Baked Spinach Donuts with Chocolate Frosting
Yields: about 10 – 12 donuts Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes
These delectable little treats are baked, a cross between a doughy bagel and a fluffy donut and are loaded with spinach to bring a healthy green color to the party!
2 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups fresh spinach (packed)
1/4 cup avocado oil (or preferred oil)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
**If using ganache frosting (see update towards the bottom of the page)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine white flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, salt and ground nutmeg in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
3. In a food processor, place 2 cups (packed) fresh spinach, one cup cane sugar, 1/4 cup avocado oil, vanilla and lemon juice. Pulse until pureed.
4. Slowly incorporate wet spinach mixture into dry ingredients until sticky dough forms.
5. Dough will be sticky, so I found it helpful to wet my hands lightly with water as I scooped about 1/4 cup of dough in my hands. First, I rolled into a snake about 3/4 – 1 inch in diameter (think back to playing with playdough) and then made a donut shape by bringing the two ends together.
6. On a parchment paper lined baking tray, lay down each donut as you finish forming it. Give enough space for the dough to cook and spread (at least 3 inches or so apart).
7. Bake at 375 degrees for about 11- 13 minutes. Let donuts cool.
8. While donuts are cooling, melt 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a saucepan. Within a few minutes, a chocolate sauce appears, ready to coat the donuts. Coat or swirl or drizzle on donuts as desired. (Here is a great recipe for Chocolate Avocado Frosting!) We used dye-free sprinkles for an extra touch! Best stored in refrigerator, but can be stored on the counter or in the freezer.
Here we come to a holiday that is often filled with artificial food dye. So, I am at it again to create a colorful and fun food that is not only delicious, but also has some health benefits as well.
Enter these donuts. Well, I think you can call them donuts. They are a little bit soft like a bagel (not so much chewy) and yet have a fluffy sweetness (and shape) that give them some donut cred.
They are baked, so right there, the elimination of frying is huge. I added 2 cups of fresh spinach to give them a nice and bright green color. I did use some organic white flour because it helps the green stay brighter and not dull as it would with a darker flour such as whole wheat.
There is a cup of sugar in the whole batch of about a dozen, plus the chocolate frosting, so it’s not a complete health food. That’s my point though – I like to create food that tastes like an indulgence, yet I don’t feel crummy afterward. Plus, my kids aren’t affected by artificial food dye or massive amounts of sugar with no other substantial ingredients (such as whole wheat pastry flour, spinach and avocado oil).
And people always ask - can you taste the spinach? Honestly, not really. Spinach (especially fresh, probably because you usually use less) is a mild vegetable to add to baked goods, but adds great color. Sugar and chocolate frosting also help cover any taste!
Last year was all about spinach cookies for St. Patrick’s Day (see recipe for Spinach Sugar Cookies and Avocado Frosting), so this year will be donuts. Celebrate away and enjoy your green food without icky chemicals.
**UPDATE (like 6 days later, but an update, nonetheless): So, as a perfectionist, the frosting was bothering me a bit. So, I played around with a ganache-ish coating. It results in the donuts frosted below. If you are interested in this look/taste, mix the chocolate chips, about 2 tablespoons of whole milk and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract in a double boiler (heat proof container that warms ingredients over boiling water).
It takes about 8-10 minutes to melt the chocolate, but it smoothes out beautifully. Just dip the donuts in the chocolate and place on a cooling rack over a lined baking tray to catch the drips. In the photo below I also made mini donuts, so that's why they are smaller.