If you thought donuts had to be fried to be good, please expect these super tender baked donut “holes” to thumb their noses at you. Come on, don’t be mad, you totally asked for it.
They are made with yeast but with no kneading involved, and surrounded with a scrump-a-licious coating of sugar and cinnamon. Truth is I’d take these over fried anytime, even though they’re not much healthier than their greasy counterparts. Another good thing is that if you cannot eat them all in one shot, they taste just as good the following day.
Now for the tips: If you have a regular size donut pan, put it to good use! If you have a muffin top pan, it will work well too. You will get 6 larger donuts using such pans, and the baking time will increase to about 22 minutes. But don’t go out of your way to purchase either one of these pans, because the donuts are just awesome baked in a standard muffin pan.
Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes:
1/2 cup (120 ml) any nondairy milk, heated to lukewarm, divided
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ounces (170 g) strawberry or peach or vanilla soy yogurt (replacing this same amount with reduced-fat nondairy mayo works really well too. honest!)
1/4 cup (56 g) nondairy butter
3/4 cup (144 g) evaporated cane juice, divided
2 1/2 cups (314 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon (8 g) ground cinnamon
Non-stick cooking spray
Combine 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk and yeast in a small bowl. Let sit a few minutes until bubbles appear, to ensure the yeast is active. Set aside.
Combine remaining milk, yogurt, butter, and 1/4 cup (48 g) evaporated cane juice in a small saucepan. Whisk while heating to lukewarm on low heat. Do not let the temperature rise higher than lukewarm, or it will kill the yeast. Use an instant-read thermometer to check that the temperature is around 100°F (38°C).
Combine with yeast mixture.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add wet ingredients into dry, stirring with a rubber spatula for a couple of minutes until thoroughly combined. Scrape the sides with the spatula and gather the dough in the center of the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 minutes.
Prepare the cinnamon sugar by mixing 1/2 cup (96 g) evaporated cane juice with the cinnamon.
Coat all the holes out of a standard muffin tin with spray. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar into each hole. Shake the pan so that the sugar coats the bottom and sides of each hole.
Using an ice cream scoop. divide the sticky batter into the muffin tin, filling each to about 3/4 of the way. Evenly top with 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise another 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Bake for 20 minutes, or until the visible dough is golden brown. Carefully remove from pan and transfer onto a wire rack to cool.
Yield: 12 donut holes