Activate the Yeast
Start making the dough the day before you want to eat your fresh beignets. Put 1 cup of lukewarm milk into a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 package of active dry yeast, and a heaping tablespoon of flour. Mix with a whisk until the sugar and yeast have dissolved.
Mix the Dough
Let the milk sit until bubbles begin to develop on the surface. Then add ½ cup of melted butter, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add ½ cup of granulated sugar and 4 cups of all-purpose flour and knead the dough by hand (in the bowl) for about 5 minutes. Then, cover the bowl in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
Roll and Cut the Dough
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it to ¼-inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut it into 2-inch squares. Cover the squares loosely in plastic wrap and allow them to rise for about an hour.
Fry the Beignets
Fry the beignets in small batches in 350-degree oil (pick a neutral-tasting oil like canola), turning them every 30 seconds, until they are golden brown all over. Drain the cooked beignets on a paper towel-lined plate.
Eat the Beignets
Dust the beignets generously with powdered sugar and eat while they’re still warm.
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Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.