National Doughnut Day: make springtime doughnuts at home

Celebrate National Doughnut Day by mixing up a batch of pistachio and cranberry bite baked doughnuts with vanilla icing.

Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel/Spork Foods
To celebrate National Doughnut Day, try making these pistachio and cranberry bite baked donuts with vanilla icing at home!

National Doughnut Day is all about finding free doughnuts at various participating stores. But for me, making doughnuts at home really takes the cake.

Once I figured out that doughnut recipes reach infinity online, imagine my excitement as I scrolled through Pinterest, seeing doughnut recipe after doughnut recipe. I happily “pinned” away, thinking of all the times that I would make these sweet treats. I even created a new board appropriately titled “doughnuts for days.” Because I knew that someday, I would make all of these recipes.

Eventually I got tired of just looking at photos of sweet potato pecan-pie, rhubarb poppyseed, and funfetti cake doughnuts; I decided I might actually want to make some! So I clicked on a link to the perfect poppyseed doughnut with lemon drizzle. But when I saw that I needed a “doughnut pan," I immediately closed the tab. I tried the link to cinnamon-roll baked doughnuts. Same problem. Suffice it to say I was devastated; I didn’t have this apparently essential piece of cooking equipment and my dreams of eating baked red velvet doughnuts with cream cheese glaze were crushed.

Problems have a funny way of finding a solution and somehow in the middle of the night that night I found myself on Amazon ordering this “doughnut pan.” As I anxiously awaited my new, novelty cooking-ware purchase, I dreamed of eating maple-glazed, vanilla-bean, and salted-caramel doughnuts with a steaming mug of coffee. A couple days later the pan arrived!

That following weekend I decided I was up for the challenge. I was going to make doughnuts, and I didn’t need Krispy Kreme’s help. And not just any doughnuts. I was going to make baked, cinnamon-sugar covered pumpkin doughnuts. I carefully sifted the ingredients into the bowl, mixing in the nutmeg and cinnamon with the pumpkin and ladled the batter into a Ziploc bag. I piped the batter mixture into the doughnut tray and 15 minutes later  they were done! After quickly dunking my new creations into melted butter, I tossed them in a bowl with cinnamon-sugar and immediately ate one. And then another. And another. Because they were baked so why not? The light, tender crumbs melted in with the cinnamon-sugar creating the perfect aromatic combination for that crisp fall morning.

In celebration of National Doughnut Day, you too could stand in line and get a free (or semi-free) doughnut from a beloved chain bakery. Or you could try making them yourself. Try this springtime "Pistachio and Cranberry Bite Baked Donuts with Vanilla Icing” recipe from Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods. You might just surprise yourself!

Pistachio and Cranberry Bite Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Icing
From Spork Foods

Yields 6 large donuts

1 cup organic unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup un-refined evaporated cane sugar
1/4teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup original almond milk, plus 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup neutral tasting oil (safflower)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons, plus 1 tablespoon pistachio kernels, chopped
1 tablespoon, plus 1 tablespoon, dried cranberries, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar and sea salt and whisk until uniform.

3. In a small bowl, add almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle, about 1-2 minutes.

4. Add almond milk mixture, oil and vanilla extract to dry ingredients. Whisk until uniform.  Fold 3 tablespoons pistachios and 1 tablespoon cranberries into batter.

Grease donut pan generously with cooking spray and pour batter into each donut shape.  Leave about 1/4-inch for batter to rise and clean any excess batter from center of each donut to prevent sticking.

Bake for about 21-24 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before glazing. Place on a cooling rack over a baking sheet with walls, to collect icing.

Vanilla Icing:

2 teaspoons non-hydrogenated buttery spread
1-1/2 cups organic powdered sugar
1 tablespoon soymilk creamer or almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of sea salt

1. In a small pot, melt buttery spread and add in powdered sugar.  Whisk until lumpy.  Add soymilk creamer or almond milk, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk until smooth, about 1 minute and remove from heat.  

2. To glaze donuts, drizzle a small amount of glaze over each donut, making sure there is a baking sheet to catch the run-off.  Sprinkle right away with remaining pistachios and cranberries before glaze hardens.  Set aside to cool.  

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