In a large bowl, place the yeast, warm water, and one teaspoon of the sugar and stir. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until thick. Add the remaining sugar, soy milk, margarine, egg, vanilla, salt, and 1 1/2 cups (190g) flour and mix—either with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer—on low speed. Add 1/2 cup (65g) more flour and mix in. Add 1/4 (30g) cup flour and mix in. If the dough remains sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough becomes smooth. Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel and let the dough rise for one hour in a warm place. I use a warming drawer on a low setting (about 200°F/90°C), or you can turn your oven on to its lowest setting, place the bowl in the oven, and then turn off the oven.
After one hour, punch down the dough by folding it over a few times and reshaping it into a ball. Re-cover the dough and let it rise for 10 minutes.
Dust a cookie sheet with flour. Sprinkle some flour on the counter or on parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it’s about 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) thick. Using a small round cookie cutter about 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2.5 to 4cm) in diameter, cut out small circles very close to each other and place them on the cookie sheet. Reroll any scraps. Cover the doughnuts with the towel. Place the cookie sheet back in the oven (warm but turned off) or warming drawer. Let the doughnuts rise for 30 minutes.
Heat 1 1/2 inches (4cm) of oil in a medium saucepan for a few minutes and use a candy thermometer to see when the oil stays between 365ºF and 370°F (185°C to 188°C); adjust the flame to keep the oil in that temperature range. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Place a wire rack on top of the cookie sheet and set it near the stovetop.
When the oil is ready, add the doughnuts to the oil one at a time, top-side down, putting an edge in first and then sliding in the rest of the doughnut; if you drop the doughnuts into the pan an inch or higher from the oil it can splatter and burn your fingers. You can fry up to eight doughnut holes at a time. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds Use tongs or chopsticks to turn the doughnuts over and cook them another 45 to 60 seconds, or until golden. Lift with a slotted spoon and place on the wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.
Either place the sugar in a shallow bowl and roll the doughnut holes in the sugar to coat OR make caramel sauce:
To make the caramel, place the sugar and water into a small or medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Let cook without stirring until the sugar on the edges starts to brown; this takes a few minutes. Once the sugar colors, stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula and cook until all of the sugar has melted and the mixture turns dark amber, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to low, remove saucepan from heat and add the soymilk or cream, butter or margarine and vanilla, and cinnamon and whisk. The mixture will bubble up. Place the mixture back on the stove over medium-low heat and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for one minute. Pour into a bowl and let cool. Store covered at room temperature for up to one week.
Store covered at room temperature for up to one day and reheat to serve.
reprinted with permission from The Holiday Kosher Baker © 2013 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Epicure.