After having such good gluten-free doughnuts in Missoula, Danny and I started having a hankering for more. Thus, this past weekend, we made a lot of batches of baked doughnuts to get these right.
Here’s the important thing — don’t expect these to be a yeasted cakey doughnut, fried in oil, then covered in glaze. As good as those are, I can only eat them every great once in awhile. But a good baked doughnut is more like a muffin, a satisfying sweetness you could eat for breakfast sometimes. (Our little guy certainly approves of this idea.) They are soft and supple. They’re really only barely sweet. You might want to add frosting on top. Well done! But we like these just as they are.
One of the secrets to these baked doughnuts is almond flour. Most doughnuts have lard or butter in them to make the texture right. I have no problem with either. But I had the idea to have most of the flour blend here be composed of our gluten-free all-purpose flour and some part of it almond flour. Here, I used almond flour as a fat and a flour. (If you can’t do tree nuts, play with using 50 grams of cold butter or lard worked into the flour instead.)
To have a light gluten-free baked good in the end, you need a wet batter. But how to get a wet batter into a doughnut pan? Pipe the wet batter into a greased pan. And if you don’t have a pastry bag, use a large ziplock bag and cut off the corner. (I love doing this. I always feel a little MacGyver.)
This recipe is very loosely adapted from one by Abby Dodge, in her new encyclopedic book, The Everyday Baker. If you don’t have this book, and you love to bake, do buy it soon!
Prepare to bake. Heat the oven to 325°. Grease a 6-hole doughnut pan.
Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, salt, soda, and nutmeg in a bowl.
Finish the batter. Whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolk, and vanilla. Scoop the dry ingredients on top of the buttermilk mixture and fold them all together with a rubber spatula. The final dough should be wet but not as wet as pancake batter.
Let the batter sit for at least 30 minutes before baking the doughnuts. (You can let them sit as long as 8 hours in the refrigerator. The longer the batter sits, the stronger the final doughnuts are.)
Pipe in the batter. Put the doughnut batter into a large ziploc bag, pushing it all into one corner of the bottom. Close the bag and cut the tip off the bottom of the corner of the bag. Pipe enough batter into one of the holes of the pan, moving around the circle with a deft wrist, until the circle is closed. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.
Bake the doughnuts. Bake the doughnuts until the tops are firm but still a little springy, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the doughnuts to cool in the pan until they have reached room temperature, about 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the doughnuts to loosen them. Let them sit on a cooling rack.
Feel like playing? The nutmeg and vanilla make a really lovely combination here, but I imagine cardamom would be wonderful. So would cinnamon or a tiny pinch of ginger. I really love the caramely taste of the coconut sugar here, but you could substitute the same amount of white sugar here too. If you can’t eat dairy, simply add a tablespoon of lemon juice to your favorite non-dairy milk and let it sit for 15 minutes to “buttermilk” it for this recipe.