I always say that I am not really a “sweets” person. The truth is I am more of a sweets snob. I like desserts, but only if they’re homemade. One of my weaknesses, though, is doughnuts. I could live at Krispy Kreme and be happy. They give you a little hat to wear, they let you watch the doughnuts coming off the line, they smother them with glaze, and then they give you one, right off the assembly line. I immediately buy at least a dozen. These beignets are a little taste of Krispy Kreme heaven at home. All you need is a small baker’s hat!
In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Add the sugar, salt, eggs, and milk. Beat until blended. Add 4 cups of the flour by big spoonfuls. Beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then beat in the remaining 3 cups flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
In a large electric fryer, preheat the oil to 360°F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a ⅛-inch thickness. Cut the dough into 2½-inch squares. Deep-fry each square in the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned on each side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners’ sugar.
Deep-fry in batches of about 12 at a time. Depending on the size of your electric fryer, it may take more or less than 8 cups of oil. Just pour the oil as deep as you can into your fryer.