When I lived in the South several years ago, my house was located only a few miles away from a Krispy Kreme doughnut factory. If I drove down a specific stretch of 291 at the right time of the morning, the unmistakable and glorious aroma of silky dough being fried to perfection would slither through the air vents of my car, creating the most heavenly aroma ever. In the effort to partially recreate this experience, I veganized Alton Brown‘s doughnut recipe this weekend, with delicious and addictive results: fresh out of the oil, these are crisp and golden on the outside and light and spongy on the inside. To add a twist on the traditional plain glaze application, I added a touch of almond extract, cardamom spice and crushed pistachios at the end to complete these lovely loops of fried perfection.
for the doughnuts
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 TB vegetable shortening
2 1/4 tsp active yeast
2 TB warm water
2 tsp Ener-G
1 1/2 TB sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
vegetable or canola oil, for frying
for the glaze
2 to 3 TB almond milk
3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup pistachios, ground into a fine powder
Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add in the shortening and stir until well-blended. Pour the contents into a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl.
Combine the yeast with the 2 TB warm water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Make sure that the almond/milk shortening is at a lukewarm temperature, then add in the yeast/water mixture. Add in the Ener-G, sugar and salt and blend slowly with the flat beater attachment.
With the beater running, add in half of the flour, scraping down any flour that may have stuck to the side of the bowl. Increase the speed slightly until smooth, about a minute. Add in the rest of the flour, resuming the speed until well-blended, about a minute more.
At this point, the dough should be slightly silky and smooth, and should start to pull away from the bowl while the blade is running. If it is still slightly sticky, add a few more tablespoons of flour until a good consistency is reached.
Swap out the flat beater with the dough hook attachment and continue to mix to the dough on medium to medium-low speed until the dough is very silky and smooth, about 4 minutes. Remove from the bowl, shape into a ball, and place in a slightly greased bowl. Cover with saran wrap and let it rise for about an hour.
On a slightly floured surface, roll out about half the dough into a round shape, using a rolling pin. It should be rolled out until it is about the width of a pancake. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out circular shapes. (I used the small cap from a water bottle to pierce a hole in the center.) Any leftover dough can be kneaded again with the remaining dough and rolled out again. Place the doughnut circles on a greased cookie sheet and cover with saran wrap to slightly rise for 30 more minutes.When you are ready to fry, heat plenty of oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. The oil is ready when you insert a wooden spoon into the oil and bubbles immediately form around the spoon.
Drop one of the doughnuts into the oil and let it fry for about 30-45 seconds. Using a skimmer, flip it over and fry for 30 seconds more. Remove with the skimmer and place on a cooling rack. Repeat until all of the doughnuts have been fried. Any leftover oil can be cooled completely and stored in a plastic container in the refrigerator for future use.
While the doughnuts are cooling, make the glaze. Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan and whisk in half the powdered sugar until combined and then whisk in the rest. Remove from the heat and add in the almond extract and cardamom. Glaze the doughnuts by dipping them face down in the saucepan and twirling slightly. While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle with some of the powdered pistachios.
Any leftover doughnuts may be stored in a plastic container and reheated in the microwave for about 7 seconds.