Around New Year's Eve I had a strange inclination to try to make doughnuts from scratch. Yet, how could I make them, egg, dairy, and nut free? Would they even be good? I really wanted to make something my little girl would enjoy and I was interested in using yeast for the first time. I thought, why not? I'll go for it. I found The New York Times' recipe for doughnuts and made a few simple, but key changes, and voila: The Sophie Safe Doughnut was born! I added a delicious chocolate ganache for the frosting and it was a match made in heaven. They might be the best thing I have EVER made and my whole family loves them. The recipe is time consuming but not difficult. Give it a try if you are home on a weekend and want to make something special. I highly recommend! Yum!
1 ¼ cups vanilla soy milk (I used Whole Foods 365 brand)
2 ¼ teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast
6 tables spoons of brine from a can of chick peas (aquafaba) whipped lightly with electric mixer until foamy
8 tablespoons (1 stick) dairy free margarine (I used Fleischmann's unsalted margarine), melted and cooled
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, (I used King Arthur's) plus more for rolling out the dough
2 quarts neutral oil, (I used canola) for frying, plus more for the bowl.
*2 cups of Enjoy Life Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate chips
*2 teaspoons of coconut oil
*A pinch of Course Sea Salt
Heat the vanilla soy milk until it is warm but not hot, about 90 degrees. In a large bowl, combine it with the yeast. Stir lightly, and let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, beat the aquafaba, dairy free margarine, sugar and salt into the yeast mixture. Add half of the flour (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons), and mix until combined, then mix in the rest of the flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour, about 2 tablespoons at a time, if the dough is too wet. If you’re using an electric mixer, the dough will probably become too thick to beat; when it does, transfer it to a floured surface, and gently knead it until smooth. Grease a large bowl with a little oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, and cover. Let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and roll it to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out the doughnuts with a doughnut cutter, concentric cookie cutters or a drinking glass and a shot glass (the larger one should be about 3 inches in diameter), flouring the cutters as you go. Reserve the doughnut holes. If you’re making filled doughnuts, don’t cut out the middle. Knead any scraps together, being careful not to overwork, and let rest for a few minutes before repeating the process.
Put the doughnuts on two floured baking sheets so that there is plenty of room between each one. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place until they are slightly puffed up and delicate, about 45 minutes. If your kitchen isn’t warm, heat the oven to 200 at the beginning of this step, then turn off the heat, put the baking sheets in the oven and leave the door ajar.
About 15 minutes before the doughnuts are done rising, put the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and heat it to 375. Meanwhile, line cooling racks, baking sheets or plates with paper towels.
Carefully add the doughnuts to the oil, a few at a time. If they’re too delicate to pick up with your fingers (they may be this way only if you rose them in the oven), use a metal spatula to pick them up and slide them into the oil. It’s O.K. if they deflate a bit; they’ll puff back up as they fry. When the bottoms are deep golden, after 20-30 use a slotted spoon to flip; cook until they’re deep golden all over. Doughnut holes cook faster. Transfer the doughnuts to the prepared plates or racks, and repeat with the rest of the dough, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the oil at 375. Glaze or fill as follows, and serve as soon as possible.
1. Heat one half of chocolate chips in a bowl in coconut oil in microwave until smooth. I put it on for 30 second at 50% power two times and stirred in between
2. Repeat with the other half of the bag and oil for second batch
3. Dip doughnuts and swirl around and lay to rest on plate to dry
4. Sprinkle with Course Sea Salt
The doughnuts are best slightly warm. Enjoy!