Vegan Salt –the blog

{July 22, 2011}   Mini Donuts!

As fantastic as the vegan cupcake scene is (and believe me, the vegan cupcake scene is bigger, rowdier, and more colorful than a traveling acrobatic troupe) there’s been a noticeable lack of vegan donuts in the world. Okay, they’ve been lacking in MY vegan world. Until now, that is! These little cuties required no deep frying and no oven baking, making them a perfect pastry that’s bearable to make in the summer. Did I mention how easy these are to make? And how tasty they are? How adorable?

As my regular readers know, I haven’t blogged for several months, and during that break, I married my beloved soulmate.  =)

A couple of dear friends gave us a mini donut maker as a wedding gift. Here it is, surrounded by donut ingredients and the cookbook (another fantastic wedding gift) which contains the recipe I based my donuts on.  Yes, that’s Vegan Yum Yum, the cookbook from the blog of the same name. Talk about deliciousness just oozing off glossy, full-color pages! This cookbook will make you drool and get your creative juices going.  I used her original donut recipe first, but later modified it by adding 1/4 cup of cocoa and leaving out the other spices to make chocolate donuts. Here’s what I ended up with:

Vegan Chocolate Donuts (based on recipe from Vegan Yum Yum)

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients:

1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer
1/4 tsp salt

Then add the wet ingredients, using a wire whisk to combine:

1/2 cup almond milk
4 Tbs oil or melted vegan butter, such as Earth Balance or Smart Balance
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Plug in your mini donut maker and make sure it’s clean inside. Brush or spray the inside with a touch of oil if you’re using it for the first time.  When the green light turns off, it’s ready to go!

Using a spoon, scoop the donut batter into the center of each mold, as shown to the left.

Close the donut maker and give it about 3 minutes to cook your donuts. It will tell you when it’s done. I like to leave them in for an extra 30 seconds to one minute after the green “ready” light has gone off, leaving the donuts with a slightly crispy outer shell.

Then open it up and remove the mini donuts with tongs, a wooden spatula, or chopsticks. Metal forks may scratch the donut mold, and if you use your fingers, you will burn yourself. Pop the piping hot donuts onto a wire rack to cool. The dough will make three batches of donuts, for a total of 21 adorable little munchies. Lick the bowl while the last batch cooks.  Since the whole process was so easy and quick, you’ll probably immediately make a second batch at this point. (Next time, save yourself a bit of trouble and just double it from the start!)

As the donuts cool, put 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a clean and dry glass bowl, and place it in the oven at 200 degrees until melted. Stir the chocolate with a fork. Dip the mini donuts in the chocolate, then place them back on the rack. If you’re using sprinkles, now is the time to shake them onto your donuts. Then pop the whole rack in the freezer, and your frosting will go from runny goo to a crunchy coating in no time!

Here’s the finished product, both sprinkled and unsprinkled, chillin’ in my freezer, ready for company to stop by.

Do you need a mini donut maker of your own, now that you’ve seen what they’re capable of? They’re available at Spread the tasty joy of compassionate snacking, and long live the Vegan Outreach Baking Co!


{April 30, 2010}   Candy Bar Tasting!

On Tuesdays we get together with a couple of friends to watch LOST, munch on vegan junk food like chips & salsa, and speculate on smoke monsters and time travel.  This week, we were all unaware that there had been no new episode, so we had no LOST to watch, but what we did have was four vegan candy bars from Go Max Go.

I got them in the mail on Monday, but managed to hold off on devouring them.  I wanted to share them with people who had eaten standard candy bars more recently than I have, so I could ask how they compared.  It’s been about four years since I’ve eaten a candy bar – the sort with caramel, nuts, or nougat under the chocolate.  As with cow’s milk and cow-milk cheese, their actual taste has become rather blurred in my memory.  Would Go Max Go vegan candy bars pass not only my test, but my friends’ as well?

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I distinctly remember the last handful of M&M’s I ever ate.  It was early summer, 2006.  A friend and I were at my mother’s house, talking about how we felt we should be vegan.  We’d recently attended an animal rights conference at the library downtown.  Some time before that, I’d invited him to a lecture by a vegan former professor from BYU.  I’d been circling veganism since the prior year, when I’d met and befriended a vegan classmate; a friendship which led me to watch disturbing YouTube videos like Meet Your Meat.  By the day I was munching M&M’s out of a bowl, I had already phased meat out of my diet and stopped buying milk, at least on its own.

So… there we were, talking about animal suffering, how wrong it was, how bad we felt about the constant genocide going on behind the cleanly packaged grocery store products, and how we ought to be doing something… or rather, he was talking about doing something.  I was avoiding eye contact and devouring the free M&M’s my mom had left on the counter.  There was a panic brewing in a tiny corner of my brain – the chocolate center!  I know, biologically-speaking, neuroscientists will argue that there’s no such part of the mind, but I could feel it shifting uncomfortably and trying to tune out my friend’s voice.  He was telling me we could do it, it was possible to be vegan, even in Utah, and that he even knew vegans who no doubt would help us make the change.  The next thing I knew, he was sticking out his hand and asking me to shake on it.  We would become vegan.  Together.  I crammed the last of the M&M’s into my mouth (What? I needed the hand free!) and shook on it.  Goodbye, precious chocolate….or so I was thinking at the time.

Cocoa, of course, comes from a bean.  It’s only during the production that non-vegan ingredients are often added, and the lower the quality, the more they skimp on ingredients and add things like cow milk.  As for M&M’s, none of them are vegan.  (Yet.  They’ll come around, once their customers all go vegan!)  Neither are Dove, Cadbury, or anything made by Mars.  But the good news is that there’s a lot of chocolate out there that a vegan can enjoy right now.  (For the record, cocoa butter is actually a  creamy plant product and has nothing to do with cow butter.  When label-reading, watch for milk, milk solids, and whey.  Also keep in mind that unless the sugar used is labeled organic or vegan, it is possible that it’s char-bleached.)  Ready for the chocolate now?

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et cetera