Recipe: Baked Vegan Vanilla Doughnuts

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People always look at me like I’m a wizard whenever they hear I make doughnuts. They tend to respond as if they’re some rare species of baked good that only Krispy Kreme holds the sacred knowledge to. But those of us who’ve made them know how simple they really are.

A few weeks ago, I brought a batch of chocolate peppermint ones (they tasted like thin mints!) to a vegan bakesale hosted at a local grocery store, which also happens to be one of my favorite stores in town. When they saw that I’d made doughnuts and I mentioned that I’m currently doing freelance catering, they offered me a job baking for the store. Now, three times a week, I deliver batches of vegan gingerbread doughnuts, chocolate doughnuts, pumpkin muffins, and brownies to them. Thanks to the aforementioned awe that doughnuts seem to elicit from people, I was able to get more routine baking work (compared to my more chaotic catering) that fits perfectly into my busy student’s schedule!

I hope these doughnuts will bring you as much luck as they’ve brought me. The recipe only took a few rounds of testing to come up with, and the best part is that it’s a simple vanilla base, that you can add just about anything to. I’ll be sharing my recipes for peppermint, chocolate, and gingerbread varieties in other posts, too!

They’re soft, pillowy, and almost impossible to resist!

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Makes a dozen 5-6″ diameter doughnuts.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups vegan white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (can sub in applesauce)
  • 3/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar (can sub white vinegar)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 + 1/2 cup water

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Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 6-hole doughnut pans.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

3. In another small bowl, stir together the oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet. Mix just until lumps are gone. Add more water if needed to get a batter consistency–it should pour easily.

5. Pour batter into doughnut cups until about 2/3-3/4 full.

6. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Recipe: Skinny Mocha Banana Coconut Shake [Vegan]

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Sometimes, my chocolate cravings turn me into a bit of an animal, stuffing chocolate covered almonds and homemade haystacks into my face like I haven’t eaten in days. Okay, I exaggerate, but still; as you can probably imagine, my serial chocolate snacking never ends well for me or my stomach.

So I’ve been coming up with new, healthier strategies to satisfy my chocolate quotas. This low-calorie “shake” is definitely a winner, as it gets me my caffeine and chocolate fixes at the same time, using fruit as a base. I also incorporated my new favorite teavana tea, My Morning Mate, in place of coffee, as the latter tends to give me the jitters. Any black tea or coffee would work wonderfully, though! Also, if you’re not into caffeine, you can use your favorite kind of milk as the liquid, or even just water.

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Ingredients

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  • About 2 tbs shredded coconut – sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1/2-3/4 cup black tea or coffee
  • Soy, coconut, or almond milk to thin it out if you need to
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • 2-3 tbs cocoa powder
  • Handful of walnuts (optional)
  • Chocolate or vanilla flavored protein powder (optional)
  • Sweetener if desired (I found it unnecessary)

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Directions

1. Slice bananas into a bowl and store in freezer until frozen.

2. Combine ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Add more liquid (milk or tea/coffee) or solids (walnuts, cocoa powded, banana, coconut) until it is at your desired consistency.

3. Pour into a glass or jar, garnish with coconut or banana slices, and enjoy!

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Thanks for reading,

Michelle

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash alla Norma [Vegan]

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Lately, I’ve been trying to avoid gluten as much as I can. Although I know it isn’t inherently unhealthy, I sometimes get the sneaking suspicion that I might have a sensitivity to it, as I often feel bloated and sluggish after consuming it. Cutting it out is nearly impossible when you spend as much of your time baking for people as I do, but I try to come up with alternatives when I cook for myself.

My latest addiction has been nature’s version of pasta: the shockingly tasty, insanely low-calorie spaghetti squash. The fact that it’s not only gluten free, but also only 30 calories a cup (compared to the 400 calories in its processed counterpart) makes it the holy grail of healthy carbs for me; I have trouble believing I’m actually eating vegetables and not pasta. I’ve dressed it up a number of ways–including pesto, curry, cauliflower alfredo, and marinara, which I’ll be sharing with you guys in the future–but have found that it’s delicious even with just a little bit of olive oil or Earth Balance and salt.

The first time I made spaghetti squash,  I was in awe at the way the flesh naturally comes out in the form of spaghetti strands–no work required. All you have to do is bake it, scoop it out of the shell, and put your favorite sauce on it!

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Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 spaghetti squash
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • About 10 cremini or baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans of diced roasted tomatoes, with garlic or other herbs for extra flavor
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches of basil powder, or 3-5 fresh leaves; oregano; or thyme
  • Salt and pepper

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Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut your spaghetti squash in half. If you’re on the not-so-strong side of the spectrum like I am, you may want to microwave it for about a minute to soften it up. I stuck a cleaver into the side of the spaghetti squash, turned it upside down so the knife was supported by the table, and used the squash’s own weight to hit it down onto the cleaver until it split. Whatever strategy you use, be careful not to cut yourself!

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2. Clean out the seeds and slimy strings from the squash using a spoon. If you’ve ever carved a pumpkin on Halloween, you probably have experience with this! Scrape away until the bright orange part is gone, and only the uniform yellow flesh remains. (Refer to 2 photos above for what they look like once mostly cleaned.)

3. Lay one side onto a pan rind-down, brush the flesh with olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. If only making one half, wrap and store the unused half in the fridge. Bake in oven for about 35 minutes, or until tender, which can be tested by sticking a fork into the flesh.

4. Make the sauce: combine eggplant, zucchini, mushroom, onion, garlic in a pot over medium heat, season with salt, and saute until they shrink and start to become tender. (You can use oil if you want, but I prefer to dry-saute.) Add tomatoes and spices, and simmer until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Remove spaghetti squash from oven, and cool slightly, or until you can handle it without burning yourself. Using a fork, scrape the flesh from stem to bottom and place the resulting strings in a bowl; it should fall into strands with very little pressure. If you get any resistance, the squash needs to be cooked more.

6. Top the “spaghetti” with as much sauce as you want, and enjoy!

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Bon Appétit,

Michelle