“In all my work, I try to say ‘You may be given a load of sour lemons, why not try to make a dozen lemon meringue pies?'”–Maya Angelou
One snow storm followed by another within the span of one week, and this snow was then followed by the coldest temperatures of the year. It seems that old man winter has already tossed a few iced lemons our way in the month of January. I can’t help but wonder what frosted goodies he has in store for February! Of course, there’s always the hope that January has dished up the worst that winter has to offer! Hey, it could happen . . .
Perhaps it was due to all of the snow, but I decided last week that if life was going to hand us lemons, I might as well make something out of those tart orbs of joy! Picking up a lemon in my hand last week, it reminded me of sunshine on crisp winter snow. I kept thinking of the way in which mid-morning winter sunlight slanted over trees that looked as if they had been dunked in a bag of confectioners sugar as decoration for the crystalized sugar frosted white hills. Those frolicsome winter rays make me feel as lighthearted as that vibrantly colored lemon in my hand.
Truthfully, I had already been researching the various ways in which I could bake gluten-free, plant-based donuts. Since my diagnosis of celiac disease over ten years ago, donuts are not something I necessarily crave, but every now and again, I think eating one would be a nice treat. In fact, it wasn’t until last year during a visit to Lexington, KY, that I actually ate my first gluten-free (and surprisingly plant-based) donut since that diagnosis at Gluten-Free Miracles Bakery & Cafe. Ever since enjoying the cakey-goodness of that treat, I have wanted to recreate it at home.
While I am dedicated to eating a whole-food plant based diet, with as little processed food as possible, I do believe in balance, and that includes occasional sweet treats–especially if I am the one controlling the ingredients. That said, it is not my desire to determine how others should eat. Everyone has to figure out what foods work best for their own unique bodies. Therefore, when creating this recipe, I tried very hard to make it as inclusive as possible, so no matter the dietary preferences, this is a doable and fairly easy recipe.
On a final note, my family (God bless them for being my ever-willing taste-testers.) found the limoncello to be overpowering in the glaze when it was first made; however, the taste mellowed within hours of mixing it. In fact, they determined that they preferred the glaze a bit thicker with only a small amount of lemon juice (1 tablespoon or less) and no limoncello. Additionally, in terms of flavor and texture, they preferred a light sprinkling of sparkling sugar over the glaze, but that is totally optional!
Regardless of how you choose to make this recipe, I sincerely hope that you do give it a try. Whether you dunk one of these lemony rings in coffee, tea, or favorite milk, or if you choose to simply serve it warm, enjoying it bite by tangy, sweet bite, may this recipe brighten and warm your heart with a taste of baked sunshine on a chilly winter day.
Blueberry Lemon-drop Donuts with Glaze
(with gluten-free and vegan options)
*2 eggs or fleggs
**1 ½ cup all purpose (gluten free) flour
¾ cup oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup milk
¼ cup applesauce (can substitute melted butter, melted vegan butter, or melted coconut oil)
⅓ cup fresh blueberries lightly dusted with (gluten free) flour of choice
1 cup confectioners sugar
***1-2 tablespoon limoncello, lemon flavored vodka, or lemon juice–depending on desired strength of flavor
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons favorite milk, if/as needed
If using “flegg,” mix together first and set aside as directed below
Zest lemon and set zest aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare two 6-donut pans by coating with non-stick baking spray or other preferred method of “greasing”
Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs (or fleggs) with vinegar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, sugar, syrup, milk, and applesauce (or butter or oil).
Stir into dry ingredients until just combined.
Gently fold in blueberries.
Divide batter evenly among donut pans.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping onto the rack to cool 5-10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, using a fork, stir together glaze ingredients using less liquid at first until desired consistency is reached with the glaze looking white and thick, rather than translucent and thin. Drizzle glaze, as desired, over donuts.
Sprinkle tops of glazed donuts with lemon zest, colorful sprinkles, crystal sugar, or chocolate sprinkles, if desired.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Can freeze, unglazed donuts up to one month in an airtight container.
*flegg = 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed with 5 tablespoons water, stir together gently, set in fridge 15 minutes
**Can use all-purpose flour if gluten-free variation is not needed due to allergy/celiac disease
***If a vanilla glaze is preferred, eliminate the limoncello, lemon flavored vodka, or lemon juice, and increase amount of milk as needed to achieve desired pourable thickness