Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cake Doughnuts (Dairy-Free!)

My kids are sensitive to dairy - it upsets their tummies :( When we are out and they see doughnuts, they always ask for them, but I have to tell them no because many doughnut recipes use milk (and it's hard to tell just by looking at them). Today I decided to figure out how to adapt a simple cake doughnut recipe to avoid dairy products; the results were quite tasty so I'm documenting them here!

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (plus additional flour for dusting the work surface and tools)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk* (if using unsweetened milk, add 1 additional tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup melted stick margarine for baking*
  • 1 gallon of peanut or vegetable oil for frying

*If you prefer dairy in your pastries: use 1 cup buttermilk instead of the almond milk and lemon juice; use butter instead of stick margarine.

If you have a deep fryer, you can load it up with oil and start it heating to 375 degrees. Otherwise place the oil in a large heavy pot and insert a fry thermometer; don't heat the oil on the stove now unless you have someone to watch it for you - it should not exceed 375 degrees and you will be busy with the dough for a while.

Measure the almond milk in a 2-cup measure and stir in the lemon juice. Let it sit for a few minutes to make almond "buttermilk." In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and nutmeg until evenly distributed. Whisk together almond milk mixture, sugar, egg, and melted margarine in a separate mixing bowl until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. It will probably be pretty wet. If you are going to cook on the stove, start heating the oil now.

Turn out onto a well-floured work surface (I like to use a silicone rolling mat) and work enough flour into the dough to make it dry enough to roll out into a 3/4 inch thick sheet. Using a large (3-inch) biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut into rounds. Then use a small biscuit cutter (also floured) to cut out the holes. 

When the oil is between 360 and 375 degrees, start cooking the doughnuts two or three at a time (don't crowd the pot, it will make the oil temp drop too much). Be very careful not to splash the doughnuts into the oil or you will need treatment for burns! Fry for 1-2 minutes until golden brown before flipping with tongs or wooden chopsticks. Cook the other side until it is equally golden brown before removing the doughnuts to a sheet pan with a cooling rack set on top. Let them drain and cool on the rack for a couple of minutes before glazing or frosting with your favorite toppings. 

When the last cut doughnuts from the first batch are frying, collect up the scraps of dough and re-roll for a second batch. You should be able to get 8-10 doughnuts from this recipe, depending on if you roll up the holes with the scraps or cook them alongside the doughnuts.