America's Most Wanted
© Ellen Silverman, DamGoodSweet

As a New Orleans expat baking in Alexandria, Virgina, chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery is under a lot of pressure to make a beignet that does his home city proud. “The beignet is the most internationally recognizable dessert of New Orleans, so if you’re going to call yourself a Louisiana restaurant you need to do a good one,” he says. Guas makes them daily with a fresh yeast dough. Then he fries them in peanut oil and tops them with a mini mountain of powdered sugar. He serves the beignets three to an order—just like they do at the New Orleans beignet institution Café du Monde. “There’s just something about a beignet that makes you giggle,” he says. “We get 90-year-olds in here making a mess with all that sugar.”

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