Green Tea Beignets

Green Tea Beignets “Green tea beignets,” my sister said as she shoved her iPhone screen in my face. It is one of Dominique Ansel’s creations in his newest café and she is already making plans in our family group chat to go pay a visit. Even though NYC is just across the bridge, it isn’t simple to make plans and go on a moment’s notice. After all, we all work and have personal obligations. But dang, ever since she said it, I could not get it out of my head. The thought would not stop haunting me, and before I knew it I was googling recipes for beignets and looking up photos of green tea beignets.
Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets Turns out, it was simpler than I thought (which in hindsight, is not necessarily a good thing because it means that I can make beignets on a whim). The dough does not need a mixer or kneading, and it doesn’t even require a second rise! It puffs up beautifully with a honeycombed interior and is just barely sweet. This leaves you with the option to give it a generous shower of powdered sugar.
Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets My matcha is not the highest grade because I didn’t think I would ever need a high quality powder. (In case you didn’t know, matcha can get quite pricey by the ounce.) But for this recipe, I think it is necessary. My green tea powdered sugar does not have the vibrant green that would make it scream, “Hey, I’m green tea flavored!” Instead, it whispers, “I might be something different from regular ol’ powdered sugar, you’re going to have to taste me to see…” This is not the message I wanted to send, but then again you get what you pay for and it is a lesson learned.
Green Tea Beignets Either way, how wrong can you go with fried dough and sugar? The only thing is, you need to eat them within about 4 hours (and that’s with using a low heated oven to keep them warm). Past that, the dough starts to get very stale and loses its magical deliciousness.

Green Tea Beginets

Ingredients:

1 c. water, 110˚F and not from tap
3 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 ½ tbsp. active dry yeast
3 c. all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
vegetable oil for frying
green tea powdered sugar (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. Combine water, 1 tbsp. sugar, and yeast in a bowl until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, eggs, and 2 tbsp. vegetable oil until combined. Add the water mixture and stir until a smooth, sticky dough forms.
  3. Spray another bowl with nonstick spray and transfer dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for the dough to rise and double in size, about 1-2 hours.
  4. On a large surface, generously coated with flour, dump out cold dough and roll out to a rectangle that is ¼ in. thick. Cut into 24 squares with a well lubed pizza cutter.
  5. On two baking sheets, set each sheet with a wire cooling rack.
  6. Heat oil in a Dutch oven until 350˚F, fry dough 5 at a time until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes. Keep oil temperature between 325˚F – 350˚F. Transfer fried dough onto wire cooling rack
  7. If you want to wait until all of the dough is fried, keep it warm in a 175˚F -200˚F oven.
  8. Dust generously with green tea powdered sugar and serve.

Green Tea Powdered Sugar

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. matcha (green tea) powder
1 ½ c. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Sift matcha powder and powdered together with a mesh strainer and mix until homogenous.

Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan 1As much as I love trying out new restaurants and cuisines, I have a terrible habit of ordering the same menu items wherever I go. It’s not that I don’t like trying new things, I suppose I know what I like and I always crave that same dish every time. For example, at Thai restaurants it would be pad thai, chow fun at Chinese restaurants, gyro at Greek restaurants and chicken tikka masala and naan at Indian restaurants. Which brings us to today’s recipe, naan. As a lover of all things bread, fresh naan is one of those things that I can eat every day without complaint. (My waistline on the other hand is another story.) Glistening with melted garlic butter and specks of kosher salt, this buttery, chewy, slightly salty, sweet and crispy yeast bread is amazing.
Garlic Naan 4Garlic Naan 8What makes this garlic naan extra garlicky is the addition of granulated garlic to the yeast dough. That plus the chunks of fresh garlic in the melted butter makes this a flavor bomb that is just waiting to be consumed.
Garlic Naan 7 Garlic Naan 6If you’ve never worked with yeast before, I can understand why you would be wary of this recipe. Don’t be scared! Yes, the yeast can die on you but you can easily dump it out and try again if it fails. Just make sure that the filtered (don’t use tap water!) water is not over 115˚F when you add the yeast. Before I got a thermapen (Which btw, is awesome. It is worth every penny), I used to stick my finger in the water and if I didn’t have to immediately pull out my finger from the heat, I knew it was ready to go. Silly I know, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Garlic Naan 3Cook it under the broiler for that perfectly brown, slightly charred taste that you can probably replicate on the grill. I once read that it also works well on a George Foreman grill and also a greased pan on a stovetop. I’ve tried both methods and the broiler is the best. Hands down.
Garlic Naan 5Garlic Naan

Ingredients:
1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 c. warm water* (not above 115˚F)
¼ c. sugar, divided
3 tbsp. milk
1 egg
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
4 to 4 ½ c. all purpose or bread flour**
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
6 tbsp. unsalted butter

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir water, 1 tbsp sugar and yeast together until yeast is incorporated.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix 3 tbsp sugar, milk, egg, salt, garlic and 4 cups of flour until combined.
  3. Once yeast has proofed, add it to the flour mixture and mix in the standing mixer with the dough hook attachment until combined. The dough should look fairly wet.
  4. Let the dough rest for 8 minutes.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low speed, knead dough until dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, about 6-8 minutes. If the dough does not pull away or show signs of it at 5 minutes, add the additional ½ c. of flour ¼ c. at a time until desired consistency forms.
  6. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour or doubled in size.
  7. On a floured surface, deflate and divide the dough into 16 even pieces and form into smooth balls.
  8. Place dough balls on a baking sheet and let rise for 30-45 minutes, or doubled in size.
  9. While the dough is rising, preheat the broiler in your oven. Line the broiling pan with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  10. In a microwave safe bowl, add the minced garlic and the butter and gently melt the butter.
  11. Once the dough has risen, flatten out the dough into a round or oval shape by gently stretching it out. The naan becomes crisper the thinner you stretch it.
  12. Place dough onto the broiler pan and cook 1-2 minutes until golden brown and slightly charred.
  13. Flip the dough over and cook for another minute or two until desired color is reached.
  14. Take naan out and while it is still hot, brush on melted garlic butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  15. Continue this step until all of the dough is cooked, buttered and salted.

*Make sure the water is not above 115˚F
**Both types of flour work well, but the bread flour produces a chewier naan.
***Recipe adapted from allrecipes.

Pretzel Hot Dogs

Pretzel Hot Dogs 5Every single time I go to the mall, I have an inner battle with myself.  Do I get a soft pretzel or not?  I try not to have one because frankly it’s just a chunk of carbs and I always feel a little guilty after I eat it.  I suppose the real question is: is it worth feeling guilty about?
Pretzel Hot Dogs 2I would say that the chance of me caving in is about 50/50.  I have a good idea of what it is that I want (plain salted pretzel with lots of golden mustard) until I get to the window and see a glistening pretzel hot dog.  How do they get it so shiny and golden?  Why do you wink at me so in the fluorescent mall light?  Why am I personifying you?
Pretzel Hot Dogs 3I sit there frazzled until it’s my turn and at this point, I blank out and whatever word comes out of my mouth first is what I get.  Sometimes it’s the hot dog, sometimes it’s the pretzel.  All I know is that either way I have buttery, carb-y goodness in my mouth.  I win.
Pretzel Hot Dogs 4Sometimes, you don’t want to go to the mall.  Sometimes, the drive isn’t worth it and the battle of the parking spot is tiring and stressful.  This is for those days, a little reward without the battle.
Pretzel Hot Dog 1Pretzel Hot Dogs

Ingredients:
4 ½ to 5 c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. 110°F-115°F water
½ c. milk
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted plus more for brushing
kosher sea salt/ pretzel salt/ Maldon salt
10 c. water
⅔ c. baking soda
1 egg
16 Hot dogs

Instructions:

  1. In a microwave safe cup, warm 1½ c. water until 110°F-115°F or lukewarm.  Stir in sugar until dissolved. Stir in dry yeast and let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. While the yeast is proofing, mix 4½ c. flour, milk, salt, and the melted butter into a bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Add the water mixture into the flour mixture and stir until a loose dough forms.
  4. Let stand for 8 minutes to hydrate flour.
  5. With the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on speed 2 for about 8 minutes.  If you see that the dough is still loose and sticks to the bowl, add the remaining half cup of flour and knead until the dough does not stick to the bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until double its size.
  7. Once the dough has risen, preheat oven to 450˚F and line two sheet pans with either parchment paper or silicone mats.
  8.  In a large pot, boil 10 c. of water and baking soda.
  9. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces, and form into a long rope. Carefully wrap each piece around a hot dog, pinch the ends together to seal the dough.
  10. Boil the pretzel hot dogs, one at a time about 15 seconds on each side.  Remove from the water and drain thoroughly with a slotted spoon.
  11. Mix 1 egg with 1 tbsp. water to form an egg wash.
  12. Place onto the sheet pan and brush bread thoroughly with the egg wash and sprinkle with your choice of salt.
  13. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Brush generously with melted butter.
  14. Let Cool. Eat with a lot of mustard.

Pretzel recipe adapted from Jo Cooks.