Cooler temperatures in New England mean I start missing my Dominican family and the weather down there, so I recreate dishes to bring back memories, like these Yucca ‘Beignets’ in Spiced Syrup – and we’ll chat a little more about Fair Trade Certified and why it’s important to me, specially being from the Dominican Republic.
The holidays in the Dominican Republic were not seen, they were felt. It was that cool breeze that arrived in November to put a smile on our faces, knowing that the hot, humid weather would be gone for a while; it was that feeling of joy when you saw family members arrive at the airport for the season; the feeling you had when you smelled the spices brewing in your mother’s yucca beignet syrup recipe recipe. The holidays meant everything to me and now living in New England, I try to recreate that same feeling, even if the only family on island with me is my husband and not the large family I’m used to.
So when Fair Trade Certified asked me to join them in celebrating the holiday season with a recipe that represented the holidays, this was hands down the one: Yucca ‘Beignets’ in Spiced Syrup! If you’ve never had yucca, it’s comparable to potatoes in a way, because they are both root vegetables and grow underground, but that’s where the similarities end. Yucca has a completely different texture in a way – a bit gummier, and the flavor is different. Which makes them better from these “beignets” – a dough is made quickly in the food processor and then small balls of it are fried to golden perfection and then drenched in the spiced syrup. It’s seriously such a delicious treat and you don’t need a huge portion to be satisfied!
I wanted to recreate the spiced syrup recipe with fair trade certified ingredients instead of the usual white sugar my mother would use, so a combination of Wholesome’s Organic Blue Agave and their Organic Dark Brown Sugar are the base of it – 70% syrup and 30% sugar is what makes this sublime. the dark brown sugar adds depth in flavor while the agave acts as the base. Then come the fair trade, organic, non-GMO spices from Frontier Co-Op, hands down my favorite spice company. Their spices are fresh, incredible tasting, and add so much to your recipes. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg all come together for this Dominican holiday dessert!
It’s important to me to use Fair Trade ingredients because I know that behind that Fair Trade stamp on the products, is a community of farmers, makers, and harvesters that are hard at work to deliver amazing products to us that should be paid fair, reasonable wages. Purchasing Fair Trade assures me I am part of that movement!
Once the beignets are fried, they are drenched in the spiced syrup and they slowly soak it up, making them little spiced sweet bombs. The yucca in the dough makes for a texture somewhat like the Japanese mocha treats, and is one of my favorite recipes to make. Hope you recreate this at home this holiday season!
Yucca ‘Beignets’ in Spiced Syrup
for the beignets:
- ½ pound yucca peeled
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Wholesome Organic Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 egg large
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup canola or coconut oil for frying
for the spiced syrup:
- ¾ cup Wholesome Organic Blue Agave
- ¼ cup Wholesome Organic Dark Brown Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- a couple cinnamon sticks
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- To cook yucca, carefully peel it, cut it in medium chunks and slice down the middle. Boil until tender (like a potato). Remove the inner tough part and set aside.
- In a food processor, blender, or in a bowl using a wooden spoon, pulse/blend the room temperature yucca, butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until a smooth dough is formed. Place in an airtight container for 1 hour to rest in the refrigerator.
- In the meantime, make the syrup by melting all the ingredients for it. Set aside but keep warm.
- Get ready to fry the beignets in your preferred oil at a medium heat. Using a spoon, scoop and drop small balls of dough (you can also use your hands to roll it out). Fry on all sides until golden brown and cooked, about 4-6 minutes depending on size (you can have a few in the pan at the same time frying).
- Once all the dough is fried, place in a single layer in a container and pour over the syrup, making sure to drench them all.
- Serve hot or warm, with extra syrup and a stick of cinnamon!
Disclaimer: This recipe is in partnership with Fair Trade Certified, an organization I have partnered up with for years past as I deeply believe in their efforts and mission.