pat it, or you can roll it lightly with a rolling pin.
Using a sharp knife dipped in Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Multi Purpose Baking Mix, cut the dough into 3-inch x 3-inch squares, then cut the squares in half diagonally to make triangles. Knead any scraps together and re-roll until you use all the dough. Don't worry, no gluten = no problem! It’s like play-doh. (Except more delicious!)
Gently transfer the triangles to a prepared baking sheet. Cover them and give them a quick 20-minute rest to rise before going into the oven. That’s the perfect amount of time to let your oven preheat to 400° F.
Bake 8-10 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned and centers are springy when lightly pressed.
You could just toss the warm beignets with powdered sugar and serve immediately if you wish. But if you want a crackly coffee-flavored glaze on top, then read on. (What a silly question!)
To make the glaze, vigorously whisk together a little milk and instant coffee until the coffee is dissolved. Add powdered sugar slowly, whisking to combine. Keep adding powdered sugar by the tablespoon until you get the correct consistency.
You’ll know you have it right when you dip a spoonful of icing, drizzle it back into the bowl, and you see a defined ribbon of icing on the surface for a moment before it sinks back in. That means it will dry well and get nice and shiny and crackly.
Spoon the glaze onto the baked beignets. Let them sit for a few minutes until the glaze is dry to the touch.
Finish with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar, and serve immediately. They’re best on the day that they’re made – just like at Café du Monde.
Soft and tender, sweet and tasty, baked not fried, and gluten free – laissez les bon temps rouler!
Gluten Free Baked Beignets with Café au Lait Glaze
Cafe au Lait Glaze
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 3/4 tsp. instant espresso or instant coffee
- 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar
- more powdered sugar for glaze/topping
Proof yeast in small bowl with 2 Tbsp. warm water and ½ tsp sugar until bubbly. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add coconut oil, and stir with fork until the coconut oil is evenly distributed and the mixture looks like bread crumbs. Add milk, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla extract, and proofed yeast; stir vigorously until well combined. Mixture will be very thick and difficult to stir. Cover and let rise in a warm place 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick spray. Turn risen dough onto a clean surface lightly sprinkled with Gluten Free Multi Purpose Baking Mix. Knead gently for one minute. Sprinkle lightly with more gluten free baking mix if it sticks to your hands. Roll out to ¾-to 1-inch thick. Cut into 3-inch by 3-inch squares, and cut squares diagonally to make triangles. Knead scraps again and re-roll, continuing until you have used all the dough. Transfer triangles to a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 20 minutes. Bake 8-10 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned and they are springy when lightly pressed. If you are not making glaze, toss with powdered sugar and serve immediately while warm.
To make Café au Lait glaze, whisk 2 Tbsp. milk and instant espresso in a medium bowl until instant espresso is completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar gradually, whisking continuously, until smooth. Add more powdered sugar by the tablespoon as needed, until it reaches the correct consistency. (When you dip a spoonful and drizzle it back into the bowl, you should see a defined ribbon of icing on the surface for a moment.) Spoon, pour, or drizzle over beignets. Let glaze dry for a few minutes, and when shiny, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
Beignets are best served warm, on the day they are made. You may still find them delicious on day 2, if they are kept covered at room temperature.
Makes 36-48 3-inch long beignets
Original Recipe by Erin
You can find Gluten Free Baked Beignets with Café au Lait Glaze and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.