Vegan apple cider doughnuts

One of my absolute favorite fall {and any time} treats is apple cider doughnuts. I love nothing more than a crisp fall day, a mug of hot cider, and a doughnut in hand. With trying more and more to avoid animal products, I found myself at the farmer's market last week feeling sad to miss out on an apple cider doughnut. But then I spotted the quarts of apple cider, and inspiration struck: make my own, vegan apple cider doughnuts!

I was conflicted over whether to go with a cake doughnut or a sourdough/yeast raised doughnut. I love yeasted doughnuts, but I do feel like nearly every apple cider doughnut I have had has been a cake doughnut. So, to try to come as close as I could to apple cider doughnuts I know and love, I went with baking powder as the leavening agent for a cake doughnut. Apple cider makes up all of the liquid, add a dash of pumpkin pie spice, and obviously... fry them. I do plan on trying to bake these some time, and I'm sure they'll come out great, but I wanted the traditional fried doughnut here. They came out spectacularly and I'm sure I'll make them a few more times before the season ends.

Ingredients (makes 1 dozen small doughnuts):

1 cup all purpose flour, plus additional flour to roll out the dough

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used fresh milled soft white wheat berries, but any whole wheat flour will do)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and cardamom)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup apple cider

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Vegetable oil for frying (you will need 1-2 cups depending on the size of your frying vessel)

  1. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in one bowl.

  2. To another bowl, add the ground flax seeds, apple cider, and oil. Let sit for 5 minutes to hydrate the flax seeds.

  3. Add the wet ingredients and the sugar to the dry ingredients. Mix with a spatula until it forms a cohesive dough.

  4. At all steps shaping though dough, be sure to only place dough on a well floured surface and use floured hands to handle the dough. Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface. Sprinkle the top with flour and use your hands to press the dough down into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.

  5. Use a round cutter to cut doughnuts out. I used a 3 inch round cutter, but any size or the rim of a large glass will work. Use a small round cutter to cut holes out of each doughnut - or if you don't have one, keep the doughnuts whole. Once cut out, pick up doughnuts off the surface with a spatula and move to a floured surface.

  6. Reshape the scraps of dough as in step 4 to cut out more doughnuts.

  7. When all of your doughnuts are cut out, heat up your oil for frying at medium high heat. You want about 1.5-2 inches of oil in the pan so that the doughnuts can float. Heat the oil to between 350 and 375 F. If you do not have a thermometer, heat up the oil at medium high heat for 6-7 minutes, then turn down to medium and fry the doughnuts.

  8. Use the spatula to place doughnuts in the frying oil. Do not overcrowd the pan - I used a large dutch oven and fried 3 or 4 doughnuts at a time. If you have a smaller pot, fry 2 doughnuts at a time. Fry the doughnuts for about 3-4 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until they are golden brown on both sides. If the oil is too hot, you will know because they will darken too quickly.

  9. Remove the doughnuts with the spatula and place immediately on a paper towel lined plate to drain excess grease. Continue in batches until all of the doughnuts are fried.

Enjoy with a cup of apple cider!

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