For the dough:
- 1/4 cup warm water
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
- 3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup whole milk, lightly warmed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, sliced into chunks
For the topping:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Place warm water in small bowl; sprinkle with yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and remaining granulated sugar until combined.
- With fork, whisk milk and egg into yeast mixture until blended. Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients on the stand mixer. Stir with a rubber spatula into a shaggy dough.
- Turn the mixer on low speed, add the room temperature butter in chunks until well combined and the mixture turns into a soft and smooth dough.
- Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 15 minutes.
- Line two rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Punch down dough. On floured work surface, with floured rolling pin, roll dough to 9-in. square. With floured knife, cut dough into 6 strips, then cut each strip into 6 pieces, making 36 (1½-in.) square pieces. Transfer beignets to prepared cookie sheets, placing about an inch apart. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes.
- Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Bake beignets 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, rotating sheets between upper and lower racks halfway though baking.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. While beignets are warm, brush with melted butter and toss with generously with powdered sugar. Enjoy warm, the same day they’re baked.