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Cooking with JoJo: Get a jazzed up taste of Mardi Gras anytime

Joey Morasse • Updated May 1, 2018 at 10:30 PM

New Orleans is a city steeped in rich history, incredible music and, of course, amazing food. My first trip years ago was during Mardi Gras. 

From Bourbon Street and beyond, the city buzzed with people from all walks of life sharing in the celebration. 

New Orleans is a chef’s dream. From gumbo to jambalaya to etoufeé made with delicious andouille sausage and dirty rice, it doesn’t get more decadent. 

For those of us with a sweet tooth, New Orleans is also known for the beignet. Pronounced “ben-yay,” these tiny fritters pack a lot of flavor. When visiting the city, it should be a rule that you enjoy them by the water at the Café Du Monde with a cup of chicory coffee. 

Traditionally made with a simple dough using bread flour as the main ingredient, I wanted to explore a healthier version using coconut flour and coconut milk and topped with maple sugar that results in a sweet treat you can indulge in without as much guilt.

What you’ll need:

• 1/4 cup coconut flour.

• 1/4 tsp. baking soda.

• 2 tbsp. maple sugar.

• 1/4 tsp. sea salt.

• 3 tbsp. coconut milk.

• 4 eggs.

• 6 tbsp. coconut oil, for frying.

Whisk together coconut flour, baking soda, maple sugar and sea salt to break apart any lumps. With a mixer, blend together coconut milk and eggs until light and airy. 

Combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. You will fry six beignets for each 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. 

Once the oil is hot, gently drop the batter with a tablespoon into the oil. Only make three beignets at a time so the oil stays hot. Cook for a couple minutes, and then spoon a little of the coconut oil onto the beignets. This will help set the top for when you flip them. 

Cook three more beignets, and then add more oil. Continue the process of frying batter and adding coconut oil as needed. 

Traditionally, these are topped with powdered sugar, but for this recipe, I chose to use a sprinkling of maple sugar. The crunch of the crispy beignet and the rich maple sugar, combined with a hint of coconut, makes this dessert worthy of celebration.

Enjoy.

Cooking since he could pull a chair up to the stove at 5 years old, Joey Morasse, of Lebanon, is the owner and operator of JoJo’s Barbecue and Catering. He is also a personal chef and offers in-home cooking classes.

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