Thursday, November 1, 2012
VEGAN SWEET POTATO YEAST DOUGHNUTS
I always make doughnuts for my granddaughters on Halloween-- it's a once-a-year ritual. I usually make quick drop doughnuts with a yeast batter, but this year I decided to make cut-out doughnuts. I had some sweet potato that needed to be used, so I reworked an old recipe for non-vegan doughnuts made with a potato dough. The dough didn't turn out as colorful as I'd hoped, but the doughnuts were delicious, and not even greasy. The girls lined up in their costumes (a zebra, a sock monkey, a devil, a skeleton, and a pig!) to fill their paper bags with the fresh, aromatic doughnuts, with a bag for Dad, too (much appreciated).
They trooped off for more trick-or-treating and fireworks at the Community Hall, and Nonna's duty-- a precious one-- was done for another year. Yes, we ate a few, but DH took the remainder to his son's house the next day to take temptation out from under out noses!
Doughnuts are not really hard to make, so don't worry if you've never attempted them before. Read the recipe through and organize yourself (as suggested in the recipe text) before you start so that the process will go smoothly. You can make the dough the day before and refrigerate it until you are ready to roll out and cut. This actually makes the soft dough easier to cut and handle. You can use an electric fryer if you have one, or an electric wok, which is shallower, and so will use less oil. Because I hate wasting all that oil, I use a flat-bottomed wok on the burner, with a candy thermometer, and use only about 4 inches of oil.
BRYANNA’S VEGAN SWEET POTATO YEAST DOUGHNUTS
(With Maple Glaze or Cinnamon Sugar) UPDATED Dec. 6, 2013
Makes 50 doughnuts (more or less)
TIP: You can make the dough the day before and refrigerate it until you are ready to roll out and cut. This actually makes the soft dough easier to cut and handle.
1 packet instant baking yeast OR 1 tablespoon dry active baking yeast
2 1/2 cups warm plain original soy, hemp or almond milk
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato (orange flesh)
1/2 cup oil or softened vegan butter (try my homemade palm oil-free Buttah)
1/2 cup granulated light organic sugar
3 cups unbleached white flour
Egg Replacer— Options are a.)1 tsp. the VEGG beaten with 1/4 cup water;
or b.) 1 tablespoon golden flax seed blended until “gloppy” with 1/4 cup water
3/4 tablespoon salt
1/2 to 1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg
3 cups additional unbleached white flour
Cinnamon Sugar (I use this for the holes and the scraps, which are fried into “squigglies”):
1 cup granulated light organic sugar mixed with
2 to 4 tablespoons cinnamon
Mix 2 cups organic powdered sugar with
about 6 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
until no lumps are left. Adjust thickness as needed. It should be a bit runny.
Sprinkle the yeast into the warm milk in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Let stand about 5 minutes. Add the mashed sweet potato, oil, sugar and first 3 cups of flour. Beat for a minute or so, cover and let stand 20 minutes. Add the egg replacer, salt and spices and begin beating in the second 3 cups of flour.
If you are using a stand mixer, knead for about 8 minutes according to your machine’s directions. If kneading by hand, knead for 8 minutes on a lightly-floured baking mat or a large piece of baking parchment. Use as little flour as possible. A little more flour may be needed, but dough should be soft. Oil your hands rather than flouring them. The kneaded dough should be satiny.
Place the dough in a bowl large enough for the dough to double and let rise in a warm place until doubled. At this point, if you are making it ahead, you can punch down the dough, cover it well and refrigerate the dough for 8-12 hours.
Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking parchment to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut out the doughnuts with a special doughnut cutter, or use a 3.5-inch cutter and then cut a center hole out with a 1-inch cutter. Place the doughnut rings and holes on baking parchment-lined trays (or simply on parchment-lined counters) and let rise until not quite doubled—30-45 minutes. Do not re-roll the scraps! You can cut “holes” out of the larger scraps, or just use long pieces of dough scraps to fry into what I call “squigglies” (see photos).
You can use an electric fryer if you have one, or an electric wok, which is more shallow, and so will use less oil. I use a flat-bottomed wok on the burner, with a candy thermometer, and use only about 4 inches of oil.
Prepare everything for frying, draining and glazing before you start frying! Wear an apron, tie your hair back and roll up your sleeves. Have ready: 2 large trays lined with several layers of paper towels (or use old brown paper bags) for draining; a metal skimmer or a slotted spoon; the Maple Glaze and Cinnamon Sugar in shallow bowls for dipping; cake racks on trays for the glazed doughnuts.
Fry the risen doughnuts in batches in the hot oil (375ºF)—don’t crowd them. Fry the doughnuts (fry rings, holes and scraps separately from each other), turning them occasionally with a metal skimmer or a metal slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch of rings; 1 minute per batch of holes or scraps. Transfer the fried dough shapes to paper towel-lined baking trays to drain. (Return the oil to 375°F between batches.) When the doughnuts are drained and still hot, dip one side in the Maple Glaze to coat, or roll the holes and “squigglies” in cinnamon sugar. Place them on cake racks over baking trays.
You can eat these warm or store in paper bags for a day or so after they are cool.
NOTE: You can even make these doughnuts without the 2nd rising (after cutting) if you are in a hurry. They won’t be quite as tender, but they will puff up quite nicely!