Saturday, October 15, 2011

Baked Vegan Pumpkin Donuts! (And Other Goodies!)

Part II from my vacay to Michigan!

It always seems that vacations are over before they even start, which was definitely the case when I was back home.  Even though I was away from NY for a full 7+ days, and the pace of life in MI is much much slower, the time sped by.  Unfortunately, the Hubby was only able to stay for 4 days - he already took his vacation earlier in the year to go back to his home country - the Dominican Republic.  The last day we had together was spent running around like maniacs trying to get in the last little bit of time with everyone we could, considering it will be another year before we are able to come back to MI as a couple. 

We went over to my oldest brothers new home, took the grand tour (so beautiful and HUGE!).  My adorable amazing niece To (nickname of course!) jumped on my Hubby's back as soon as she saw him - it must be their thing - she loves piggy-back rides, and him being 6'3" and super strong, could likely carry her around all day.  As soon as I saw it, I had to snap a pic:

Aren't they adorable?!  And check out the beautiful kitchen.

When she first met Hubby 2 years ago at my other older brother's wedding, he did the same thing and she has loved him ever since!  I swear he carried her around for half an hour like a princess.  This was that occasion:

She was so much tinier then - I could carry her around too! 
Kids grow up way too fast!

Back to the present: To happily showed us around, particularly her space  - a walk-in closet showcasing all of her gymnastics awards (I swear she had at least 20 of them - no joke!) - she has been in gymnastics since she was 6 months old thought and is amazing, so I'm not overly surprised!  She also showed me her own bathroom right inside of her bedroom, decorated in her favorite color scheme, a laptop and a large tv hanging on her wall.  Lucky much!?  I can't even begin to imagine what that would cost here in NY - it makes me shudder to think of it! 

Anyway, once we finally made it to the kitchen - my favorite place of course! - I was in heaven and my niece was very proud to show me all of the amazing kitchen tools she has acquired in the recent past.  Her mom, my sis-in-law Debbie, told me that she wants to be a pastry chef, and has wanted to for over a year.  I am so proud of her!  So after talking for a while, we decided to do a vegan baking class for her, because naturally, she bakes conventionally.  I went to the local natural foods store Oryana (now wishing I would have taken her with me so I could show her and explain the ingredients as I was choosing them -next time!), bought all the ingredients, came over one night after she finished at school - Hubby was back in NY at this point, so we had all the time in the world.  Together we chose to make baked donuts, red velvet cake (as cupcakes) and pumpkin baked donuts (anything pumpkin is Debbie's favorite), which we also made into cupcakes.  As it turns out, both To and Debbie are lactose intolerant, which I did not know, so Debbie avoids dairy, but To being an almost 12-year old just eats it anyway - ice cream has always been her weakness!  So it was even better making all of these things vegan and show her that not only were they incredibly delicious, they wouldn't make her feel bad after she ate them. 

I soooo enjoyed working in their kitchen and To had a blast working with her Auntie Koko the chef.  She is actually the origin of my nickname  - Koko - by the way.  When she was super little and learning to speak, I was trying to teach her to say "Korrie".  I kept telling her "Say Korrie ... Korrie".  All she would come up with was ko-ko.  I was really disappointed at first, but when her mom heard it, she thought it was adorable and soon everyone started calling me Koko.  The idea for the "k" came from To's mom, who thought it more appropriate since Korrie is spelled with a K, therefore Koko, not coco or cocoa.  Nice story, huh? 

Anyway, when I went into the kitchen, I was expecting to have to lecture To about not touching her hair, constantly washing her hands, not licking the spoons, etc., but to my surprise she was very professional.  Debbie told me she watches all the shows on the food channels.  When we first went in the kitchen, she put her hair in a rubber-band, washed her hands, put on an apron, washed off the counters, washed her hands again and set out all of the measuring cups and spoons.  She then asked me what temperature I would like the oven preheated to and proceeded to preheat it for me.  The whole time my mouth was slightly opened - amazed at her professionalism at 11 years old!  Once I showed her how to properly measure and portion everything, she did a great job.  She even decorated the cupcakes when they were cooled.  She was definitely a harsh critic of herself - really bummed when she didn't get the design exactly as she wanted.  But she did a great job!  I bought her a little booklet about decorating and a piping kit with like 20 tips.  She was so excited - I'll have to see if she has had a chance to try them out yet. 

To portioning out Red Velvet Cupcakes.

The Baked Cupcakes

Vegan Donuts!!!!

And More Baked Donuts!!!!!

I loved these large flakes of coconut!  Yum!

Glazed & Coconut Dipped, Powdered Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar

Vegan Buttercream Iced Red Velvet Cupcakes

Vanilla Donut with Glaze & Coconut

White Chocolate (I thought it was a good idea because I am
not a fan of regular chocolate - but it was a little weird!)

Chocolate Glazed - To's Favorite!

Cinnamon Sugar!

White Chocolate Dipped in Coconut

Vegan Baked Pumpkin Donuts:

The finished product:
Glazed Pumpkin Baked Donut - My Fave!

1 can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup canola oil
2 cups organic evaporate cane juice
3/4 cup soy non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

To Garnish:
Coconut oil  - refined or unrefined, as desired

Organic powdered sugar
Non-dairy milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 baked donut pans and set aside.
2.  In a medium bowl add the pumpkin, oil, sugar, milk and vanilla.  Whisk together until lump-free, the sugar seems to have dissolved and the mixture has emulsified.  To this mixture add the dry ingredients:  unbleached flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Whisk to combine until a thick batter forms.
3.  Using a portion scoop or a spoon, portion out the batter amongst the donut pans.  Use a finger to flatten the tops.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top bounces back lightly when touched.  Immediately remove the donut from the pans - place on a cooling rack.  If you leave them in the pans, the bottoms will become moist and squishy. 
4.  Allow the donuts to cool for 10 minutes.
5.  In the meantime, place about 1/2 cup of coconut oil in a small pot and place over low heat until completely melted and liquid. 
6.  Now prepare the glaze: in a small bowl, place the powdered sugar and add enough non-dairy milk until the glaze is slightly thick, but thin enough to coat the donuts. 
7.  If any of the donuts are large and you cannot see a hole in the center, use your finger to press out the dough.  Using a pastry brush, brush the entire surface of the donut with the coconut oil.  Continue with all the donuts. 
8.  Once all the donuts are glazed with the coconut oil, dip them in the glaze.  You can just dip the top, or be like me and dip the entire donut into the mixture.  Place back on the cooling rack until the glaze sets up.  Sample!  So tasty!  I put a couple chocolate chips in my sister-in-law's - it is her fave combo! 

The sample platter - I took a tiny tiny bite of each one and
my bro ate the rest.  To ate all of her samples and was almost
delirious from sugar!

The sweetie and I after baking - were were both od-ing on sugar!


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