No messy frying step needed for deliciously satisfying, grain-free donuts. No donut pan? No problem. The recipe can be made as muffins instead!
I have a clear vision of the best donut I ever ate. It was from a cafe called Philz during a visit to Los Angeles several years ago.
My family and I stopped in to grab an early morning coffee, and the lightly glazed donuts tempted us from a glass dome beside the cash register.
A textural harmony of light and airy with a bit of cakey denseness, the donut was sweet, but not overly so, and basically my idea of pure donut perfection. Had I not been told, I never would have guessed it was vegan and gluten-free.
It was a reminder that ingredients－even untraditional ones－can come together in all sorts of delicious ways.
Curiously, I recently read that, in many cultures, donuts are thought to bring good luck, as the round shape symbolizes coming full circle.
So while a new year often brings talk of resolutions, many of which involve giving up treats we enjoy, I decided to offer a treat to embrace and feel good about.
I must point out that this donut is not a replica of the cafe donut I occasionally dream about. That one was over-sized and fried, whereas this one is baked and the portion size is more restrained. (Perfect for those who like to eat two!) And though my donut is gluten-free, it is not vegan.
The flavor is mildly nutty with undertones of vanilla and maple. The super-fine grind of blanched almond flour creates a tender, light crumb, and the eggs supply a bit of heft. Importantly, these gems are not in the least bit dry.
Although these donuts aren’t overly decadent, they do offer a truly simple, homemade fix that my family enjoys.
While the cafe donut was glazed, I offer a few easy alternatives: a two-ingredient maple icing (my favorite), a cinnamon sugar sprinkle, Nutella…or nothing at all. My husband is a fan of the unadorned donut. Until recently my sons preferred Nutella, but more recently they’ve opted for the maple icing.
As mentioned, the end of one year and the start of another typically comes with talk of resolutions, diets, and the notion that we should be giving up things. But in one way or another, we gave up a lot last year.
As such, it seemed like far more fun to come up with a list of things to enjoy, along with some lucky reasons why.
So as I sign off with wishes for a year filled with health, happiness, and good fortune, I leave you with my lucky list!
Foods to enjoy in the new year…and why:
- Donuts: the ring shape is said to be symbolic of coming “full circle.”
- In Spain, a new year is traditionally kicked off with 12 grapes. The idea is to eat one sweet grape for each month of the coming year.
- Noodles: in China, ancient superstition says dictates that, the longer the noodle, the longer the life. Fun fact: that’s also why people slurp their noodles. Biting them will break them into shorter pieces.
- Pork is a fixture in my hometown of Lancaster County, where it has long been linked with wealth and prosperity. Superstition suggests that because pigs root around with their snouts moving in a forward motion, whereas chickens scratch backwards, pork symbolizes progress. (More on poultry later.)
- For its promise of luck, longevity, and money, sauerkraut makes the list, too. According to Pennsylvania Dutch folklore, long shreds of cabbage represent long life, and the more shreds piled on the plate, the greater the prosperity.
- Though legend claims that poultry isn’t as lucky as pork on New Year’s Day – the wings suggest luck may fly away – breaking the wishbone is lucky. Also, ancient Romans saw chickens as predictors of the future and good luck omens. So, enjoy chicken any other day and save the wishbone!
- When lentils are soaked in water, they expand, and that makes them a symbol of prosperity.
- Cornbread’s golden color represents wealth and a golden year ahead.
- According to legend, eating a whole fish brings forth a wholesome, good year. In Asian and Northern European countries, the sheer magnitude of fish in the sea is also associated with abundance.
- Fortune cookies have long been associated with luck, hope, and prosperity…and it’s always so much fun to crack them open and share the message hiding within.
- Black-eyed peas have been consumed for luck in the south for generations, often in the traditional dish known as Hoppin’ John. Many theories exist as to why they are lucky, like the dried beans loosely resemble coins and that their expansion, when cooked, symbolizes increasing wealth.
- Have you wondered why greens, like collards, are frequently served with those black-eyed peas? Green is symbolic of money, and consuming them is thought to bring financial luck in the year ahead.
- In northern Europe where it is plentiful, herring is served to encourage bounty and prosperity. Herring is also said to be a sign of future fortune because the fish’s silver skin resembles coins.
- In Greece, pomegranates are not consumed, but instead crushed on the threshold of one’s home for the promise of good luck. (To avoid a messy stain, I might liken those ruby-colored arils to precious gems, which suggest good fortune and eat the sweet fruit instead!)