How much do I love my boyfriend? Well, enough to make him doughnuts, and that’s no small feat. A couple of years ago, Vegetarian Times came out with an issue featuring vegan doughnuts. And, if you’re not vegan, it would be hard for me to explain how amazing that is. The idea of making vegan doughnuts at home was mind-blowing to us. Especially Jason, who loves doughnuts more than, well, just about anything. So, we tried; we made some yeast-risen jelly doughnuts. They tasted OK, but they were the ugliest things we’d ever seen. I wish I had pictures.
Anyway, most of the recipes in the VT article called for a mini doughnut pan. Oh that most elusive kitchen tool. The article was like, “Go to any Target and pick one up. No big thing. La la la.” Well, needless to say, Target didn’t have them (and yes, all you concerned gays out there, we are boycotting Target now. But this was in the good old days of consumer ignorance). And so began the epic quest to find a doughnut pan.
Literally a year later, while we were living in our van in California, we found a mini doughnut pan at a thrift store for probably 75¢. We debated buying it all afternoon, because we were so poor. We finally broke down and got it. Here it is:
So we finally tried a cake doughnut recipe from VT, and (cue the trumpet fanfare) it . . . was . . . OK. It wasn’t terrible, it just tasted more like cake than anything. Which, duh. But I mean, it didn’t taste like a cake doughnut, it just tasted like a dense cupcake in the shape of a doughnut. What to do? Well, I decided that what the doughnuts were missing was fat. Lots and lots and lots of fat. So, today I experimented with the recipe again today. Here’s what I came up with.
Ian’s Vegan Doughnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain soy milk
1/3 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
2 tablespoons cold water
Canola oil for cooking
Powdered sugar for coating
So you’re going to:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat doughnut pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine soy milk, chocolate chips, and margarine in a saucepan, and warm until chocolate and margarine are just melted. Set aside to cool. With a fork in a small bowl, whisk egg replacer with water in small bowl for two whole minutes, until it’s super-foamy. Whisk this mixture, the vinegar, and the vanilla extract into soy milk mixture.
3. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in large bowl.
4. Add the cooled soy milk mixture, and stir thoroughly to combine. The mixture will be VERY thick, almost resembling cookie dough.
4. Fill each doughnut mold half full with batter. Bake 12 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer doughnuts to wire rack to cool, and repeat with remaining batter. They’ll look more or less like this.
5. Now here comes the fun part. Get out a cast iron skillet (0r any really heavy bottomed pan), and add 1 1/2 inches of canola oil to it. Place pan over medium heat, and heat oil to 350ºF. You get bonus points if your bottle of oil is this big or bigger:
6. Oh so much canola oil. Mmmmmm . . . Where were we? Oh, right. Let’s deep-fry. So, when your oil is hot enough, turn the heat down to medium-low and check the temperature pretty often. If it gets too hot, it’ll burn your doughnuts (and your fingers — take it from one who knows). If it gets too cool, the doughnuts will end up all soggy with oil, which is so gross.
7. So drop your doughnuts into the oil, about four at a time. Fry them on one side for twenty to thirty seconds, flip and repeat. Your donuts should not stay in the oil for more than about a minute, or they will get all burnt.
8. Remove the doughnuts from the oil and immediately drain on lots of paper bags, newspaper, or paper towels. Yeah, I love the earth too, but you can’t avoid this step. You could drain them on cloth towels, I guess. They will just get really stained.
9. Repeat with all of your doughnuts. Allow to cool completely.
10. Now that your doughnuts are all cool, place a few at a time into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Add about 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, place the lid firmly on the container, and very gently shake until your doughnuts are covered all over. It’s important to wait until they are cooled, or the sugar will get all gummy. It doesn’t taste bad, but it doesn’t look very good, either. If it happens, you can always re-coat them after they have cooled more. You can see in my pictures that I didn’t wait long enough for the first ones, but they still tasted great.
Now, I know you drank your green smoothies all through January, everybody’s proud of you. But now it’s March, and it’s cold and rainy and you need some comfort food. So do yourself a favor and go deep-fry some doughnuts. You’ll thank me.