1/4 oz active dry yeast (usually 1 envelope)
1-1/2 Cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 Cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs (slightly beaten)
1 tsp of Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup + 1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 Cup of shortening
7 Cups flour
Vegetable Oil (for frying)
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Sri Lankan Cinnamon (Rory says: this is my twist, because I love cinnamon and truly believe it should be in everything)
Sprinkle the surface of 1/2 Cup warm water (105º to 115º) with the yeast, and 1 tsp sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes to allow yeast to “proof.” Add evaporated milk, eggs, salt, and remaining granulated sugar. Mix on lowest speed for one minute to combine.
Take an additional 1 Cup of hot (115°-ish) water, and stir in shortening until it has completely melted. Add to bubbly yeast mixture, and mix at low speed. While mixer is running, add, a little at a time, 4 Cups flour, mixing after each addition until dough is smooth.
Gradually an additional 2-1/2 – 3 Cups more flour (for a total of around 7 Cups), beating until a sticky dough forms. Transfer sticky dough to a lightly-oiled bowl; turn dough to grease entire surface, including top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 and up to to 24 hours.
After dough has chilled, turn dough out onto a prepared floured surface; use a rolling pin to roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a sharp knife to cut rolled dough into 2-1/2-inch squares.
In a small bowl, combine powdered/confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon, stir so that cinnamon is incorporated throughout, before transferring to a flour sifter.
Add vegetable oil to a depth of 2 or 3 inches to a deep, heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Use a candy thermometer to carefully heat oil to 360°. Fry dough squares, in small batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until beignet surface is golden brown. Use heatproof tongs or slotted spoon to remove finished beignet to drain on a wire rack. Dust beignets immediately with the sifted powdered sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Serve as soon as beignets are cool enough to handle with bare hands. Enjoy!
Test Kitchen Secret: You can keep the freshly-fried beignets warm in a 200° oven up to 30 minutes, as you cook up the whole batch. To make beignets ahead of time, store the dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to one week.