When I was a little kid, my mom had this cake she made every year for Easter. It was made to look like the Easter Bunny's face and covered in coconut, to mimic the Easter Bunny's fluffy white coat. Little pieces of candy decorated this coconut covered bunny face to illustrate bunny eyes, nose and mouth. The coconut covered frosting was always my favorite part though. I guess that's why when I started brainstorming for springtime Easter recipes, coconut was the ingredient that repeatedly came to mind.
Part of me felt like I had to come up with something cutesy and shaped like bunnies or Easter eggs, but alas, I just wasn't being hit with any cutesy Easter critter inspiration. So, I tried for a more practical approach. What would I bring to Easter brunch?
I've had this donut pan sitting at the back of my pantry for quite some time now. This happens a lot. I learn about something I haven't cooked yet, in this case baked donuts, get all excited and buy the necessary ingredients or equipment, and then forget about this new awesome food that I wanted to make until one day it falls from the pantry shelf and hits me in the head. In this instance the timing couldn't have been better. Everything soon came together in the form of lemon coconut donuts.
I found eating baked donuts from my donut pan to be oddly satisfying. Yeah, I recognize that the point is to feel like you're eating something fried and thus way badder than you really are, and I usually don't buy into that kind of thing, but I really think it works here! I should also mention that you can achieve this without a donut pan (even thought the donut pan rocks), by just rolling your dough into donut holes. Donut holes are really satisfying too. You just gotta eat a few more of them ;)
Vegan Lemon Coconut Donuts
Adapted from here
Makes about 8 donuts (or 24 donut holes)
3 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (could sub all purpose)
1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup vegan margarine, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unflavored, unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 cup shredded coconut, divided
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 and spray donut pans or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together flax seeds and water. Set aside and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in small bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together margarine and sugar. Add flax mixture then milk, maybe just a bit at a time to avoid splashing, and lemon extract. Add in dry ingredients and blend until a uniform dough is formed. Fold in 1/2 cup coconut.
If you're making the "full" donut form of this recipe, distribute dough among donut forms. I found the best way to do this was by spreading it around with my hands. Otherwise, just roll dough into 24 balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and remove from pan before glazing.
While baking, whisk glaze ingredients together, using as much powdered sugar as needed to get the right consistency. Drizzle glaze over donuts and top with remaining 1/2 cup of coconut.