Being a baker is serious work. The precise measurements, complex ingredients and stacks of complicated equipment can make the task seem too much worth the effort at times. But if you’re like me, that’s half the fun. And tasting the final product makes it all worth it.
And, if you’re like me, you also don’t bother with all the extras, i.e. piping bags, frosting tips, Kitchenaid mixers, quesadilla makers, panini presses, emulsifiers, popover molds, culinary torches, etc., etc. You stick to the basics and make it work, just like any real ‘Merican baker would. Plus, who has space for all that junk anyways? Not I. Not little ‘ol minimalist I.
Something I’ve strongly considered buying multiple times in the past is a donut pan. Everyone has one, they’re all the rage, they make beautiful donuts, and they allow you to skip the frying process and opt for baking instead, which is obviously way healthier than drowned in oil.
But you know what? I really hate buying things, especially unnecessary things like pans that can only do one thing and take up a crapload of space. Just this week I had cooking spray on my grocery list but passed it up because it was $3 instead of the normal $1.50. Yeah, nevermind – didn’t need it that bad. So you can imagine I ruled out a donut pan for the same reasons.
But then there’s the fact that I’m a donut lover, so what do I do with that? (maple long johns anyone?)
I’ll tell you what you do with that. When you love something you find a way to get it, see it, make it, find it, do it. So that’s just what I did. I crafted a recipe that a) didn’t require a donut pan, b) maintained its vegan composure, and c) tasted lip-smacking delicious. And? It’twas a success.
- 2 cups soymilk (I used light vanilla)
- ¼ cup oil
- ⅓ cup maple syrup or agave*
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4-4.5 cups flour (give or take)
- ESPRESSO GLAZE:
- 1 shot quality espresso or strong coffee (2-3 T)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- STREUSEL TOPPING: (optional)
- 3-4 Tablespoons butter (non-dairy for vegan)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons flour
- Bring soy milk, oil, maple syrup or agave, and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan.
- Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm or 110 F (30 minutes)
- Once cooled, stir in yeast and let set for 5-10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add 4 cups of flour, then add wet mixture and stir, mixing well, then covering with a towel and letting rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Once doubled in size, add the remaining ½ cup of flour, (or until the dough is no longer incredibly sticky). Mix well and then let the dough sit for about 10 minutes.
- On a floured surface make about 2-inch balls and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving room for expansion.
- Preheat oven to 350 and cover with light towel while warming.
- Once preheated, bake for 10-11 minutes, being careful not to over bake as you don’t want the bottoms too brown.
- Prepare glaze and streusel while baking. Once donuts are done, let them cool slightly and then dunk in glaze and cover with streusel. I put the streusel on both top and bottom, and would recommend it for best flavor.
- Serve immediately for best result, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 days.
*Poking a hole in the middle of the donuts is optional for a more ‘traditional’ appearance, but I opted to not.
*Add more maple syrup or agave to achieve a sweeter donut, but I didn’t want mine to be overboard.
Wow, these donuts were incredible. Soft and pillowy with a coffee-spiked sweetness and crumbly streusel topping. I think I’m in love. This only marks the beginning of my no-pan donut baking adventures, but I consider this a stellar first attempt.