Baked Cinnamon Spice Carrot Doughnuts
Yields: about 10 doughnuts Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes
Shredded carrots are sprinkled throughout these handmade healthy baked treats, while a delicious cream cheese maple glaze coats the top. Two options for frosting make these a perfectly decadent, yet healthier doughnut for any festive celebration!
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded carrots (about 1 to 2 medium carrots), plus a little extra for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup avocado (or preferred) oil
1 teaspoon unsulphured molasses
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting*:
1/4 cup cream cheese
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For maple sugar frosting*:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*(Depending on how much you use, each frosting recipe could stretch to frost all 10 doughnuts)
**Also, you can adjust the thickness by using the recipes above as a base, and then adding more liquid (syrup) or solid (cream cheese or powdered sugar) to increase or decrease thickness.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) and milk and let sit.
3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients including the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mix well.
4. Using the small end of a box grater, use about 1 or 2 carrots to make 1 cup of grated carrots. Mix carrots into dry ingredient bowl.
5. To dry ingredients, add oil, molasses, vanilla, and milk mixture. Combine with a fork until well mixed. Keep a few tablespoons of flour handy in case dough is too sticky to handle.
6. Take out a handful (about 1/4 cup or so) of dough at a time. Lightly roll between your palms as if you were playing with your 5-year old making a dough snake, until the dough is about an inch thick or so. Bring the two ends of the “snake” together and form a circle, keeping intact the open hole in the middle (thus forming a doughnut).
7. Place dough rings on a lined (I prefer parchment paper) baking tray about 2 inches or so apart to allow space for spreading.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 11 – 13 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. (If we are not going to eat immediately, I often freeze at this point and then pull out of the freezer when we want them and frost before serving).
10. If making a frosting, prepare in a bowl. When the doughnuts are cool, I have found the easiest way to frost is to dip the doughnuts face down in the bowl. Turn your wrist as you pull it out of the frosting bowl, and let sit on a wire rack. I added a bit more shredded carrots for garnish, but that's optional. Store in the refrigerator for 3 - 5 days.
These are a treat that really show how from scratch they are… no two are alike! They are literally hand-crafted to perfection. I still have yet to buy a doughnut pan as I’m not sold on the non-stick coatings on the commercially available ones. So, until I am more comfortable with what these pans are coated, I’m going to make these un-uniform doughnuts by shaping them with my hands.
While the doughnut itself is pretty low in sugar, the frosting makes up for it. However, if you go the cream cheese frosting route, you get a little protein and no refined sugar. This also is reminiscent of carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting.
The maple and powdered sugar frosting is what scored highest in our house. The younger two went for it hands down. It is delicious, yet does have refined sugar. It all depends on your taste and your preference when it comes to the frosting. As noted above, the recipes for the frosting could lightly frost the whole batch. What I do is split each recipe in half and make both cream cheese frosted doughnuts and the sweeter counterpart with the maple syrup and powdered sugar.
Remember, these doughnuts are baked, and are done so with very little oil. While I am not afraid of fat in my food, as there are so many benefits to healthy fats, these really stand out from a traditional fried doughnut. Not only do they also have whole wheat flour, they also boast a whole cup of shredded carrots. This orange veggie gets its color from beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body, assisting in immune health among other things.
So, while you’re enjoying a delicious baked doughnut, you are also getting a dose of nutrition!