Friday, 6 June 2014


National Doughnut Day is upon us and if I've said it once, I've said it every time there is a good food-related day - this is where the Americans have us beat.

Recognized as a US holiday, National Doughnut Day is the first Friday of every June. A quick Google search will give you no shortage of websites, news stories (from proper news sources), blogs, and stores who are exclaiming and celebrating the goodness of this day.

Despite the fact that I am going to have an above-average amount of doughnuts today, most in their deep-fried doughy form that nature intended us to eat them (and will almost certainly be documented on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) - I can't help but dream of a doughnut that could be eaten everyday, guilt-free. A doughnut that is sugar-free and grain free. That is low in carbs and high in good fats, maybe even protein?

Last year on National Cream-filled Doughnut Day (September 14), I posted a recipe for vegan cream-filled paleo doughnuts. This recipe turned into vegan sugar-free paleo pancakes (which are delicious and I eat almost daily).

Those ingredients are as follows:

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup coconut flour

This seemed like a good starting point for a paleo, sugar-free doughnut that would not taste like cardboard. If you don't want my long-winded explanation of the birth of this recipe, skip to the bottom now.

The problem with the pancake is its crumbly-ness when subject to movement. This is due to its lack of binding agents: no eggs and no sugar. Wanting to give this baked good more durability, I turned to my good friend, Google.

"how to make paleo baked goods stick together"

The first link was the Fabulous Cavewoman's post on "The Science of Paleo Baking"

She gave a breakdown of common paleo ingredients and their purposes. There were a few binding-agent options, but eggs would be my choice for their protein and lack-of-sugar-ness.

"Eggs act as a binder as well as adding moisture, richness and flavor. (In standard baking, flour forms gluten to help molecules bind together.)"

Then I just had to figure out a ratio.

Google, I ask of you: egg paleo baking ratio

Again, Google came through. The first hit was for a website called Multiply Delicious, written by a paleo-turned baker, Heather. She has a lengthy post on stocking your paleo pantry, but I used my most favourite keyboard function, Ctrl + F, to zero in on the eggs:

½ cup coconut flour + 5 eggs + ½ cup coconut milk (or other liquids) = proper ratio portions

Because the 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup liquid were close to the measurements I would be using, I eschewed any mathematical formulizing and decided I'd reduce my liquids to 1/2 cup and add 5 eggs to the mixture.

But there was one more last thing to consider: the pumpkin. From my previous knowledge of baking, mashed produce such as apples, banana, pumpkin, squash, etc. can be used to replace eggs. If I were to just toss in 5 eggs, I imagine I'd end up with something very shloppy. So - if a 1/4 cup of mashed pumpkin would equal 1 egg (as is the standard replacement), that means that I am accounting for 2 eggs with my pumpkin and therefore only need to add 3 eggs.

Are you with me?

Sugar-free paleo doughnuts
Makes 6 doughnuts

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup almond milk or water
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut flour (not to forget that this is substituting the psyllium husk flour)
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour

1) Preheat oven to 375 and grease your wares - for this purpose, a doughnut pan. But I'm sure muffin tins would be just dandy.
2) Mix everything together EXCEPT the last 1/2 cup of coconut flour.
3) Once well-mixed, add the last 1/2 cup of coconut flour and mix just until incorporated.
4) Pour into baking-vehicles, say a little prayer, and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
5) When done, your baked goods will be springy. Tip them out onto a cooling rack and then wait a few minutes until you can handle them without scalding your fingertips.
6) Then go nuts with toppings! Like literally - nut butters, nuts. Cocoa, coconut cream, shredded coconut. If you don't care about sugar-free, then honey, maple syrup, icing - the possibilities are endless!

I topped this beauty with tahini and shredded coconut, inspired by a doughnut I had at the Back Lane CafĂ© in Hintonburg. It's definitely a different taste but I'm already addicted.

In the words of the man who has taught me much: "Mmmmmmm donuuuuuuut."

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