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Vegan Apple Cider Doughnuts! (Some Tips & Pointers)

November 23, 2011

Ooooh yeahhhh.

Here’s something for all you Tim Hortons people: homemade, vegan Apple Cider Doughnuts! This past weekend I was hard at work in my kitchen cooking up the perfect recipe, and although I can’t say I’ve exactly reached it yet, I have come up with something pretty good, and before I put on another five pounds eating all this surplus, I’m going to take a break from the doughnut-making and share my preliminary results with you.

My doughnut escapades all started a couple weeks ago, when I stumbled upon this Apple Pumpkin Spice Doughnut recipe from Vegan Dad. It didn’t take long before I was trying these out for myself, and let me tell you: they’re fantastic! But they also got me thinking back to my childhood and the locally made apple cider doughnuts I so enjoyed. You see, I grew up down the street from an apple orchard, which sold, along with lots of local apples and other produce, doughnuts made with their very own apple cider. They were delicious, and one of those fond food memories I’ll probably never forget. They’re not very vegan, though! And that’s where I step in, tackling the difficult task of veganizing this childhood treat.

It took a few tries to end up with something I was happy with. I first tried a replica of Vegan Dad’s recipe, subbing in some reduced apple cider for the pumpkin puree and making a simple apple cider-based icing. These turned out very good texturally (soft and doughy inside, nice and crispy on the outside, as they should be), but they didn’t really taste like apple cider (at least in the dough), so it was back to the drawing board!

For my second attempt, I tried adapting and veganizing this basic Allrecipes recipe, subbing in reduced apple cider for the milk. The dough ended up tasting a lot more like apple cider this time, but it didn’t rise at all, making for a disappointingly dense interior. These were definitely my worst batch (though that’s not to say I didn’t eat them all), and so it was back to the drawing board again!

For my last trial, I worked off of this Apple Cider Doughnut recipe from Coconut & Lime. Texturally these turned out the best, even though I still couldn’t get the dough to rise. The apple cider flavour in the dough was still minimal, but that might’ve been because I used straight instead of reduced apple cider. Oh well. Thankfully doughnuts are always delicious, no matter how they turn out.

I’m still not ready to post a vouched-for apple cider doughnut recipe here, but I will share some general guidelines and tips for all you eager bakers out there. And trust me, I will be continuing my search for the perfect recipe, and once I’ve found it, you’ll be sure to hear about it first here.

Vegan Apple Cider Doughtnuts: Some Tips & Pointers

The first thing you’ll need to have is a doughnut cutter! This is just a cookie cutter for doughnuts (Torontonians, I found mine at that wondrous kitchen warehouse known as Tap Phong) and it looks like this:

If you don’t have and can’t acquire a doughnut cutter, I am told that you can also get by using two appropriately sized round cookie cutters. And if you haven’t two appropriately sized round cookie cutters, I’m pretty sure you could get by using a coffee cup and a shot glass. (If anyone actually tries this option, I want to hear about it and I want pictures. I will trade you high fives.)

Once you have your doughnut cutting implements in order, you’ll want to start making your dough. I’d recommend following either Vegan Dad’s or Coconut & Lime’s recipe. If using Vegan Dad’s, make the following substitution:

  • Instead of ⅔ cup pumpkin puree, use ½ cup of reduced apple cider, made by simmering 2 cups of normal apple cider on the stovetop for about 20 to 30 minutes.

And if using Coconut & Lime’s, make these substitutions:

  • First, some standard vegan substitutions: soy or almond milk for the cow’s milk; 3 flax eggs (3 tbsp flaxseed meal + 9 tbsp water, ideally heated over the stovetop) for the chicken eggs; canola oil for the butter.
  • You may want to use reduced apple cider in place of normal apple cider here as well; I didn’t, but it’ll only make your dough more flavourful.

With either recipe, after you’ve got your dough together, you’ll want to let it sit in a covered and oiled bowl for about an hour to an hour and a half. Hopefully you’ll get it to rise some, but I didn’t have such luck.

After it’s sat, roll out the dough to about a half inch thick and then cut out your doughnut, saving the doughnut holes (a.k.a. Timbits) as well. You’ll have to reroll the dough a couple times to get the maximum number of doughnuts! I got about nine out of the Vegan Dad recipe and over a dozen from the Coconut & Lime recipe. Once you have all your doughnuts cut out, lay them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet like so and let sit for about thirty minutes, covered with plastic wrap:

Now you’re ready to fry! Find your smallest pot, fill with an inch and a half to two inches of canola oil, and heat this up. If you have a candy thermometer, I’m told you want the oil to register at about 350°F. If you’re like me and don’t have such a luxury, just let it heat up for a while, and let stick a doughnut hole in there and see what happens. Once it looks like it’s nicely and rapidly frying, your oil is probably around the right temperature, and you’re ready to begin!

Carefully slide one doughnut into the pot of oil; it will begin to fry almost instantaneously. You will probably want to flip it after about 30 seconds or so to make sure the other side is evenly fried, and after about a minute total (or whenever the doughnut looks nicely golden) it’s ready to come out! (You’re going to want some sort of flat ladle-like implement for this job, both for dropping in and fishing out.)

Place fried doughnuts on a drying rack with some paper towels below to catch any excess oil. Let cool, and then get back to frying the rest of your doughnuts! (The doughnut holes work similarly, but take even less time.)

For my topping, I’ve been enjoying this icing which is made by simply adding about a tablespoon of apple cider to ½ cup of icing sugar and whisking it all together. Spoon icing on top of doughnuts and spread around to cover the top. As icing cools, it will become a hardened glaze (sorry this isn’t pictured better in the photographs).

These doughnuts are definitely best eaten right after frying. If eaten even the day after, I’d recommend heating them up in a toaster oven a bit first to crisp them up and take away some of the sogginess. These doughnuts also freeze well, in case you won’t be able to—or want to restrain yourself from—eating them all in one day.

I hope you guys enjoy these! Like I said, I’m going to keep working on my doughnut recipe, and I hope to have something definitive to share with y’all soon. Until then, happy eating!

Until we eat again,

Willie

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One comment

  1. Yummy! Thanks for posting this great recipe and thanks for the pointers 😀



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