Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Quest: Vegan Donuts, Lemon Poppy Seed

Okay, I admit it, I am really enjoying this doughnut quest. This has turned into more than just working to find a terrific vegan doughnut recipe, this has become a family event. All four of my kids are engaged in the doughnut making process. Each of them gives me a full detailed report on what they have liked or disliked about the latest recipe, my oldest is surprisingly sensitive to any baking soda/powder aftertaste, my youngest pitches me new ideas for flavor combinations, my older daughter writes out the recipes as I throw them into the food processor, and lest I forget, my youngest son loves the extra sweets in the house. What started out as a way to make Spring Break a bit more festive has turned into much more -- this is fun! Yes, there are dishes to wash and kitchen clean up involved, but it is worth every minute.

Day 6: Vanilla with Chocolate Splatter, a recipe inspired by my youngest who in the picture above is doing an excellent splatter job (in a white shirt no less!) The kids all liked these, but they all agreed they were a bit too sweet. I had used the Nutty Pecan and Almond recipe without the addition of almond, but I was also testing out what would happen with an extra tablespoon of oil. Turns out the oil lightened the crumb a bit too much and these seemed to have less body, mixed with too sweet, these didn't earn a recipe spot. 

Day 7:  Vanilla Carrot. These were such a disaster that I couldn't even get a good picture. I am not abandoning the idea of adding carrot, but I need a better understanding of the wet to dry ratio before I try it again. One thing was for certain, this attempt did not have enough flour. This is the second or third attempt that has not been able to bake off enough moisture, even when cooked well over double the normal time and each time I have cut back on the flour, thinking that I was adding dry ingredients in another manner, but I'm beginning to think that one cup is probably the goal.

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Doughnuts with flax seed, almonds, and soy milk.
Day 8: Lemon Poppy Seed.  I revisited almonds in this one (ran out of pecans) but I thought the almonds would give a lighter flavor to the lemon. These were very good, but I tried an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder just to see if it would add more lift, but the flavor came through, so the recipe as written here shows that change (1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder instead of 2.) I also tried flax seed in these doughnuts, which I know is not in everyone's pantry, but a little research into the benefits of flax seed, maybe it should be since they are loaded with all kinds of super-nutrients. This recipe is a work in progress too, but I'm going to put it out there because they are totally satisfying, and I plan to make them again soon, with only tiny modifications.

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Doughnuts

3 Tablespoons hot tap water
1 Tablespoon flax seed
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup (approximately) milk of choice (I use soy)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole almonds
1/3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  2. In a 1-cup measuring cup, combine the flax seed and the very hot tap water. Allow the flax seed to soak while zesting and juicing the lemon. 
  3. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice for the frosting, but add the rest of the juice to the measuring cup with the flax seeds. Add as much milk as needed to fill the measure to one full cup.
  4. In the bowl of the food processor, combine the lemon zest, almonds, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Blend until the nuts have been completely pulverized and the mixture looks uniform. Add the coconut oil and pulse to blend evenly.
  5. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients, add poppy seeds at the very end and give it just a pulse to combine. Immediately spoon the mixture into the prepared doughnut pan. 
  6. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, carefully loosen the doughnuts and turn them over in the pan. These can be turned out onto a rack and then placed back into the pan. The middles may have baked over the hole section a bit, but carefully just press them back down into the pan. This crisps up the bottoms and gives them a better doughnut form.  Return them to the oven and bake until they begin to develop a rich golden color, approximately 5-7 minutes. 
  7. Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack. 
  8. Once cool, glaze (see below) and enjoy.
Glaze doughnuts with 1 cup powdered sugar, and the reserved lemon juice.  Combine the ingredients in small  bowl. The consistency should be only a bit thicker than heavy cream so that the doughnuts can be dipped in and the excess allowed to drip off the sides on a cooling rack. Wait just long enough for the frosting to set up before eating for the best flavor (and the least mess.)

This recipe makes 6 doughnuts. 

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