Easter Weekend Dessert Series: Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

By Contributor: Alexandra Courts

The first in our Easter food series! Why spend time decorating eggs when you can bake treats instead?

Buy a doughnut pan. Seriously. It will change your life…or at least the way you think about homemade doughnuts. Ditch the deep fryer and opt for a light and cakey version that is both vegan and gluten-free!

IMG_1879

IMG_1881

This plain doughnut recipe that I’ve adapted from bonappetit.com is so simple, yummy, and healthy that you will ditch that love affair you might have had with your local bakery.

The recipe is as follows for these little cinnamon sugar babies:

Ingredients…

Doughnut Batter

  • 1 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (Melt a little extra to coat the trays with to prevent sticking)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions…

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush doughnut tray with coconut oil and set aside.

2) To make a “flax egg” (egg replacement) mix 1 part ground flax (1/2 tsp) with three parts (1 1/2 tsp) hot water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

3) In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Once combined, add flax egg, melted coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, vanilla extract and remaining hot water.

4) Spoon about 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into each doughnut mold.

5) Bake for 8 minutes, flip, then continue baking for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Let the doughnuts sit for 10 minutes before removing from tray.

6) Whisk together coconut sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut lightly into the sugary coating before serving.

Yields 12-15 doughnuts. Enjoy!

Onigiri: Vegan & Gluten-Free

Post by Aine Davis

Like most people who grew up in the ’90s, I watched a lot of anime as a kid. What I remember most vividly was the food the characters ate.  I salivated while watching my favourite characters bite into delicious dumplings, sushi, maki rolls and cakes.

But as a young vegetarian, I knew I’d never be able to bite into a delicious Japanese savoury pork bun.  So I did what any mature seven-year-old would do: I moved on.

Recently, I rediscovered my love for anime…oops! But this time, I had more tools at my hands, and I came up with a recipe for one of the most delicious Japanese foods: onigiri! “Onigiri” is the Japanese term for triangular rice balls traditionally wrapped in seaweed.

DSC_0049

What I love and admire about Japanese food is that most dishes are fresh and healthy. Minimal ingredients are used without using many spices or herbs, which allows each ingredient to shine.

onigiri-ingredients

onigiri-ingredients2

VEGAN ONIGIRI

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Pinch of cilantro, to taste
  • 2 scallion leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 standard avocado, cubed*
  • 1/2 standard cucumber, cubed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce, optional

Directions for Preparation:

  1. Steam rice. I used this helpful guide for the perfect sushi rice. Do not stir rice until fully cooked.
  2. Once rice has steamed, pour in rice wine vinegar. Move rice to a larger bowl and set aside. Let cool.
  3. Dice garlic, cilantro and scallions, and cut cucumber and avocado into small chunks. Immediately dress avocado with lemon juice so it does not spoil. *See photographed guide below photo guide below on how to properly cut an avocado.
  4. Toast sesame seeds. Place on a baking tray and put in oven at low heat. Let toast about 10 minutes or until seeds become fragrant.
  5. Once rice has cooled, begin to assemble the onigiri!

Use the photos below as a guide.

Directions for how to extract avocado:

DSC_0031

Cut avocado around the seed, split halves and extract seed with knife. Throw seed away. Slice squares into the avocado halves, but be sure not to break through the skin.

DSC_0032

Using a large spoon, slide spoon between the avocado meat and the skin. Scoop!

DSC_0034

Pop the avocado out of the skin. Boom!

Directions for Onigiri Assembly: 

  1. If the rice mixture is not sticky to touch, add a splash more rice vinegar.
  2. Spread out a large piece of plastic wrap evenly on cutting board.
  3. Add a large spoonful to the middle of the plastic wrap.
  4. Layer avocado, scallions, garlic, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Add another spoonful of rice on top of vegetables.

DSC_0037  DSC_0039

5.  Fold the four sides of saran wrap upwards, like this:

DSC_0043

6. Pinch the top in one hand…

DSC_0044

7. Spin the rice ball until the cling wrap is tight and the rice is closely packed.

DSC_0045

8. Shape the ball into a triangle. Unwrap from cling wrap carefully and roll in sesame seeds.

DSC_0042

Ta da! Serve with gluten-free soy sauce if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Te Amo, Te Aro

Post by Aine Davis

As a life long coffee lover, I felt like a kid in a candy shop when I moved to Toronto a few months ago. There are so many good things about Toronto cafés: the aroma, the atmosphere, the pastries.

As a recent vegan, I was miffed when it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be able to buy a treat with my coffee as easily as I used to. Vegan baking is difficult and I commend anyone who even attempts it! And yet, here I sit in Te Aro, sipping on a delicious soy cappuccino and chowing down on a tasty, moist, homemade banana rhubarb vegan muffin.

Not only does Te Aro bake their own tasty treats, but they roast their own coffee beans. Way too darn good. They’ve won a slew of awards this year including Roaster of the Year (2013) and Pilot Coffee Roasters. Their coffee? Undeniably amazing.

Te Aro (983 Queen Street East) is located in the quiet and charming neighborhood of Leslieville. It’s set back away from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street, giving it a calm and cozy feel. The interior is beautifully designed featuring slick black counters, hardwood tables and dangling exposed light bulbs. It’s pretty much like you’re sipping a coffee in the coolest log cabin of all time.

 IMG_6494

IMG_6491

With an ever changing seasonal menu, who needs Starbucks? Just look at all the options!

The kid’s menu is an interesting touch too and brings in quite the cute clientele. A popular drink among Te Aro’s youngest customers is the ‘Vanilla Fluffy’, which is steamed milk with vanilla syrup. Sounds delicious, right? Can adults order from the kid’s menu?! (I have asked and yes, in fact they can.)

IMG_6498

Te Aro offers a ton of different espresso options. You get to choose which espresso blend you would like for your drink. Personal recommendation? Big Bro.

Although I do not live in the east end, I enjoy heading out there to visit Te Aro from time to time. It’s like taking a mini vacation or visiting an old best friend. If you’re ever in the east end, do yourself a favour and stop in for a shot of espresso or two or fifty.