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.
Espresso Glazed Vegan Donuts (No Pan Required)
- 2 cups soymilk (I used light vanilla)
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or agave*
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups flour (give or take)
- 1 shot quality espresso or strong coffee (1 shot equals 2-3 Tbsp)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
STREUSEL TOPPING* (optional)
- 3-4 Tbsp vegan butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp 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 degrees F / 43 C (30 minutes)
- Once cooled, stir in yeast and let set for 5-10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add flour (starting with lesser end of range) and salt, then add to 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 flour (1/2 cup as original recipe is written // 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 degrees F (176 C) 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.
*For the streusel, you want a crumbly texture but not too dry or buttery. So add brown sugar and flour accordingly until you achieve your desired texture.
*Poking a hole in the middle of the donuts is optional for a more 'traditional' appearance, but I opted to not.
*Questions about substitutions, equipment, or troubleshooting? Check out our Recipe FAQ page.
*Adapted from namely marley.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with glaze and streusel topping.
Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)
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.