Okay, yes: butter makes things taste good. Eggs make things light and delicious. Regardless, the lovely Ben and I decided to go vegan last year in response to the poor treatment of animals in food production and concerns about the impact of factory farming on the environment. Ben has done better at this than I have; at this point, he’s hardcore. I learned a few months ago that I have thyroid issues that increase my sensitivity to gluten and soy, so I added locally produced eggs and fish to my diet. Since when I’m baking it’s typically for both of us, however, I tend to stick with vegan recipes — and have been super excited with the results. I thought since we’re celebrating the holidays here, I would talk a little about the intricacies of vegan baking, and include one of my very favorite recipes: vegan pumpkin donuts.
The biggest issue with vegan baking is figuring out how to get moistness and texture into a recipe with neither eggs nor butter. To accomplish this, there are several ways to go. You can make what are known as flax eggs, made from ground flax seed and water; you can use vegan butter, coconut oil, pumpkin, banana, or apple sauce… I’m sure there are other options out there, but these are my personal favorites. In this particular recipe, pumpkin and coconut oil achieve the desired results quite well.
I adapted this recipe from one I found at Persnickety Plates, and absolutely love it – I’ve tried others, but they never come out as well as this. So, without further ado… Let’s jump in.
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons canned organic pumpkin
1/2 cup almond or soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon, mixed well
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray donut pan with cooking spray. If you’re going with the whole vegan theme, make sure you choose a non-butter spray (canola oil works well).
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together wet ingredients: coconut oil, pumpkin, non-dairy milk, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Whisk well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Now comes the tricky part, because even if you’re using coconut oil that’s at room temperature, it gets super clumpy when mixed with cool ingredients like almond milk. So, take your wet ingredients and warm them for 25 to 30 seconds in the microwave (make sure they’re not in a metal bowl when you do this – because I have done that. Trust me, it doesn’t work out well). Mix well to get rid of lumps.
- Add wet ingredients in with dry, and stir well. When done, you should have a fairly wet batter. A really, really tasty batter – and because there are no raw eggs, you don’t have to worry about poisoning yourself if you’d like to snag a bite. Go, vegans!
- Now that you have your delicious batter, it’s time to make the donuts. The original recipe I went by says you can just use a Ziploc bag with one of the corners snipped off rather than a pastry bag, but after doing this half a dozen times and getting myself completely covered in donut batter, I splurged and bought a 16″ Wilton decorating bag at Jo Ann’s. It was totally worth it. Whether you’re using a Ziploc baggie or going all in with a decorating bag of your very own, do what you need to to get your batter into the donut pan, filling about 3/4 of the way.
- Use a small spatula to smooth batter out in each receptacle to avoid wonky-looking donuts.
- Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, then remove to cool.
- While donuts are cooling slightly, mix your cinnamon sugar. Then, remove donuts, dip in the cinnamon sugar, and plate. Or devour, depending on your preference – they’re pretty amazing while still warm. And that, my friends, is how to make vegan pumpkin donuts. Historically, they’ve always been a hit when I’ve made them – even with non-vegans! Add to that the fact that they’re simple to make and take very little time, and they make a great addition to any holiday spread. Whether you choose to make these, use your own recipes, or order out for pizza and Holy Donuts, I wish you all the best this Christmas. I’ll see you guys next year!
Jen Blood is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Erin Solomon mysteries and the Flint K-9 mysteries. Learn more and sign up to receive your complimentary Jen Blood starter library at www.jenblood.com.