A tale of two Doughnuts…..


Sometimes a quick 5 minute donut is just right.  And then there is the “special occasion”  that calls for the N’Orleans Beignet.

When I was a little girl, sometimes on a Friday or Saturday night Daddy would pile us kids into the car around 11:00 P.M. and we would head out to the French Quarter.  Of course we kids were in our pajamas with bare feet and we knew we were not getting out of the car.  It really didn’t matter, we were just thrilled to see the sights, sounds and smells of the Quarter!  Daddy would pull around to the back side of Café Du Monde and we got to order beignets and chocolate milk with curb service.  Soon after placing our order, the waiter would return and hook our tray of goodies onto Daddy’s window and we would shriek with delight as he passed out plates of these soft little pillows of goodness.  “Be careful not to spill too much powdered sugar on the seats!”  he would warn.  But if you have ever eaten beignets you know that was just not possible.  Not only was the back seat dusted with confectioner’s sugar, more often than not there were also spills from the cartons of chocolate milk.  

If we didn’t go to the Quarter, there was always Verbena Bakery.  The bakery was located in a building in the side yard of a residence off of Franklin Avenue.  We made sure to wear our shoes if we knew we were going to Verbena because we definitely got to go inside to place our order.  You couldn’t eat your doughnuts there but you could watch this tall, thin, black man rolling out the dough and hand cutting doughnuts so quickly, it would make you dizzy!  He threaded the doughnuts onto his thumb and would turn swiftly and fling them into the bubbling fryer.  My favorite was watching the older lady as she filled the jelly doughnuts with that fabulous raspberry jam. Gosh, I wish I could remember their names!   I can tell you that there is NOTHING on this earth better tasting than a hot doughnut right out of the fryer and freshly dipped in a bath of glaze!

I will never, ever forget those late night doughnut runs with my siblings and my sweet Daddy!

Then there were those weekends when Daddy was on a fishing trip so Mama would make her version of QUICK  doughnuts .  These were made by frying regular canned biscuits in a shallow pan of hot vegetable oil.  As soon as they turned golden brown, they were drained and then liberally sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar and sometimes a little ground cinnamon.  These are so delicious and surprisingly satisfying.

Quick 5 minute Doughnuts

2 cans of your favorite canned buttermilk biscuits (not the flakey kind)


After frying, drain on paper towels.  Dust generously with confectioner’s sugar!


And now for the French Quarter Beignets My Way!!

French Quarter Beignets

Chiqui Collier

Yields about 6 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (115*F)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 7 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup room temp. shortening, cut up into bits
  • Nonstick spray
  • Oil, for deep-frying
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar


Mix slightly warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to proof.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture into the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour and whisk in the salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding another 3 cups flour.  (Save remaining flour to dust the cutting surface.)  Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large, clean bowl with nonstick spray or drizzle over a little vegetable oil to coat. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag or place in a large sieve over a large bowl and set aside.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 2-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping once or twice, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.   Or sieve the hot beignets with lots of confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately!!!!!!!!!!

wpid-20150318_123020.jpgwpid-20150318_123540.jpgwpid-20150318_124243.jpgwpid-20150318_124705.jpgwpid-20150318_124254.jpgThese are great served with Coffee Ice Cream, too!

Until next time……Bon Appetit


4 thoughts on “A tale of two Doughnuts…..

  1. My experiences were the same. One evening we were there and the African American gentleman was carrying the donuts before they were cooked on this large wooden palate. It literally fell apart spilling the donuts on the floor. They were promptly retrieved and thrown into the hot oil. Our donuts were especially good that night.
    I remember that the donuts were made at night as they would sell them to hospitals and other businesses early in the morning. I also remember that the house where the bakery was located had a sign on the window. My father told me it once served as a bakery store where they would sell the donuts after WW II. When they started servicing the hospitals the store was shut down. The letters that read Verbena Bakery were on the glass. We would walk down the garage driveway to the place where the donuts were made and pass the house/old store on our left.
    The donuts were also very special and I’ve never had chocolate glazed donuts like they made since.
    We lived on St Ferdinand Dr in Gentilly Woods. I don’t remember how my father found out about the bakery. It remains one of my fondest memories. I’m so glad for all the information shared above.


  2. The bakery is a bit older than that. The lady that worked there was Ms. Emma. My Mom also worked there on Sunday mornings selling donuts. That is where she met my Dad and they married in 1949.


  3. I too, went with my family to Verbena to get doughnuts before Morgus came on. A type of family ritual. Verbena Street Bakery at 2678 Verbena St. And your question is going to make a lot of readers start drooling and telling stories about their memories of this place. The owner and operator of the bakery was Thelma Rich, who lived there as well. The bakery — famous for its hot glazed doughnuts — was in business from about 1966 until about 1972. Herman Earl Sr_was one of the bakers, tall white guy…the black guy, I never caught his name. There was Ms Penny-she would do the filling.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s