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I have enjoyed the Olive Garden dessert Zeppoli for almost every birthday and special occasion since I was 13 and discovered that it was the most MARVELOUS dessert EVER! I could eat a whole order of them myself, but they are incredibly unhealthy…until now. This Beignet recipe is fabulous and incredibly healthy compared to usual French Beignets or Italian Zeppoli that are fried. The Raspberry and Café au Lait dipping sauces are also much healthier with way less sugar and fat. Enjoy!

Beignet Ingredients:

  • ¼ c. warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 1 package quick-rising active dry yeast
  • ¼ c. Turbinado sugar
  • 3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. cold Kerrygold butter
  • ¾ c. organic milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ c. organic powdered sugar

Café au Lait Sauce:

  • ⅓ c. Turbinado sugar
  • 2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 c. organic milk
  • 1½ oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • stevia to taste

Raspberry Sauce:

  • ½ cup organic seedless raspberry jam
  • 1-2 tbsp. Water

Directions:

    1. Prepare Beignets: Place warm water in small bowl; sprinkle with yeast and 1 teaspoon Turbinado sugar. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
    2. In large bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining  sugar until combined. With pastry blender or 2 knives used scissors-fashion, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. With fork, stir buttermilk and egg into yeast mixture until blended. Make well in flour mixture; pour in yeast mixture. Stir until combined and soft dough forms.
    3. On lightly floured work surface, knead dough lightly several times until dough is smooth. Spray same bowl (no need to clean) with nonstick cooking spray and place dough in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 10 minutes.
    4. Spray 2 large cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Punch down dough. On floured work surface, with floured rolling pin, roll dough to 9-in. square. With floured chef’s knife, cut dough into 6 strips, then cut each strip into 6 pieces, making 36 (1½-in.) square pieces. Transfer Beignets to prepared cookie sheets, placing about 1½ inches apart. Spray sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray; cover beignets with wrap, sprayed side down. Let rise 20 minutes.
    5. While Beignets are rising, prepare Café au Lait Dip: In 3-quart saucepan, with wire whisk, combine granulated sugar, espresso powder, and cornstarch. Whisk in milk. Cook on medium 8 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly, whisking. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes, whisking. Remove pan from heat. Add chocolate to pan and whisk until melted and smooth. Sweeten with Stevia to taste then cover and set aside.
    6. Prepare Raspberry Sauce: In a small sauce pan whisk together jam and water until smooth and heated. Cover and set aside.
    7. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake Beignets 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating sheets between upper and lower racks halfway though baking. While Beignets are hot, toss with confectioners’ sugar. Rewarm dip if necessary. Serve Beignets warm with warm Café au Lait and Raspberry sauces.
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-Adapted from Good House Keeping