Doughnuts have long been linked to Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday.” In Louisiana, fried dough pillows called beignets are the favorite. Make the dough the night before; then fry in the morning so they’re hot and heavenly!
Dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add next five ingredients plus optional salt, if desired, then beat in the flour. Dough will be sticky.
On a floured board, roll out the dough to about ⅛ inch. Cut into 2-inch squares.
Heat oil to 370 degrees F. Drop beignets in oil a few at a time. As they puff, turn them to brown other side. Remove, drain, and dust with powdered sugar.