I wanted to come up with a healthier recipe than the standard fried, sugary doughnut. What I came up with is a "grown up" doughnut reminiscent of the sticky, pink frosted ones I remember eating as a child – only not so sweet and much better for you. My yeasted baked doughnuts are topped with date caramel, toasted pecans and a scattering of fresh rosemary. The combination of flavors is amazing – I challenge you to stop eating after just one!

Caramel Pecan Rosemary Doughnuts [Vegan]

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Serves

10

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Ingredients

Doughnuts:
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (you may sub this for any other kind of granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk plus 1 or 2 tablespoons if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in liquid form

Date Caramel:

  • 10 Medjool dates
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (cashew butter will work ok too)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
"Sprinkles":
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecan nuts
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
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Preparation

To Make the Doughnuts:
  1. In a medium bowl add the flour, salt, yeast (making sure they don't touch), flax seeds and sugar. Mix well.
  2. Pour in your coconut oil and mix again until well combined.
  3. Add your milk, starting with 1/2 cup. Mix well (I often use a standard dinner knife to do this as I find it easier than with a spoon or a spatula).
  4. If it comes together well and doesn't look too dry then you will not need to add the extra milk. If, however, it looks dry add some more a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together well.
  5. Scrape your mixture onto a clean and dry surface. If you think you will find kneading like this difficult, grease your surface and your hands with some mild olive oil or some coconut oil. This will make it easier to handle. Do not use more flour to knead on or add more flour during the process! If you do you risk your doughnuts becoming dense and brick-like!
  6. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Your dough will start out quite sticky but the more you knead the smoother and less sticky it will become. After roughly ten minutes, your dough will be smooth and if you try to squeeze the ball of dough flat between your two hands it will bounce back into its ball shape quite readily.
  7. Use a little bit of mild olive or coconut oil to grease your mixing bowl and put your dough in it and twist around to ensure the surface area is coated in oil.
  8. Cover with a damp dish towel, cling film or a shower cap and leave in a draft free area until doubled in size. The time this takes will vary depending on how warm your kitchen is but bear in mind that the longer it takes to rise, the more flavor there will be so unless you are in a hurry you don’t want to rush it by cranking up the heating or putting it somewhere very warm. Mine took about 70 minutes.
  9. Once your dough has doubled, scrape it onto your work surface again (a dough scraper is a great investment and makes life so much easier!) and knead gently for a few turns to remove any excess air bubbles.
  10. Now it is time to shape your doughnuts. Split the dough into 10 even pieces and grease your doughnut pan or baking tray. If you are using a doughnut pan, roll each piece of dough into a sausage shape and place in your doughnut pan and pinch the two ends together.
  11. If you don't have a doughnut pan then shape your dough pieces into balls, put on your tray and flatten the tops with the palm of your hand.
  12. Cover again with a damp dish towel, cling film or a shower cap and leave in a draft free area until doubled in size again.They won't take as long this time. Mine took 30 minutes.
  13. While they are rising preheat your oven to 350°F.
  14. Once your doughnuts have doubled put them in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. You want them to be just cooked. You don't want them to get crusty or color at all so keep an eye on them.
  15. Remove your doughnuts from their pan and cool on a cooling rack.
To Make the Date Caramel:
  1. Pit your dates and add them to a food processor. Add the almond butter, vanilla extract, water and salt and process until completely smooth.
  2. Taste to see if the seasoning needs to be adjusted. If you enjoy salted caramel you might want to add a little bit more salt.
  3. Run your fingers down the rosemary stems to detach the leaves. Discard the stalks and chop finely.
  4. Spread the caramel on the top of the cooled doughnuts.
  5. Sprinkle with your chopped pecans and finally the rosemary.
  6. Enjoy!
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