From the Kitchen #01: Bake Some Doughnuts

Along with a bunch of spice recommendations.

Welcome to the first installment of From the Kitchen of Alicia Kennedy, a monthly dispatch of recipes, links to recipes and ingredients, and general cooking insight. This one is for everyone, but going forward, they will come out monthly for paid subscribers. 

Black beans take such a long time to cook. I’d forgotten, because I’d gotten used to just grabbing a can if it turned out to be taco night. I want to get back to making beans from dried, though, and so I’ve set an alarm to check on them every 20 minutes. I seasoned the water with salt, Diaspora Co. Guntur Sannam Chili, Burlap & Barrel’s cumindried wild ramps, and black lime. I love spices. I need a shirt that just says that. When I cook them for the tacos, I’ll be adding onion, garlic, tomato paste, fresh lime juice, and smoked paprika. I’ll be frying a yellow sweet plantain for the side, and I’ll likely fry some corn tortillas for chips. It will be a simple dinner, aside from the babysitting of the beans.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, I was supposed to be making the Dishoom jackfruit biryani but probably subbing half the jackfruit for mushrooms, because I only have one can left and it calls for two. It would have been a celebration dinner, because Israel (my fiancé) and our friend Ricky have the cover story and photo for the forthcoming issue of Whetstone. It’s about how colonialism has shaped the history and present of coffee in Puerto Rico. We wanted to drink a Czech pet-nat that we’ve been loving. 

But a big, big storm has come, and so it’ll be a pretty regular night of bucatini with a marinara sauce, plus mushrooms, that I make with cherry tomatoes from the farmers’ market. Maybe next month’s recipe? A kale salad with a Balsamic dressing. We’ll drink this Tenuta Santa Maria Pràgal.

I had meant to send recipes out more regularly to paid subscribers, but it’s frankly so much work. I think I can come up with one new good thing a month, and so that’s what this email will be: cooking musings and a recipe. I sent this one to everyone so you can see what’s up and decide whether you’d like to subscribe. Paid subscribers already have access to my carrot-ginger cake with lemon icing, as well as the sweet plantain rum cake with a maple-oat streusel. I’ll try to bring you savory ideas, as well, but those will just be less precise, because there is little to no precision in my savory cooking. 

Today, Wednesday, we will be going to friends’ for dinner and I’ll be bringing these vegan pumpkin doughnuts. I’ve done many variations on the King Arthur Baking baked doughnut recipe, making a really good coconut version long ago. What I love about it is that it’s wildly easy, and wildly easy to make vegan, too. If you swap out the pumpkin here for ½ cup mashed banana, they would be banana doughnuts. Same for pureed squash of any sort. Here, they’re replacing egg. You can also use any non-dairy milk you have around for the milk. All you need to make these are a doughnut baking tin, but you could just make them as muffins too. Here’s the way to do it vegan:

Yields 12 doughnuts

4 tablespoons vegan butter, preferably Miyoko’s Creamery
¼ cup coconut oil, virgin or refined
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice or Burlap & Barrel Goan Masala (if neither is around, add cinnamon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup full-fat coconut milk

  1. Heat the oven to 350 fahrenheit and grease the doughnut pan.

  2. Beat the butter, oil, and sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or a hand mixer. 

  3. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until smooth, then add baking powder, baking soda, salt, spice, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly distributed throughout the batter.

  4. Alternate adding the flour and the milk until a thick dough forms. 

  5. Add dough by the spoonful into the greased doughnut pan, filling it up (vegan doughnuts will have less rise than non-vegan, so ok to fill).

  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, checking to see that the doughnuts are matte and browned. This is when they’re done. 

  7. Let cool on a wire rack. Remove once cool enough to touch.

To make a chocolate glaze? Feel your way through because it’s based on the humidity in your kitchen, but a rough guide would be 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tablespoon aquafaba, and up to ¼ cup melted chocolate. Whisk away! A hand mixer fitted with whisk attachment or an immersion blender are useful here. If too thick, add a little extra aquafaba; if not thick enough, alternate with more melted chocolate and confectioner’s sugar. When the doughnuts are cool, dip and twirl them through the chocolate. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, edible flowers, or cinnamon sugar.