Chocolate-filled Beignets (or Soufganiyot, or whatever you’d like to call them)

sugar-snow-skinny.jpgIf you’ve been to Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, you’ve had the best beignets (French-style doughnuts) around.  They’re really not very hard to make at home; check out my book, on page 197, and the chocolate-filled variation on page 199.  We make them at my house for Hannukah (tonight was the last night), and they are sublime (the same deep-fried treat is called soufganiyot in Hebrew).  The only special equipment you’ll need is a candy thermometer.

Start with a pound of dough, choosing challah (page 180), or brioche (page 189), which will make 5 or 6 beignets.  Roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch rectangle, then cut into 2-inch squares using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife.  Place a half-ounce of bittersweet chocolate into the center of each square.  Gather the edges of the dough around the filling, pinching at the center to form a seal; you may need to use a bit of water to help the edges stick together. 


Allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes while the oil heats up to 360 to 370 degrees F. for deep frying– clip a candy thermometer to the pot to be sure, don’t try to estimate.  You need lots of oil, 3 or 4 inches so the beignets can sink, and then float to the top.  Watch the temperature– it’s too cool, they’ll absorb too much oil; too hot and they’ll burn on the outside and be gummy on the inside.  360 to 370 is just right.


Carefully drop the beignets into the hot oil, giving them room to rise to the surface and get a nice rise; don’t crowd them.  It’s very handy to have someone help you with this crucial job; ask them to adjust the temperature if it falls below 360 once the beignets are added to the pot.  Laura’s so good at this that she can read the paper while making perfect beignets/soufganiyot (it’s not hard)!


After 2 minutes, gently flip them with a slotted spoon and fry for another minute, or until golden brown on both sides.  Use the slotted spoon to remove beignets from the oil and drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining dough until all the beignets are fried.  Dust generously with powdered suger (shake it through a strainer), and eat while still warm!


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33 thoughts to “Chocolate-filled Beignets (or Soufganiyot, or whatever you’d like to call them)”

  1. They ARE so good and easy, I can attest to that. For Christmas brunch, I made the Sticky Pecan Rolls with brioche. Everyone freaked out, they were so good. Then, I’ve been on a brioche bender ever since – chocolate and jam-filled beignets the next morning, and the onion pletzel last night! I seriously love that dough. Thank you for the wonderful recipes.

  2. Thanks all! Yes, more than two could be a big mistake, but have fun… OK, does Ollie Bollen mean “oily balls?” Jeff

  3. I just got the book for Christmas and can’t wait to make more recipes than what I’ve already tried from the libraries copy.

    I’ve wanted to make beignets since my trip to New Orleans last Jan/Feb. There was a daily trip to Cafe Du Monde for a plate of powdered sugar with a few beignets and some great cafe au lait.

  4. I am wholly in love with your book. The bread is wonderful–we make a loaf for breakfast and one for dinner! I am recommending the book to everyone I know.

  5. Jeff, you got it about right – the name refers to the fact that they are balls fried in oil. I am Dutch and when I was growing up we had them every New Year’s Eve, along with apple flappen. I’m not sure of the spelling but they are apple rounds dipped in a batter and deep fried. Also served with icing sugar sifted on top. Yummy things, those.

  6. Kara: thank you so much!

    Ms. Demers: Hmm, maybe we need to fry up some of those apple fritters. Not being Dutch myself, I’ll probably try them on a night when the menu doesn’t include beignets!

  7. Hi Jeff and Zoe,

    I whipped up a bunch of homemade Foccacia Crackers from your master recipe, you can check it on my blog if you find the time! They were easy to make and fun to eat. I linked back here…

    plus, my friend Gina tried your recipe for the very first time and there’s a link there too so you can see on her blog how her first attempt turned out. I’ll be buying her the book in the next two weeks. Her husband’s job got squeezed out after 23 years – so she’s learning to cook frugally and was VERY IMPRESSED with your recipe. She’s done a post about her experience. There’s a link on my blog to hers.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Wow Barb, thanks (again). Your idea looks great, the pix too. As Gina and others know, these loaves cost less than 40 cents apiece, even when flour is this high. Jeff

  9. I made these last night at a dessert potluck, where we had a deep fryer. These were a huge hit! I was worried b/c the dough was very sticky, and did not look very good before going into the fryer. I filled them with a cream cheese filling and prepare chocolate ganache and strawberry coulis for dipping. They were a huge hit. Thanks for another foolproof recipe!

  10. Fantastic! Should have said that at Italian street festivals in New York that I remember, these would have been called zeppole (ZEPP-oh-lay)!

  11. Heh. It’s funny that you should mention Cafe Du Monde: I was sitting there with my husband (who has family in NOLA), eating beignets, and said to him: “you know, this tastes an awful like like that brioche dough I made from my bread book”.

    We’ll have to try it, but I think I’ll make him do the frying. I still have a trace of a scar from my last run-in with hot oil!

  12. Delicious! I made these with the challah dough (oil substitution) so they would be pareve. Amazing when fresh, BUT we found that the square of chocolate was not that pleasant when they’ve cooled off (it turns from molten yum back into a hard square of chocolate), so we’re still searching for the perfect filling. Someone suggested Nutella, so that’s probably my next attempt… happy Chanukah!

    1. Hi Brandon,

      You don’t want to use unsweetened chocolate for these, it will be much too bitter. You can use semisweet, milk, or bittersweet, but something with sugar. Cocoa would be too dry to use for this.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. I’m wondering if I can just use my deep fryer to make these, rather than a pan on the stove? Wouldn’t that eliminate worries about maintaining temp, since the fryer would do that?

  14. I have a question about your recipe. In the original “artisan bread in five minutes a day” for regular beignets step 2 (page 198) says to roll dough to 1/2 inch thick rectangle but in this recipe and in the chocolate or jam filled beignets in the book (Page 199) you state 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Is one wrong or are they different because one is filled?

  15. I have a question about the recipe it says to take dough out of fridge and shape into boul. After you shape it do you immediately roll the dough 1/2 inch thick or so we let it rest a bit and then roll it?

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      We just have you shape it so that it is a uniform thickness when rolling. You can roll it right away, but if it is resisting being rolled out, then let it sit for about 10 minutes and it will become easier.

      Thanks, Zoë

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