Baked Chocolate Banana Donut Holes*

*NOTE:  These “donut holes” are really just glorified mini-muffins, but, what’s wrong with a glorified mini muffin?!?
Though I often think disparagingly of made-up “holidays,” I couldn’t resist taking part in National Donut Day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my sibling, cat, and donuts, but inventing Hallmark or Instagram holidays just for their celebration seems a bit insincere to me.  I celebrate my sister by telling her I love her, I celebrate my cat by petting him, and I celebrate donuts by eating them — no public festivities needed!  I do, however, feel very differently about my birthday…public festivities are indicated then 😉

Instead of defaulting to my go-to fried donut recipe, I figured I’d experiment today with a “lighter” version.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m opposed to “healthy desserts,” on principle, but I certainly appreciate the desire for a less-heavy, less-Crisco-ey, less-oh-my-goodness-I’ll-be-1000-pounds-if-I-eat-all-of-these-ey baked good every now and then.  Just be sure to approach such desserts with Realistic Expectations (my version of the Charles Dickens classic).
These donut holes are baked instead of fried, contain minimal oil, and rely mainly on natural banana sweetness.  As such, the texture isn’t a dead-ringer for a Krispy Kreme donut, but it IS charmingly cakey, pleasantly moist, and delicately sweet.  Let’s be real here, if you want the Krispy Kreme, have the Krispy Kreme — if you want a lighter donut, make these!
If you have a mini-muffin pan, your donut holes will look more donut-holey than mine, which I made in a regular muffin pan.   I have also heard rumors of successful donut holes baked in special cake pop pans, so feel free to whip that out if you’ve got one.  If you have one of those fancy-schmancy donut pans, certainly go ahead and bypass the donut holes to make full-on donut rings!  Just be aware that baking times will vary with pan sizes/colors/materials.  Which ever pan you use, donut be a stranger to this recipe!


Baked Chocolate Banana Donut Holes*

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 egg

1/4 cup vanilla almond creamer (or almond milk…just up your sugar if you use unsweetened)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1/4 cup coco powder

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons Coco Wheats (I like the texture added by the farina, but I know it’s not a common item, so if you don’t have Coco Wheats, just add an extra 2 tablespoons of flour)

2 tablespoons coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened, your call!)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Coconut oil spray and granulated sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together banana, egg, creamer/milk, vanilla, oil, sugar, and flaxseed.  In a separate bowl, use a fork to aerate and combine coco powder, flour, Coco Wheats/flour, coconut, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Use a rubber spatula to fold dry ingredients into wet, JUST until combined.  [Now would be a GREAT time to mix in some mini chocolate chips and/or walnuts, if you’d like]  Chill 10 minutes.

Place tablespoonfuls of batter in 12 greased muffin tin cups (if you use a mini muffin pan instead, just fill them 3/4 full — probably yields 16-18 mini-muffin “holes”).  If using regular  muffin tin, as I did, bake 11-12 minutes, until tops no longer appear wet.  Let sit in pan 3 minutes, then carefully use a butter knife or offset spatula to tip donut holes sideways in the pan to prevent steam-trapping and soggy bottoms.  Let cool, then spray with coconut oil and sprinkle with (or roll in) granulated sugar.  Store in airtight container.  IMG_7424


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