There is a time and place for fried donuts. Now and here are the time and place for the baked donut. You're talking to (listening to? reading from?) a nutrition major who thrives off of physical activity... and who can't imagine the thoughts of 1) bringing cups of oil to proper temperature for frying and 2) beginning my day with fried dough everyday for a week (I'm the one who eats the fruit of my labor, duh).
Like I said, though, there is a time and a place. I still vividly remember my first "real" fried donut after spanning some two or three years without sinking my teeth into such a luscious sugary fried hunk of dough. 'Twas my freshman year of college and I had finally found a group of girls with whom I knew God matched me (sometimes He answers prayers quickly - this was not one of those times). At the time, a less-than-loving relationship with food gripped me tightly, and since I just began living on my own, restriction came easier than ever. But then - and this probably will seem like the opposite of a challenge for some of you reading this, but for those who understand... well, you understand - I was faced with a challenge when this group of girls invited me along on a late-night donut run. Unable to say no, I sat in the car on the way to the shop pep-talking myself into this whole ordeal.
We walked into SLO Do Co. and I scanned the wall of donuts (yes, it's real) for something - anything - that seemed lowest in sugar and fat. Reality bluntly reminded me that it's a d o n u t shop, Haley, so now is not the time for nutrient analysis. I still tried! And I ended up absolutely loving every single bite of my old-fashioned maple donut and every single minute of that night.
That was a time for fried donuts. After a night out downtown or line-dancing, it's time for fried donuts. Really anytime but breakfast, I think, is the time for fried donuts. No matter how good the cinnamon crumb cake donut or the maple bacon (probably my new favorite, shamelessly) is, neither sounds too appealing first thing in the morning.
That baked donut though... now that sounds good. And let me tell you why with regards to this recipe in particular, because I know from experience working at a donut shop that the word "baked" in front of "donut" turns many people off like "vegan" in front of "cheese".
The oat flour provides MUCH more protein than the average person might give it credit for, being gluten-free and all. If you're a morning-workout person like myself, protein is a priority.
The sweetness is there, but it's subtle - subtle like I wish I could be sometimes. A fourth of a cup of honey seems tiny for an entire recipe, and maybe it is, but that honey works harmoniously with the banana, the chunks of dates, and the yogurt drizzle to prevent cardboardy-ness.
The oven takes the deep-fryer's place and, well, just trust me - you won't miss it.
The baked donut is the one you can wake up with every morning, aside a warm cup of coffee, after a tough workout, or however you take your breakfast. The fried donut is like that monthly trip to Whole Foods, while the baked donut is the weekly trip to trusty Trader Joe's, ya' know? A splurge on one hand, and a staple on the other. Yes - baked donuts should be a weekly thing in your kitchen.
Makes about 6 medium-size donuts
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp. coffee
2 tbsp. almond milk
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup oat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus more for topping
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp. almond milk
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a donut pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, and honey. Slowly pour in the coffee and almond milk while mixing on low speed. Add in the coconut oil and vanilla extract and mix for 1-2 more minutes, or until a few air bubbles appear (it should be frothy).
Stir in the oat flour, baking powder, spices, chopped pecans and dates until combined. Portion the dough into the donut pan, filling each cavity about 3/4-full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before removing.
While the donuts cool, prepare the icing by whisking together the ingredients until smooth. When ready, drizzle the icing over the top of each donut (more or less as preferred) and top with crushed pecans.
Serve immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. You will have extra icing, so drizzle more on each time you serve or save it for another batch.