VEGAN | WFPB | ONE BOWL | REFINED SUGAR-FREE | OIL-FREE | EASY
In the autumn and winter months, I want a cozy treat with those lovely pumpkin-spice vibes. I just do. How about you? I'm talking about that sit-by-the-fire-and-relax kind of vibe that can be recognized in the middle of an office kitchen, just from those flavors. A little feeling of calm in all the craziness. That's why I wanted to make these pumpkin chai spiced donuts. Something that could carry me through the seasons enjoying those flavors. Something that could be a treat and an actual real food choice at the same time. Can we truly have our donut and eat it, too? I knew they could be delicious baked and without refined sugar, but I also wanted to see if I could make them without oil. I know, right? Don't you have to spray the pan with oil? Well...
Sugar-free and oil-free? Really?
It did take some trial and error. Couldn't I just use cooking spray? Short answer: yes. Rubbing coconut oil in the pan would be even better - and still much less oil than a regular doughnut. But am I already getting enough fat in my day without adding straight fat? Uh, yeah. It was worth a shot to try making them completely oil-free. Luckily, I remembered that when I make pizza, I sprinkle some cornmeal under the dough to keep it from sticking. Why wouldn't something like that work here? I realized that the flour had such a wonderful aroma when I stirred all the spices in - wouldn't that be nice under the doughnut dough instead of just plain flour? Some flour from the pan was bound to stick to the donut after baking, so making it tasty seemed the wise choice. I figured I'd better try it before adding baking powder, which would bring some bitterness to the flour mix. Sprinkled dry flour would just slip around in the pan, but dampening a dishcloth and wiping down the donut molds was enough to make it stick. Yay! After baking, I held my breath as I began trying to remove the cooled donuts from the pan. Some minor sticking occurred, but I found that using a spatula easily separated the donut from the pan. Yay! Yay! It worked! Completely oil-free! OK, but what about the texture of the donut. Could it still be crisp? Is the donut satisfying without oil? I am happy to report that it is - the hemp seeds and flaxseed provide whole-food fat, so the donut doesn't seem too light (though of course lighter than a deep fried doughnut). And when using whole wheat pastry flour, there is some crispness. Yay! Yay! Yay!
If you peeked at the recipe, you probably noticed there are a lot of ingredients. Don't worry - most of them are spices. If you have a bulk spice section at your local grocer's, you should easily be able to get small portions of each spice. Can't find one or two? I suggest you make these donuts without them and see how you like them without those spices. If you have the primary spices - cinnamon and nutmeg - these donuts become spiced without the "chai". Still delicious, I imagine.
Donut Pan Steps
Cinnamon Vanilla Sprinkle Dust
By simply mixing pure, naturally-sweet vanilla powder with cinnamon, we have ourselves a "cinnamon sugar" without the sugar! Some vanilla powders have added ingredients, so if you want to make sure, check the label or ask at the source.
BAKED PUMPKIN CHAI SPICED DONUTS with
Cinnamon Vanilla Sprinkle Dust
YIELD: ONE DOZEN DONUTS PRINT
PREP: 10 MINUTES | BAKE: 22-25 MINUTES | COOL: 10 MINUTES
Date caramel sauce is so good on top of these donuts, as pictured throughout this post. I put it right over the sprinkle dust.
Note: Stirring in a pinch of cinnamon & cardamom gives the sauce more of that chai flavor. Leftover caramel sauce? It's wonderful on oatmeal, too.
EQUIPMENT NOTES: Requires two donut pans, each with 6-donut capacity. No electric mixer needed - just one large, wide-rimmed bowl for all mixing.
2 cups whole wheat pastry or oat flour for a gluten-free option
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon fennel powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon anise
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canned/cooked pumpkin
4 tablespoons plant-based milk
For sprinkled "sugar"dust:
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1. MIX MOST OF DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large, wide-rimmed bowl, place all the dry ingredients, flour-baking powder. Stir until well blended.
2. PREP DONUT PANS: For oil-free baking, dampen a clean dishcloth and rub the moist cloth over each part of the donut cavities in the mold. Sprinkle the flour mixture into each donut cavity. While holding the pan over the large bowl full of flour mix, tap the flour around each cavity until they are coated with flour mix, allowing the loose flour to fall into the bowl. Do this with each pan.
3. SET OVEN: To 325 degrees.
4. ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS: Add all remaining ingredients through the plant milk and mix together with a spatula. Add a bit more milk if necessary to achieve a soft dough. Note: if using a different flour other than ww pastry or oat, more (or less) wet ingredients may be needed.
5. Wet fingers, then place the dough into each donut cavity, filling it. Divide the dough equally among the twelve donut molds, making sure it's evenly spread in the mold. Once filled, wet fingers again to flatten and smooth the dough in each pan.
6. BAKE: 22-25 minutes, depending on the flour used. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Note: Whole wheat may yield a fluffier, crisper donut than the oat, which usually comes out a bit more smooth and compact, and also divine.
7. REMOVE FROM PAN: Using a spatula, separate the donut from the pan all the way around - the donuts should come out clean.
8. SERVE: Smoother side up (the molded part), flat side down. Mix the vanilla powder and cinnamon together in a finger bowl and sprinkle over the top of each donut.
Happy cozy months to you all.