**Disclaimer: I was provided complimentary extracts for the purpose of this review but the opinions and photos are my own.**
Fat Tuesday is a big day in our house. We’re not from Louisiana and have no ties at all, but we don’t pass up a holiday. Aside from the fun factor, it’s been an educational activity throughout the years. We’ve learned about other cultures, countries, their music, decor, food, etc. Fat Tuesday’s just another experience of an opportunity to try new things and make fun memories at the same time. This year’s menu was homemade jambalaya, beignets and Hurricanes. I’ll cover the jambalaya and beverages in another post, but this one’s devoted to the amazing beignets I made using Nielsen-Massey’s recipe, copied below for you to enjoy as well!
A little back story: a few years ago, I made beignets and they were okay but they were a little on the dense side. The following year I made this monster batch that said it made six dozen but instead, the lid on Tupperware’s Thatsa Bowl couldn’t go on. Then, when I turned on our deep fryer, it wouldn’t work. It was dead. This year, I knew I needed to try a new recipe, as I didn’t want 300 beignets and I wanted them light and fluffy. Enter Neilsen-Massey’s recipe.
This beignet dough came together quick and easy. It does require a stand mixer with a dough hook, so if you don’t have one, you may need to hand mix it quite a bit.
The yeast mixture proofed quickly and I was confident these beignets would be good. After the batter sat to rise for two hours, there was no doubt. We heated up the deep fryer with fresh oil, rolled out the dough and cut it while the oil heated, and then put in our first batch. Within 30 seconds, they were puffy and with no more than one minute per side, done!
While I made them, of course I had to try the vanilla on its own. I am pretty picky about extracts, as they can water down frosting if you use too much and some just have a flat taste. Nielsen-Massey extracts were delicious! No alcohol taste, just pure flavor, from the vanilla, to the chocolate and the almond.
If you’re looking for a quality extract that holds its flavor throughout high temps and other strong ingredients, these do it no problem. For kicks, we tested a little dough with chocolate extract instead of the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, and they were really good, though I’m not sure they’re technically legit beignets if they’re chocolate. The almond extract was tested in a rather unconventional place, a certain beverage. We’d tried a margarita in a restaurant and wondered if almond flavoring would work in place of other liqueurs and sure enough, it did! A little goes a long way.
Haven’t tried Nielsen-Massey extracts yet? They’re headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois and they also have a production facility in the Netherlands. They’ve been around for over 100 years, producing only the best of extracts with the finest, pure ingredients.To find where you can buy them, visit their store locator here. You can also find more recipes and FAQs on their website.
As provided to me by Nielsen-Massey, the full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Beans.
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas also offers a full line of Pure Flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are All-Natural, Allergen-Free, and certified Kosher and Gluten-Free.
Quality baking ingredients go a long way in providing your family and guests food that they remember and ask for again and again. Now I have one more preferred brand/ingredient to add to my list. Try it and I think you’ll notice the difference too! Looking for something to test it on? You don’t need to wait for Mardi Gras to make beignets, make these for your family for a surprise!
Vanilla Beignet Bites with Vanilla-Lemon Raspberry Jam
(Yield 6 dozen)
Vanilla Beignet Bites
¼ cup warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar; set aside to activate yeast. In a medium bowl, add butter, half-and-half and vanilla extract; stir and set aside. In a small bowl whisk eggs; set aside.
In a bowl of a free standing electric mixer, add flour, sugar, salt and cardamom. Place bowl on mixer stand which has been fitted with a dough hook. Turn mixer on low speed and combine dry ingredients.
Turn mixer to medium speed then add activated yeast mixture. Add half-and-half mixture, then add the whisked eggs. Mix until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary. Dough will be slightly sticky.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead, about 2-3 minutes; adding additional flour only when needed.
Lightly coat a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and keep warm until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours. After dough has risen, place on a lightly floured surface and gently knead. Roll dough into a rectangle, about ¼-inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut dough into small rectangles, about 1 x ½-inch pieces.
Heat oil to 375°F; carefully place dough in hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 45-60 seconds. Turn beignets so both sides are golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels; dust with Vanilla Powdered Sugar while bites are still warm. Dip Vanilla Beignet Bites in Nielsen-Massey’s signature Vanilla-Lemon Raspberry Jam.
Vanilla Powdered Sugar (Yield ½ cup sugar)
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and vanilla powder.
Vanilla-Lemon Raspberry Jam (Yield 1 cup jam)
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
In a small bowl, add jam, vanilla and lemon extracts. Whisk until jam is smooth and serve with warm Vanilla Beignet Bites. Vanilla-Lemon Raspberry Jam can be refrigerated and also served with whole grain toast, English muffins or scones.