Sunday, May 12, 2013

Quest: Vegan Doughnuts Cherry Almond with Almond Glaze


This doughnut quest is so much more fun when the doughnuts turn out great and this batch was definitely one of the great ones. I made these just before the kids got home from school and they were consumed in just minutes. The critic's reviews were all high marks with comments like "These are the perfect amount of cherry, not too much, just like a hint without being all you can taste" ~ Emi, age 8.

I have been trying to cut the batter quantity back a bit because friends were reporting to me that they had batter leftover or were making as many as 3 more doughnuts than I was with my recipe for six. All this time I thought I had the Wilton brand doughnut pans, but after purchasing a third pan to expand my capacity, I realized I didn't have the Wilton at all, I am pretty certain I have the Norpro (they have no name on them, and I stored them for years before ever using them.)

Immediately I could see why friends were having issues with the batter quantity, it is obvious the Wilton pans have a smaller well. How much smaller? Well, the Norpro's middle section rises to the same height as the outside well walls and measuring the liquid capacity when filled all the way to the top it comes to 1/2 cup.  In contrast the Wilton pans are just as deep, but the middle section is much lower, not at an even height with the outside well walls and only holds only 1/4 cup before it would cover the middle hole. The Wilton's pan design is short-sighted in my opinion, and if I was designing my own pan I would insist that the 'hole' actually be higher than those outside walls since the batter inevitably bakes over the middle nearly every time. The Wilton pans must do this a lot, how irritating.

So then I'm left pondering...is a doughnut a doughnut without the hole? The philosophical ramifications of doughnut baking, who would have thought? I admit, I have not yet baked in the Wilton, so further testing is needed. For now, I leave you with this fabulous cherry doughnut recipe which makes just a bit less batter, hopefully better for you Wilton pan owners.

Dried Sour Cherry with Almond Glaze 

2/3 cups milk of choice (I used almond)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

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

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Measure the milk in a liquid measure, add remaining liquid flavorings.
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the dry ingredients except the dried cherries and blend until the nuts have been pulverized and the mixture looks uniform. 
  4. Add the sour cherries and pulse only 2-3 times to break up the cherries into smaller pieces, but do not completely pulverize the cherries.
  5. Pour out the dry mix into a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix the wet into the dry by hand to keep from cutting the cherries up further. 
  6. 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.
  7. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, loosen the middles which may stick just a bit, with a fork before carefully 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. 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 4 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.
  8. Once cool, glaze doughnuts (below).
Almond glaze:
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons milk of choice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Stir until well combined and then dip in each doughnut. This mixture should be thin enough that it sticks to the doughnut but not so thin that it all drips off. 

This recipe makes 6 doughnuts.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Quest: Vegan Almond Coconut Cake Doughnut with Coconut Glaze


I've been on a bit of a coconut flavored doughnut kick lately since one can of coconut milk provides enough liquid for two experimental batches and each has met with high acclaim from taste-testers. I have not yet figured out if it is the coconut milk that is the key or simply that I've finally hit on the best possible wet/dry/levening ratio, but whatever the reason these are some of the best doughnuts I've made yet. There was an even split in the house over which of these batches were better; this one with white glaze or the previously posted version: Mounds Coconut Chocolate Vegan Doughnut. I guess you'll have to make both and decide for yourself.

These would be equally good without the chocolate chips, so if you are looking for a chocolate-free version, simply leave them out. The chocolate chips were added as a test to see how they bake up in the doughnut and if the quantity was appropriate for future recipes. My conclusion: yes, perfect.

Almond Coconut Cake Doughnut with Coconut Glaze

1/2 cup sweetened coconut, chopped fine

7 ounces coconut milk (1/2 can)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)

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

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
  2. In the bowl of the food processor, pulse the sweetened coconut a few times to chop fine (optional, but this makes for better adhesion to the glaze and a nicer presentation.) Transfer coconut to a shallow bowl or plate.
  3. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  4. Measure the milk in a liquid measure, add remaining liquid flavorings.
  5. 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. 
  6. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients, alternatively blend the dry and the wet by hand in a separate 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.
  7. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, loosen the middles which may stick just a bit, with a fork before carefully 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. 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 4 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.
  8. Once cool, glaze them (below) and sprinkle each with the chopped coconut.
Coconut glaze:
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons milk of choice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Stir until well combined and then dip in each doughnut. This mixture should be thin enough that it sticks to the doughnut but not so thin that it all drips off. Holding the glazed doughnut over the bowl of chopped coconut, sprinkle coconut so that any extra falls onto the plate below. Repeat until doughnut is evenly covered. 

This recipe makes 6 doughnuts.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Quest: Mounds Coconut Chocolate Vegan Doughnut



I'm on a roll with doughnut success, the last few batches have been absolutely fabulous. All of last week I experimented with different combinations of coconut ingredients and each time they were a terrific, developing a slightly crisp exterior with a perfectly doughnut-ty interior; which is heavier than cake but moist and totally addictive. These were instantly devoured by everyone. The fact that they had visible toasted almonds and coconut topping did not deter even my most nut-reluctant child. More impressive yet, this was the first batch that my mother-in-law asked me to repeat (she's had the "More doughnuts?!" opinion up until this point.)

One cup of nuts in each doughnut batch was depleting my supply, not to mention the cost, so I cut back in this batch wanting to stretch the last of my almonds to experiment with another recipe. The coconut milk (canned, unsweetened, not coconut cream) adds significant fat to the recipe so even with the lower almond content, these still have a high fat ratio, and honestly the crumb is perfect as a result. In the flavor department, there is little anyone could complain about with these baked vegan doughnuts, they really are outstanding!

Vegan Toasted Almond and Coconut Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts

1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sweetened coconut


7 ounces coconut milk (1/2 can)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)

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

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
  2. In the bowl of the food processor, pulse together the sliced almonds and sweetened coconut a few times to break them into smaller pieces. Remove from bowl and spread evenly into a shallow cake/pie tin to toast in the oven as doughnuts bake.
  3. Grease a non-stick doughnut pan with cooking spray. 
  4. Measure the milk in a liquid measure, add vanilla and coconut extract (if using.)
  5. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the remaining dry ingredients and blend until the nuts have been pulverized and the mixture looks uniform. 
  6. Slowly pour in the liquid to blend it into the dry ingredients, alternatively blend the dry and the wet by hand in a separate 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.
  7. Bake 13-14 minutes and remove the pan from the oven, loosen the middles which may stick just a bit, with a fork before carefully 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. 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 4 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.
  8. Toast the chopped coconut and almond mixture in the oven for a total of three minutes while the doughnuts bake. Watch carefully, they will burn easily, look for golden brown edges and remove. 
  9. Once cool, glaze them with chocolate glaze (below) and sprinkle each with the toasted coconut and almond topping. Repeat a layer of glaze over the nuts using a fork or spoon until no chocolate glaze remains. 
Chocolate glaze:
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons milk of choice
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Microwave all ingredients in a small microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir until well combined and then dip in each doughnut. This mixture should be thin enough that it sticks to the doughnut.

This recipe makes 6 doughnuts.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rhubarb Coffee Cake, Vegan (or Not)


I love rhubarb. My patch holds a bit of nostalgia as it is one I started from digging a clump or two from my grandparent's house. In the spring when I would go to visit, Grandpa used to pull it right out of the ground, cut off the 'root' and leaf, then sharing a small bowl of sugar between us we would dip the wet ends in and eat the stalks raw, wincing with each tart bite until a small pile of stalks were missing from Grandma's patch. She never seemed to mind, in fact, on pondering it I suspect she sent us out there, bowl of sugar in hand, just to get us out of the house.

Grandma always said rhubarb should not be eaten past the Fourth of July, that the poison in the leaves (never eat those) would travel down into the stem after the heat of summer came on and consuming it make you sick.  Turns out Grandma had that bit wrong, the stems are fine to eat all summer long, but they tend to get tough as they age, so we try to pick them regularly as the new shoots keep coming right up until frost. Rhubarb freezes perfectly; simply cut, bag, and throw into the freezer. Thaw before using (at least in this recipe or it can cause the cake to cook unevenly, as per firsthand experience.)

If you aren't vegan, and I am not always, simply use regular milk and sour it with the vinegar or switch both out for buttermilk if available. Add an egg if you desire, they do make for such a lovely binder. The recipe does hold together very well without the egg; however the rhubarb needs to be chopped into approximately 1/2 inch bite-sized pieces. Since the cake is loaded with rhubarb, if the chunks are too large the cake batter just can't support the weight and even an egg will have a hard time holding it all together.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake, Vegan (or Not)

 Crumb Topping:

4 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour

In a small bowl cut the butter into all the remaining crumb topping ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. Set aside

Cake: 

1 cup milk of choice
1 tablespoon vinegar 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups rhubarb, thawed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.
  2. Measure the milk into a one-cup liquid measure and add vinegar to sour and/or curdle it. Add the vanilla.
  3. Beat the the margarine, coconut oil, brown and white sugars with an electric mixer until light and well blended. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix lightly to incorporate and then blend with the milk mixture on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until well mixed. 
  4. Toss in the rhubarb and blend to combine with a spatula until evenly dispersed in the batter. 
  5. Immediately turn out batter into prepared baking dish and smooth to fill. 
  6. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly around top and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and cake bounces back to touch. Toothpick test is a harder gauge due to the rhubarb content. Err on the side of too done if in question since the cake is very moist and won't suffer from a bit of over-baking. 
  7. Allow to cool to serve as coffee cake, but it is equally delicious as a dessert served warm with a dollop of ice cream or your favorite dessert topping. Store leftovers in the fridge. 

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