I have a confession to make. I know the Northeast has been in a panic ever since we started hearing news reports earlier this week of the massive snowstorm coming our way (and just briefly: naming it "Nemo"? Really?). But me? I have been beside myself with excitement. First, I love snow. But more importantly, two or three days forced to be holed up in my apartment alone, with no option of going out? That might sound awful to some people, but to me, it sounded like the best gift I could have asked for right now. The last few weeks (and really, last several months) have felt like a whirlwind and a roller coaster. I've been too busy, too rushed, and over-committed. Dealing with some personal struggles (as I guess all of us are, all of the time.) I'm very social and love being with my friends, but as a natural introvert, that also tends to wear me down. And I have been doing a bad job of carving out regular time for myself to recuperate. This forced (and wonderful) solitude is a perfect reminder to be more mindful about taking better care of myself in this way. It shouldn't take a historic snowstorm for me to take the time I need!
So when I heard about Nemo and its up-to-3-feet of snow, I immediately started making plans. Creating a queue of shows to watch and books to read. Getting my cleaning supplies ready to give my apartment a good once-over. And of course, scouring food blogs to decide what I'd bake, and what I'd cook. And when I came across this recipe on the blog Hope for Healing, it shot to the top of my list.
First of all, chocolate? Yes. Check. Second, no refined sugar needed? Double check! I love using dates as natural sweeteners for my chocolate chip cookie dough bites, and I was intrigued to see how they'd turned out in a baked good.
The answer? Beautifully. I adapted the recipe a bit (as I usually do), but stayed mostly true to the original. And these are simply fabulous. They are rich and chocolatey, and oh-so moist! Other donut recipes I've tried to convert from the regular gluten-ful versions have ended up being kind of dry, but not these. These are donuts, friends. I have been tasting them at regular intervals (of course, purely in the interest of quality control for you, dear readers), and I can attest to their shelf stability a day later - they are still as moist and delicious as they were yesterday.
I sprinkled mine with a combination of powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder, but you could definitely ice these as well. Maybe add some sprinkles, because sprinkles make people happy.
But whatever your plans are, no matter how busy you are, try to take some time to do something that replenishes your energy and makes you happy. For me, that was baking these donuts. Maybe for you, it would simply be eating these donuts. (Please email me if that is the case because good God, I should not eat 18 mini donuts by myself.)
Date-sweetened Chocolate Donuts (Adapted from this lovely recipe on Hope for Healing)
Makes 18 - 24 mini donuts
1/2 cup pitted and chopped dates
1/2 cup gluten-free chocolate chips
1/2 + tbsp. boiling water
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. salt (feel free to reduce this - I added extra because it pairs so nicely with chocolate)
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tbsp. coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp. chia seeds + 1 tbsp. water (mix together and let sit for 5 minutes until it's a gel)
2 1/2 tbsp. melted coconut oil
2 1/2 tbsp. So Delicious Almond Milk (or other non-dairy milk)
Powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon to top
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two mini donut pans with cooking spray (click to see which donut pan I have and love).
In a small bowl, combine the dates, chocolate chips, and boiling water and set aside for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until relatively cooled. Stir about halfway through to make sure the chocolate chips are fully melted. When it is cooled, blend very well in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients (tapioca starch, sorghum flour, almond meal, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and coconut sugar) in a medium mixing bowl. Be sure to sift them together - especially the coconut flour, which clumps easily. Add the processed chocolate-date mixture, chia seed gel, coconut oil, and almond milk and mix well together.
Place the batter in the mini donut pans, filling them about 3/4th of the way full. (If you fill them too much, they won't have a donut hole by the time they're finished! Just an aesthetic concern, really.) Place in the oven and bake for 13 - 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and they are slightly springy. Remove from oven and let sit in the donut pans for another 5 - 7 minutes before removing (or they will fall apart). When they're stable, remove with a knife and place on a cooling rack. When they are completely cooled, sprinkle with the mixture of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon, or add the topping of your choice.
Store in an airtight container if there are any left over.
*The original recipe called for 2 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder to be added to the batter; I forgot to add it and mine turned out great, but I can't imagine that more chocolate would be a bad thing! So go on and add it if you're so inclined.
**I think that adding some mini chocolate chips to the batter would also be pretty delightful, although I haven't tried it myself.
***I didn't try making these into donuts by frying them, but the batter consistency makes me unsure about whether it would work. So be forewarned if you decide to try that - but let me know how it turns out if you do!
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