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Southern Delicacy: Beignets

by in Main, Southern Food on

Ooh, y’all! This post is bound to make you hungry (just ask Emily!), so I’d like to give you fair warning before you scroll down.

Ready? Beignets are a pastry made of fried dough, traditionally served with powdered sugar on top. Though fried dough can be found internationally (and at most state fairs!), the origin of the term beignet is specifically French — it means “bump”! Perfect for these pillowy treats, no?

Top two photos by Jamie Beck, photo on left by Jim Franco from Southern Living, photo on right by Ryan Benyi from My Recipes

In the South, beignets are most closely associated with New Orleans, which makes sense, since these delicacies were introduced in America by the Acadians (French colonists) in the 18th century. They were quickly incorporated into home-style Creole cooking, and NOLA still reigns supreme as the U.S. home of the beignet.

The most famous beignet spot is Cafe Du Monde, a coffee stand on Decatur Street that opened in 1862 (and is now open 24 hours a day — good for satisfying cravings at all hours of the morning and night!).

Photo by Rachel Thurston via Southern Weddings

Fun fact: Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986. I’m a fan of any state that has a state doughnut!!

These light-as-air sweets would make a perfect late-night snack at a wedding – especially served with hot cocoa or coffee! For an extra fun twist, ask your caterer to cut the dough into heart shapes!

Heart beignets from The Sweetest Occasion, mini beignets from Martha Stewart Weddings, beignets with coffee from The Jewels of New York

Of course, there are many ways to serve beignets, including my personal favorite: the “biscuit beignet”! Yes, you heard me right! Just last week I had my fair share of them at Another Broken Egg Cafe. To die for!

Looking to try your hand at these puffy treats? Our favorite Southern cook (besides Lara’s mama, of course), Paula Dean, has a great recipe for French Quarter Beignets. You can also buy beignet mix from the Cafe Du Monde online shop — and they have a page of baking tips, too!

Tell me: Have you ever tried your hand at making beignets? Or have you been to Cafe Du Monde itself?

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Valerie (Pieceful Wedding) reply

    Oh my gosh, I love beignets…they are sooo good!!! And I love your idea of serving them at a wedding…such a unique snack!

  2. avatar Ashley reply

    New Orleans is a frequent weekend getaway spot for us and we ALWAYS go to Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee! My MoH is in the process of planning my NOLA bachelorette party and I know we’ll have to stop by the morning after!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Yum! I think beignets sound like the perfect morning after bachelorette party snack! I think your MoH and I would get along well! : )

  3. avatar Megan reply

    I LOVE beignets! Growing up, my mom had a good friend who was from NOLA, so I was introduced to them early on. They sell Cafe Du Monde beignet mix at World Market so I like to make them on the weekends as a special treat!

  4. avatar Valerie reply

    Love it!! We served beignets as a late night snack at a wedding and guests LOVED it, even the ones who have had them a million times thought it was such a treat to have at a wedding.

  5. avatar Whitney reply

    LOVE Beignets! Me and my boy started dating after a college trip to NOLA & it has been our favorite vacay spot ever since! Now every time we are in the City we take a stroll to Cafe Du Monde for an after dinner snack… much powedered sugar goodness! My favorite wedding detail is that we are having beignets and a hot chocolate bar at around 11:00pm as the “later night snack” for our NYE wedding!

  6. avatar Brooke reply

    Yum! These sound so perfect for brunch with friends! Definitely going to try and make them this weekend. :)

  7. avatar janet reply

    All the Beignets are making my hungry. Great idea for the wedding.

  8. avatar The Wedding Painter Artist of New York City William West reply

    Those beignets are great with a cup of hot chocolate on a cool fall morning. Great

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