That magical combination of salty and sweet in a gluten-free, dairy-free mini donut. Enjoy these little gems guilt-free!
I hope people clicking through to this recipe won’t become annoyed at the title because Healthy Salted Caramel Mini Donuts don’t contain caramel. Instead they contain something that is a great healthy substitute for caramel – Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bars (Lara Bar is the product/brand name and Peanut Butter Cookie is the flavor). Believe it or not, when you purée dates and peanuts together, which is all that a Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bar is, you get something that tastes remarkably like caramel and not at all like peanut butter. These bars are not as chewy and gooey as caramel but they are intensely sweet, and the flavor is about as close to caramel as the combination of any two all natural, whole foods could possibly be, which is why I knew they would work perfectly in a healthy version of mini salted caramel donuts.
The inspiration for Healthy Salted Caramel Mini Donuts came from a gorgeous wedding I recently attended at the Barn on Walnut Hill, a rustic but chic farmhouse set on 4 acres in North Yarmouth, Maine, about 20 minutes north of Portland. The wedding began with a short walk down a path that led guests into a Hansel and Gretel like woodland forest where, underneath a canopy of trees, the bride’s uncle officiated the ceremony and pronounced the happy couple husband and wife – an idyllic setting if ever there was one! A cocktail hour followed after which we were ushered into a massive tent nearby to enjoy a fabulous farm-to-table dinner. The first course was presented family-style and could have easily been a meal in itself, with the main course served more formally by wait staff who magically knew which entrees we had all selected even though many us had long forgotten the choice we made on the wedding rsvp card! (And no, there were no hints on the place cards – I looked!) After dinner we moved into the beautiful barn for dancing and dessert and that is where I nearly O.D.’d on salted caramel mini donuts!
When I’m at home I make an effort to eat healthy most of the time but when I’m at a special event or celebration, all bets are off. So, when I heard someone mention that the dessert table had mini salted caramel donuts on it, I immediately sent my husband over to get some and then proceeded to pop way too many in my mouth – they were simply too delicious to resist. I knew right then and there that I had to create a healthy version of these addictive little treats.
You need a nonstick 12-Cavity mini donut pan to make Healthy Salted Caramel Mini Donuts. I purchased mine on Amazon. You could probably substitute a mini muffin pan with good results. Don’t try to spoon the batter into the pan – the cavities are too small and you won’t be able to evenly distribute the batter. Instead put the batter into a plastic storage bag (baggie) or piping bag if you have one. Then, simply snip the end/corner off the bag to easily pipe the batter into the pan.
Healthy Salted Caramel Mini Donuts are gluten-free and dairy-free, and are made with almond flour, avocado oil, dates, peanuts, and unrefined coconut sugar. Salty, sweet, chock-full of wholesome ingredients, and utterly delicious!
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 Lara Bar - Peanut Butter Cookie flavor
- ½ cup (2 ounces) super fine almond flour
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (see note below)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a 12 cavity mini muffin pan with olive oil cooking spray.
- Cut the Lara Bar into 36 pieces (roughly the same size) and place 3 bits each (evenly spaced) into the cavities of the mini muffin pan.
- Combine the almond flour, avocado oil, egg, 1 teaspoon coconut sugar, vanilla, and baking soda and mix until smooth.
- Place the batter in a piping bag or plastic storage bag. Snip off a tiny piece of the corner/end of the bag and pipe the batter into the donut cavities.
- Bake for 10 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the donuts comes out clean.
- Combine 2 tablespoons coconut sugar with the sea salt in a medium bowl. Place 2 or 3 mini donuts in the bowl and toss with the sugar/salt mixture until the donuts are well coated. Repeat with remaining donuts. Makes 12 mini donuts.
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