Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quest: Vegan Chocolate Chocolate Chip Walnut Doughnuts

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Walnut Vegan Doughnuts
The chocolate doughnuts are far and away the favorites at our house, especially with the kids. Even in the beginning of my quest, chocolate was hard to get wrong; nearly all the chocolates have met with some degree of success. The secret it turns out is that cocoa is acidic, so when it gets wet and reacts with the baking powder, gas is released and they seem to always get great lift.

Increasing the nuts has made it possible to cut out any additional oil and with the benefit of extra protein, they are a very satisfying way to start the day. Admittedly, these were a bit more like a dessert than a breakfast doughnut since the addition of the miniature chocolate chips gives these more sweetness than the chocolate pecan version. Of course the chocolate chips can be omitted, however if you want to include them but don't have the miniature chips on hand, simply pulse the regular sized ones to break them down a bit. There is so little actual 'cake' in the doughnut that the larger chips may effect the integrity of the doughnut's crumb and they could fall apart. Pulse them prior to blending other dry ingredients and remove them from the bowl to hand mix them into the batter at the end.


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Walnut Doughnuts
1 cup milk of choice
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup walnuts
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Measure the milk in a liquid measure and add all remaining liquid ingredients, adding vinegar first to curdle the milk. 
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the dry ingredients except miniature chocolate chips and blend until the nuts have been pulverized and the mixture looks uniform. 
  4. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients (alternatively blend the dry and the wet by hand in another bowl.) Stir in the chocolate chips. Immediately spoon the mixture into the prepared doughnut pan. Divide it among the six holes, placing it directly in the middle and use a finger to clear the batter off the 'hole' and smooth it a bit to fill them evenly.
  5. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, loosen the middles which may stick just a bit, with a fork before turning the doughnuts out onto a cooling rack, and immediately place them bottom sides up back into the doughnut pan. The middles may have baked over the hole section of the pan a bit, but carefully just press them back down into the pan, remove any extra crumb/clumps from the middles. Flipping them during the baking process crisps up the bottoms and gives them an overall better doughnut form. Return them to the oven and bake another 5 minutes. 
  6. Remove to a cooling rack. 
  7. Frost doughnuts (below) while still warm. 
Chocolate Frosting: This makes a very small amount of frosting, exactly enough for a thin coat on 6 doughnuts, if you want a thicker frosting double the recipe and double dip each doughnut for a second coat.

1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons milk of choice
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Microwave frosting ingredients in a microwave safe bowl 20-30 seconds. Stir until smooth and lightly frost each doughnut while still a bit warm, simply dip them tops down (the tops to me are the part that started out as the top when they first went into the oven) into the glaze and allow them to dry on a cooling rack.

This recipe makes 6 doughnuts.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quest: Vanilla with Almonds and Powdered Sugar


The success of the Angel Wing doughnuts led to this tasty experiment, so that those without the unusual orange blossom water and mahleb might be able to enjoy a similar doughnut. These are the lightest doughnuts I have made yet, which nearly puts them out of the doughnut category entirely, pushing them toward a round cake...however the outer crust on these firmly holds their spot in the doughnut realm.

The lower fat almond gives these a lighter texture than those with a heavier oil content, and using the slivered almonds without the dark skin gives them the lightest colored crumb of all the doughnuts I've made yet. These have a lovely delicate interior with a light almond and vanilla flavor, but unlike cake, these developed even more crunch to the exterior than many of the other doughnuts I have made. This vanilla doughnut has already been requested again, (which at our house where I've been making doughnuts nearly every day for four weeks solid now is a big deal) so these definitely earn a blog spot.

Vanilla, Almonds, and Powdered Sugar

1 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting/coating

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Measure the milk in a liquid measure and add all remaining liquid ingredients, adding vinegar first to curdle the milk. 
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the dry ingredients except powdered sugar and blend until the nuts have been pulverized and the mixture looks uniform. 
  4. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients, alternatively blend the dry and the wet by hand in another bowl. Immediately spoon the mixture into the prepared doughnut pan. Divide it among the six holes, placing it directly in the middle over the 'hole', use a finger to clear the batter off the 'hole' and smooth it a bit to fill them evenly.
  5. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, loosen the middles which may stick just a bit, with a fork before turning the doughnuts out onto a cooling rack, and immediately place them bottom sides up back into the doughnut pan. The middles may have baked over the hole section of the pan a bit, but carefully just press them back down into the pan, remove any extra crumb/clumps from the middles. Flipping them during the baking process crisps up the bottoms and gives them an overall better doughnut form. Return them to the oven and bake another 5 minutes. 
  6. Remove to a cooling rack. 
  7. Once cool, coat in powdered sugar. Place powdered sugar in shallow bowl and press each doughnut in to coat both tops and bottoms, tapping away the excess. 
This recipe makes 6 doughnuts.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Quest: Pumpkin Spice Vegan Doughnuts


I seem to be on to something with this cream of tartar idea. Here is yet another recipe where I was able to cut the additional oil by increasing the nut content. Mind you, these are not low fat at nearly 15 grams each but take a look at the nutritional breakdown below, that fat is nearly all monounsaturated, the 'good' fat. And check out the additional nutrients these provide; dare I suggest that these are actually healthy doughnuts?

I prepared my recipe with canned pumpkin but my taste tester only had pumpkin pie mix and followed the recipe as written here only leaving out the additional spices (she did add the maple syrup for added sweetness.) She also flavored her frosting with pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon I used and her husband proclaimed these "The best doughnuts he's EVER had." Mine got equally great reviews from tasters here, so please feel free to improvise.


Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

1/3 cup milk (I used almond)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin

1 cup pecans
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I use fresh ground)
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Measure the milk in a liquid measure and add all remaining liquid ingredients. 
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the dry ingredients and blend until the nuts have been pulverized and the mixture looks uniform.  
  4. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients, alternatively blend the dry and the wet by hand in another bowl. Immediately spoon the mixture into the prepared doughnut pan. The batter is thick, just divide it among the six holes, placing it directly on the middle hole, use a finger to push it off the middle 'hole' spot and smooth it a bit to fill them evenly. 
  5. Bake 15-16 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, use a fork to loosen the middles if they have stuck a bit and turn the doughnuts out onto a cooling rack. Immediately place them bottom sides up back into the doughnut pan. They may have baked over the edges a bit, but carefully just press them back down into the pan, remove any extra crumb/clumps from the middles. Flipping them during the baking process crisps up the bottoms and gives them an overall better doughnut form. Return them to the oven and bake another 5 minutes. 
  6. Remove to a cooling rack. 
  7. Once cool glaze doughnuts, see below.
Glaze the doughnuts with 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of milk. The consistency should be only a bit thicker than the milk when done, allowing the doughnuts to be dipped in and left to dry to get that nice crackling glaze finish.
This recipe makes 6 doughnuts. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Quest: Walnut, Mahleb and Orange Blossom Water Doughnuts


I had been craving Lebanese cookies, the butter-rich, walnut loaded, orange blossom water infused, mahleb spiced pastries I have only rarely been lucky enough to find at Arab Bakeries. Perhaps a peculiar craving, but I thought it would make a terrific doughnut flavor...and it turns out that I was right!

The best part is that I finally worked out the correct ratio to be able to cut out any additional oil by increasing the nuts. I've also made another breakthrough with the discovery of cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is an acid that when wet will react in the same manner that vinegar does to create gas and lift to the doughnut. The first attempt at adding cream of tarter actually produced too light of a crumb, the doughnuts fell apart when I turned them out, but the flavor was great. That prompted the addition of more nuts which resulted in a stronger nut flavor and more body to the crumb which suited the flavor profile I was after. These are rich with walnut, highlighted with just a hint of mahleb (an Arab spice of ground cherry pits) and accented with orange blossom water which provides more of an exotic scent than flavor and thoroughly satisfied my craving!

'Angel Wing' Doughnuts (that's what Grandma always called them)

1/2 cup milk of choice
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1/2 teaspoon ground mahleb
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cups white sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting/coating
  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Measure the milk in a liquid measure and add all remaining liquid ingredients, adding vinegar first to curdle the milk. 
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the dry ingredients except powdered sugar and blend until the nuts have been pulverized and the mixture looks uniform. 
  4. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients, alternatively blend the dry and the wet by hand in another bowl. Immediately spoon the mixture into the prepared doughnut pan. The batter is thick, just divide it among the six holes, placing it directly on the middle hole, use a finger to push it off the middle 'hole' spot and smooth it a bit to fill them evenly.
  5. Bake 15-16 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, turn the doughnuts out onto a cooling rack and immediately place them bottom sides up back into the doughnut pan. The middles may have baked over the hole section of the pan a bit, but carefully just press them back down into the pan, remove any extra crumb/clumps from the middles. Flipping them during the baking process crisps up the bottoms and gives them an overall better doughnut form.  Return them to the oven and bake until they begin to develop a golden color, approximately 5-6 minutes. 
  6. Remove to a cooling rack. 
  7. Once cool, coat in powdered sugar. Place powdered sugar in shallow bowl and press each doughnut in to coat both tops and bottoms, tapping away the excess. 
This recipe makes 6 doughnuts. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

VeganMac and Beans


This is one of the first vegan dishes my mother-in-law ever made when I joined the family. Back then I was not a vegetable eater and I didn't like my foods 'mixed' together, meat was here, potatoes there and never the two should meet. Soups used to kind of freak me out, and if the veggies were cut too big - no thanks! But as life would have it, I slowly learned to like my vegetables and dishes like this have a lot to do with that.

If you look at VeganMac as an adult, it may seem too simple, peasant food perhaps. However, if you see it through a child's eyes, while it has vegetables mixed together and touching each other, is not too foreign or colorful and there aren't too many unusual textures. With this theory in mind I asked my youngest what she thought of supper and her answer was just as I expected, "It's good, I like that there aren't too many things in it, like the beans are just regular, and everything else is cut up little, and the macaroni is the kind I like." VeganMac meets a kid's comfort level (or adults who have yet to mature into liking their vegetables.) It isn't fancy but it is satisfying, provides protein and is quick to throw together. I have had requests just for this type of meal, so here you have it:

VeganMac with Beans

1 pound cooked elbow macaronni (or pasta of choice)

4 Tablespoons margarine or olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/4 -1/2 cup vegetable broth, we use Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base
2 cans Great Northern beans (Or use dry beans: soak 1 lb of Great Northern beans overnight, then simmer slowly for 2 hours or until tender.)
2 medium tomatoes,chopped or 1 can petite diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Cook macaroni a minute shy of the recommended al dente instructions on the package. 
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat add oil and quickly saute garlic and onions to coat. 
  3. Add the carrots and vegetable broth, simmering over medium low heat until the carrots are cooked through. Combine beans and tomatoes, allowing everything to come up to heat.
  4. Add in all remaining ingredients along with the cooked macaroni, toss to coat and make sure everything is hot. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Quest: Vegan Doughnuts, Chocolate - Updated

Chocolate doughnut crumb improved with less fat.
As promised, I've taken some steps to cut the fat, slowly at first, since there are only two tablespoons of coconut oil in the recipe as it stands anyway, I thought cutting it in half seemed like the best place to start. So imagine my surprise when everyone proclaimed these the best doughnuts yet! That was rather exciting and good news for sure.

Each tablespoon of coconut oil has just over 13 grams of fat which works out to 2.3 grams per doughnut, but the bulk of the fat is coming from the pecans, where that 1/2 cup is responsible for 42.8 grams of fat in the entire recipe, or 7 grams of fat per doughnut. However, the fat in pecans is monounsaturated, which is considered one of the 'good fats' as documented here by the Mayo Clinic:
Monounsaturated fat. This is a type of fat found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
The pecans add other great nutrients to the mix too so I'm considering adding more pecans to potentially cut the coconut oil completely. In looking at nut options, it appears that walnuts at 6.8 grams provide the same fat content, but almonds are considerably less at 4.5 per serving for the same 1/2 cup in the current recipe. Unlike the coconut oil where all the fat is saturated, which is considered the 'bad fat', utilizing nuts to meet the fat requirements seems like the best direction. The next experiments should be interesting.

Today's chocolate doughnut experiment was very eye-opening for another reason, which had nothing to do with ingredients; but was revealed through technique. I started out using the VitaMix to pulverize the nuts, something I had not yet tried, and then proceeded to add the wet ingredients as usual. What happened next was rather shocking: the VitaMix failed to blend all the dry into the wet and even with stopping it several times to scrape down the sides, I never could get completely under the blade to incorporate the two. The batter was much thicker than usual, and since I had planned out this side-by-side comparison by apportioning each set of ingredients equally, I'm certain I did not make a mistake in measurements.

Not only were the blended ingredients too thick and goopey to get out of that deep container, but when baked they were dense and dry, not at all the crumb you see in the picture above. The kids still ate them of course (they were chocolate after all!)  But I really was surprised to see the VitaMix perform so poorly, since I have great success with it on every other task I've put before it. However I am a bit relieved too since taking the VitaMix out of the tool set makes this recipe more accessible to the average person.

Vegan Chocolate Doughnuts, Updated 


2 teaspoons vinegar
1 cup milk of choice (I use soy)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Measure out the milk in a liquid measure and add vinegar to curdle the milk, then add vanilla.
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the dry ingredients with the pecans and blend until the nuts have been pulverized and the mixture is uniform. Add the coconut oil and pulse to blend evenly. 
  4. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients and immediately spoon the mixture into the prepared doughnut pan. 
  5. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, carefully loosen the doughnuts and turn them over in the pan. The middles may have baked over the hole section of the pan, 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 another 5 minutes. The doughnuts should feel firm to the touch.
  6. Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack. 
  7. Frost doughnuts while still warm (see below.)
Chocolate Frosting: This makes a very small amount of frosting, exactly enough for a thin coat on 6 doughnuts, if you want a thicker frosting double the recipe and double dip each doughnut for a second coating.

1 1/2 Tablespoons milk of choice
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Microwave frosting ingredients in a microwave safe bowl 20-30 seconds. Stir until smooth and lightly frost each doughnut while still a bit warm, simply dip them tops down (the tops to me are the part that started out as the top when they first went into the oven) into the glaze and allow them to dry on a cooling rack.

This recipe makes 6 doughnuts. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Quest: Vegan Doughnuts, Wedding Cake

Vegan Wedding Cake Doughnuts

These may or may not be your idea of 'wedding cake' flavor. Essentially wedding cake is vanilla with a touch of almond, which is the flavor profile of these doughnuts, however the consistency is all doughnut, not a light, completely white interior, but a heavier more substantial crumb; exactly as a doughnut should be, or at least how I believe a doughnut should be.

Thus far my doughnut quest has not been geared toward making a lower fat doughnut, but simply in making a doughnut that is nutritious, filled with 'good' fats and made of real food. I am looking to provide the kids with a healthier alternative to a deep fried, sugar-soaked doughnut; one that provides them a little brain power to start the day. On this note I've been researching the nutritional breakdown of Dunkin Donuts (since it is easily available online here) and calculating how mine compare. I found SparksRecipes.com had a easy to use recipe calculator that helped put it all together. I chose Dunkin's Old Fashioned Donut to compare with my current recipe for 'Wedding Cake' doughnut:





The ingredients in the Old Fashioned according to the Dunkin Donut's website Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Enzyme, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm Oil, Skim Milk, Sugar, Water, Soybean Oil, Egg Yolks, Contains less than 2% of the following: Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Salt, Defatted Soy Flour, Soy Flour, Soy Lecithin, Wheat Starch, Konjac Flour, Wheat Germ, Carrageenan, Dextrose, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Enzyme Modified Egg Yolks, Gelatinized Wheat Starch, Colored with (Turmeric and Annatto Extracts, Beta Carotene), Defatted Wheat Germ.

I set about to look up all the ingredients because a few of them seemed pretty foreign, but most are pretty benign  albeit so far from any natural state through processing that I would be reluctant to ever recommend using 'gelatinized wheat starch', my initial reaction is not one of outrage that it has made it's way into a doughnut. However I included the link to the Wikipedia pages for a few of the ingredients above because I found them of interest; mostly from the "See what extra junk they add to a doughnut to make it last six hours on a shelf?" point of view. No thanks.

I'm honestly not thrilled with the total fat content of my doughnuts, I'd like to try to cut that down a bit, so future recipes will experiment with less oil, because even though beating the big chain by less than half, somehow I think I can do better.

This recipe is from two days of trials. Each time I let the batter rest in the fridge, the first day for an hour or more, and the second day it sat overnight and I baked them the next day. The recipes were exactly the same except for the sugar content. The first evening I added 1/3 cup sugar, but the kids felt these could use a little more sweetness, I however thought they were great just the way they were. The next day I upped the sugar to 1/2 cup and they felt that was an improvement. I wasn't impressed, and I think either the stay overnight in the fridge or the added sugar made the crumb just a bit heavier, so you can decide for yourself how much sugar you want to add on this one while I continue to work it out for myself. If you don't have the ground flax seed, don't fret, you can leave it out as I'm not seeing a significant change in texture when it is added.  I'd love to hear your thoughts, don't hesitate to leave a comment below!


Vegan Wedding Cake Doughnuts


2 teaspoons vinegar
1 cup milk of choice (I use soy)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole oven-roasted almonds
3 tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
1/3 or 1/2 cups white sugar (see note above)
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. Measure the milk in a liquid measure and add all remaining liquid ingredients, adding vinegar first to curdle the milk. 
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the dry ingredients and blend until the nuts have been pulverized and the mixture looks uniform. Add the coconut oil and pulse to blend evenly. 
  4. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients and immediately spoon the mixture into the prepared doughnut pan. They can be placed in the fridge at this point to rest and bake later/in the morning.
  5. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, turn the doughnuts out onto a cooling rack and immediately place them bottom sides up back into the doughnut pan. The middles may have baked over the hole section of the pan a bit, but carefully just press them back down into the pan, remove any extra crumb/clumps from the middles. Flipping them during the baking process crisps up the bottoms and gives them an overall better doughnut form.  Return them to the oven and bake until they begin to develop a rich golden color, approximately 6 minutes. 
  6. Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack. 
  7. Once cool, glaze (see below) and enjoy.
Glaze the doughnuts with 3/4 cup powdered sugar, a 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 1/2 tablespoons of milk (I use soy.)  The consistency should be only a bit thicker than the milk when done, allowing the doughnuts to be dipped in and left to dry to get that nice crackling glaze finish. 

This recipe makes 6 doughnuts. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Quest: Vegan Doughnuts, Coconut Carrot Pecan Revisted


You know, I think I'm finally getting the wet to dry ratio worked out because I haven't had a failure since my first attempt at adding carrot. I suspect that one cup of flour is helping. I plan to test that and see how far I can push the nut mixture before we have breakdown again, but for now I'm focusing on success. I may be playing it a bit safe, but my family kind of likes doughnuts they can eat, and I prefer it too; the ones that are too messed up to even consume are a bit disheartening.

So this is a quest, not every doughnut is perfection just yet, I'm still working it out, but you know, these were pretty tasty! The kids in the house that like coconut said they thought they were good, but now all I hear is "but the chocolate is better", well you don't say? Imagine that, the kids like chocolate the best. Well, I'm not out just to make a great chocolate doughnut, I want to make all kinds of great vegan doughnuts, so the kids are going to have to eat a few other flavors. Can you even imagine the suffering going on at my house? It is rough.

I think these are a tiny bit too moist, which is hard to hit just right when dealing with carrot since the size of the carrot is going to vary, and perhaps it is the inclusion of the carrot that makes these more moist in the first place? I'll have to test that out. I made these for an after school snack and the kids and I agreed that the sweetness level was just right.

Since we do have two in the house that won't eat coconut, I had two doughnuts leftover for my breakfast this morning. I had only intended to eat one, but it was so good that I ended up finishing them both off. I don't even have guilt, not with the great fiber, reduced sugar, and carrot in there. They were easily as good or better this morning than they were last night (perhaps they dried out a bit?) I'm going to be making these again, I've got some ideas for tiny improvements. I'd love to hear what you think!

Vegan Coconut Carrot Pecan Doughnuts



3/4 cup milk of choice
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1 medium-sized carrot, cleaned, ends trimmed, cut into 3-4 pieces
1/4 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 liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, vinegar, and vanilla, set aside. 
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, combine the pecans, coconut, carrots, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Blend until everything has been completely pulverized and the mixture looks uniform. Add the coconut oil and pulse to blend evenly. 
  4. Slowly pour in the liquid, blending it into the dry ingredients. Immediately spoon the mixture into the prepared doughnut pan. 
  5. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, carefully turn the doughnuts out onto a cooling rack, turn them over so that the top side is now down and place them back in the pans. The middles may have baked over the hole section a bit, but carefully press them back into the mold, don't fret if a bit of crumb is pushed up in the center, simply remove it with a knife or your finger. Turning them in this manner helps to crisp 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, 5-7 minutes. 
  6. Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack. 
  7. Once cool, glaze and apply coconut (see below) and enjoy. 

Glaze doughnuts with 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 1/2 Tablespoons soy milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Combine the ingredients in small (cereal-sized) bowl. Place 1/2 cup coconut in a second bowl. The glaze 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. Dip each doughnut in the glaze and then hold it over the coconut bowl and apply the coconut (dipping in to the coconut didn't give me good coverage) by evenly sprinkling it over the doughnut, allowing the bowl to catch the excess. 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.

Vegan Tuscan Bean Stew


Tuscan bean stew is another of my mother-in-law's famous dishes. She vegan-ized a Cook's Illustrated recipe of the same name that features pancetta by substituting Bacos for that smokey flavor, and it has since become one of our favorites. What is even more amazing is that my kids have actually requested this dish (honestly we all think it is really bizarre, they ask for a bean dish with kale in it?!) If they can get past the beans, the onions, and the kale to enjoy the flavor? Well you know it must be good!

Serving this stew over bread makes it particularly satisfying. A toasted slice of sourdough adds a nice bit of complexity in both flavor and texture; we serve it right on the toast, not as accompaniment. This is a beautiful, hearty vegan dish loaded with smokey buttery beans and nutrient rich kale that sticks to your ribs and is perfect for those chilly winter months. It is also nice to serve to crowd since serving it over the bread somehow elevates it beyond a standard bean soup while the beautiful colors of the kale and tomato give the illusion of gourmet flare. 

Vegan Tuscan Bean Soup

table salt
1 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 teaspoons Bacos
1 large onion, chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 cups vegetable broth, we use Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 bunch kale or collard greens (about 1 pound), stems trimmed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups loosely packed)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
ground black pepper

8 slices sourdough bread, each 1 1/4 inches thick, toasted and rubbed with garlic clove (optional)

  1. In a large bowl or container, add 3 tablespoons salt to 4 quarts water and stir until dissolved. Add the beans and leave them to soak overnight (8 to 24 hours) at room temperature. Soaking overnight greatly enhances the  creaminess of the beans in the final dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. 
  3. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the Bacos and toss, immediately add onion, celery and carrots. Cook until very soft and a little browned, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans (drained of soaking liquid.) Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven and cook until beans are almost tender, center of bean will still be a little firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  5. Remove from oven and add greens and tomatoes. Return to oven and cook until beans are tender, another 30-40 minutes. 
  6. Remove pot from the oven and submerge rosemary sprig in the soup. Let stand off heat for 15 minutes, then remove and discard rosemary and bay leaves. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with/over garlic toasts.

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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