I am basically a healthy person. I eat right (mostly) and I exercise (some), and I chase after my kids (a lot) which keeps me not overweight. I don’t eat at McDonald’s (do you need reasons why?!), nor do I crave Dunkin’ Donuts (I haven’t had one in well over 13 years, I’m certain, so I’m over it.) or even, dare I say, Krispy Kremes??? Yes, even in spite of my 9-year old bugging me not infrequently with calls of, “You make everything gluten-free, why don’t you make donuts?!” Geez.
So when all this chatter started up about gluten-free pumpkin spice donuts, I figured I was finally ready to foray back into the land of the doughnut. I had made my peace with not eating doughnuts and was now, finally, ready to taste one of these new, loudly lauded gluten-free doughnuts. There is no better time to try everything in the gluten-free world than at Natural Products Expo, and lucky for me, last week I was at Expo East! Eager to take my first bite of a doughnut in more than a baker’s dozen years, I set off in search of samples.
Let me first say that I grew up in the South where you learn early that if you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, you don’t say anything at all, so I will not name names here, but suffice to say that I was so disappointed in these manufactured gluten-free doughnuts that I couldn’t even waste the calories on one bite. I picked one up — it was hard as a rock and nearly as heavy — and I aimed for the closest trash can, hoping no one was in my line of fire, else they risk bodily damage by intercepting this UFO. In all fairness, perhaps the folks staffing the table were falling down on the job a bit and hadn’t appropriately microwaved or monitored the staleness of these nuggets, but they were indisputably inedible.
At times like these, I’ve learned never to give up hope. Instead, I revisited my son’s challenge and decided that since I do, in fact, seem to make everything gluten free, why not go ahead and make a doughnut. It couldn’t be that hard … I mean, it’s a doughnut (aka fried dough). My dad used to make doughnuts weekend mornings out of canned refrigerator biscuits for Pete’s sake … and they still tasted good!
So, back in Maryland after nearly a week of New England travels, I determined to make truly delicious gluten-free doughnuts at home. Trouble is, I also roasted a much larger-than-anticipated pumpkin (once again, I blame my kids – they picked it out!), so I first had to make a homemade pumpkin pie … and then some pumpkin cranberry muffins … and since I still had purée left, I had to make pumpkin doughnuts. It’s all good though, because I’m a firm believer that pumpkin makes everything yummier.
It wasn’t all that hard, really, and I’ve got to tell you, once I got the recipe right, the making doughnuts part was downright easy. Too easy. So easy that I’m not publishing it in my recipe newsletter because I don’t want folks everywhere to start making tons of these yummy puppies and blaming me for gaining weight BEFORE Thanksgiving! Oh no – this recipe is going to be buried on my website, for only those hard-core doughnut aficionados to find!
So do us all a favor and don’t tell anyone about this recipe. It will put pre-fab gluten-free doughnuts to shame (no microwaving necessary!) and it’s too easy and delicious not to make again and again (as in, every weekend), and that could get really old and boring … at some point, years from now.
(If you’re hankerin’ for a good ol’ fashioned fried doughnut instead, try my recipe for those, too!)
Pumpkin Pie Donuts
- 2 Tbs. butter or non-dairy alternative (Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks)
- ½ cup granulated cane sugar
- ½ cup pumpkin purée (canned or fresh, roasted)
- 1/3 cup sour cream, dairy or non-dairy (Tofutti® or Follow Your Heart®) or coconut yogurt (So Delicious®)
- 1 egg (or egg substitute like 1 Tbs. vegetable oil + 2 Tbs. water + 2 tsp. baking powder)
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups Jules Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour™
- 2 tsp. baking powder, gluten free
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 heaping tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- canola or vegetable oil if frying
- ½ cup granulated cane sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or ½ tsp. ginger + ½ tsp. nutmeg)
Whip butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, if possible, until light. Add pumpkin, sour cream, egg and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, beating until there are no lumps.
Cover and refrigerate dough until cold and no longer sticky, at least 2 hours.
Lightly dust a pastry mat or clean counter with Jules Gluten-Free™ All Purpose Flour or corn or potato starch. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough out onto the dusted surface and gently roll into a 6-inch log. Score the ends and dab with water, then press together to form a ring. Set aside and continue with remaining dough. To make doughnut holes, simply scoop heaping teaspoonfuls out onto the dusted surface and gently roll into balls.
To Fry: Prepare a large pot by filling at least 1 inch deep with oil. Heat to medium-high (no more than 350°F).
When the dough is heated, drop doughnuts or doughnut holes into the hot oil, boiling and flipping as necessary to cook until lightly browned on all sides – approximately 1 ½ minutes. Do not allow the donuts to get too browned. Once cooked, immediately remove with a skimmer or slotted spoon to a plate covered with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
Quickly transfer to a bowl containing the topping mixture and roll over the donuts to completely coat. Remove to another plate and repeat with remaining dough.
(Look! The perfect doughnut hole!)
To Bake: Preheat oven to 325° F. Place doughnuts or doughnut holes onto parchment-lined baking sheets or simply scoop dough into doughnut pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture, if desired. Bake for 10-14 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness (when inserted toothpick comes out clean, doughnuts are fully cooked). Remove to cool on wire racks for 5 minutes, then gently roll in confectioner’s sugar or sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Yield: 6-8 donuts, depending on size.