Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Cottonseed Oil Is Part Of The Recipe At Café Du Monde

• By Stacey Gorman,
Director Of Communications, The Cotton Board •

cafe du monde biegnetSitting in a bustling café at dawn as the city of New Orleans wakes up from its all-night festivities can only mean you’re at Café du Monde.

This is one of the world’s most famous coffee shops and a New Orleans institution. Sipping a stout chicory coffee or creamy café au lait while watching the servers hustle plates filled with powdered sugar-dusted hot beignets has been one of the quintessential New Orleans experiences for more than 150 years.

The original Café Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The café is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and when an occasional hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.

The process of making the perfect Café Du Monde beignet has been constant as well. The Café Du Monde beignet is a square piece of dough, always fried in cottonseed oil and lavishly covered with powdered sugar. A plate of three is served for less than $3.

“We buy hundreds of thousands of pounds of cottonseed oil to run the Café Du Monde,” says Burt Benrud, vice president Café Du Monde. “When you’re in the food business, the most important thing you have is the quality of your product — that’s what keeps your customers coming back.

“We don’t even entertain the thought when somebody comes knocking on our door asking us to use a different kind of oil to cook our beignets in — that’s how important cottonseed is to our business. Cottonseed oil is just part of the recipe.”

A new Cotton Board video, “Forever Cotton — The Café,” showcases the story of the world-famous Café Du Monde and highlights its loyalty to cottonseed oil.

Forever Cotton is The Cotton Board’s new multi-faceted communication campaign aimed at cotton producers. It demonstrates the many ways the Cotton Research and Promotion Program works on behalf of U.S. Upland cotton growers to bridge the gap between cotton on their farm and other aspects of the crop. These include cotton as a performance fabric, cottonseed oil as a trusted food source, and production practices for sustainability and stability on the farm.

The Cotton Research and Promotion Program is investing more then $1.5 million into cottonseed research and marketing in 2019, including research on the health benefits of cottonseed oil compared to other oils. Its goal is to make cottonseed oil preferred in kitchens across the country, like at the world-famous Café du Monde in New Orleans.

For more information, email Gorman at sgorman@cottonboard.org.

Tip For Cooking The Perfect Beignet

One of the most critical steps to making perfectly crisp and light beignets is to be sure the oil is very hot (at least 380 degrees) and that it remains hot throughout the cooking process. If it isn’t, the beignets absorb too much oil and the powdered sugar melts when served. In addition, the beignet is greasy, sticky, and a hot, sweet mess of soggy dough.

Café du Monde only fries their beignets in cottonseed oil, which has a high smoke point of 420 degrees. This allows the café to keep the oil extremely hot as it fries thousands of beignets each day.

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