Sticky caramel, crunchy pecans and rosemary come together in these Healthy Caramel Donuts with Pecans & Rosemary. A flavour combination that you will love!
I love donuts but it is very hard to find vegan donuts (so hard that I’ve never found any yet) and even if I could I doubt they would be particularly healthy.
I wanted to come up with a healthier recipe than the standard fried, sugary donut. A lot of ‘healthy’ donut recipes online tend to be more cake like and don’t use yeast. I wanted to use yeast and bake them rather than fry.
What I came up with is a ‘grown up’ donut reminiscent of the pink bready sticky fingers I remember eating as a child only not so sweet and much better for you.
My yeasted baked donuts are topped with date caramel, toasted pecans and a scattering of fresh rosemary.
The combination of flavours in these Healthy Caramel Donuts with Pecans & Rosemary is amazing and I challenge you to stop eating after just one!
I made my Healthy Caramel Donuts with Pecans & Rosemary in a doughnut pan but if you don’t have one of these then you can just shape the dough into balls in your hands and flatten the tops slightly by pushing down on them. If you aren’t confident in shaping then you could even roll the dough out with a rolling pin to about an inch thick and cut the donuts out with a cookie cutter or the top of a clean jar/glass.
Healthy Caramel Donuts with Pecans & Rosemary
For the doughnuts
- 220g | 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour , or half white all purpose and half whole wheat
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (you may sub this for any other kind of granulated sugar)
- 120mls | 1/2 cup non dairy milk , + 1 or 2 tablespoons if necessary
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil , in liquid form. Make sure it isn't too warm.
For the date caramel
For the sprinkles
- 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecan nuts
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- In a medium bowl add the flour, salt, yeast (making sure they don't touch), flax seeds and sugar.
- Mix well
- Pour in the coconut oil and mix again until well combined.
- Add the milk, starting with the half a cup. Mix well (I often use a standard dinner knife to do this as I find it easier than with a spoon or a spatula).
- If it comes together well and doesn't look too dry then you will not need to add the extra milk. If however it looks dry add some more a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together well.
- Scrape your mixture onto a clean and dry surface. If you think you will find kneading like this difficult then grease your surface and your hands with some mild olive oil or some coconut oil. This will make it easier to handle. Do not use more flour to knead on or add more flour during the process! If you do you risk your doughnuts becoming dense and brick like!
- Start kneading.
- If you are not experienced in kneading dough I recommend you watch a video on You Tube to help perfect your technique. You will need to knead for about 10 minutes. Your dough will start out quite sticky but the more you knead the smoother and less sticky it will become. After roughly ten minutes your dough will be smooth and if you try to squeeze the ball of dough flat between your two hands it will bounce back into it’s ball shape quite readily.
- Use a little bit of mild olive or coconut oil to grease your mixing bowl and put your dough in it and twist around to ensure the surface area is coated in oil.
- Cover with a damp dish towel, cling film or a shower cap and leave in a draft free area until doubled in size. The time this takes will vary depending on how warm your kitchen is but bear in mind that the longer it takes to rise, the more flavour there will be so unless you are in a hurry you don’t want to rush it by cranking up the heating or putting it somewhere very warm. Mine took about 70 minutes.
- Once your dough has doubled scrape it onto your work surface again (a dough scraper is a great investment and makes life so much easier!) and knead gently for a few turns to remove any excess air bubbles.
- Now it is time to shape your doughnuts.
- Split the dough into 10 even pieces.
- Grease your donut pan or baking tray.
- If you are using a doughnut pan roll each piece of dough into a sausage shape and place in your doughnut pan and pinch the 2 ends together.
- If you don't have a doughnut pan then shape your dough pieces into balls, put on your tray and flatten the tops with the palm of your hand.
- Cover again with a damp dish towel, cling film or a shower cap and leave in a draft free area until doubled in size again.They won't take as long this time. Mine took 30 minutes.
- While they are rising preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Once your doughnuts have doubled put them in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. You want them to be just cooked. You don't want them to get crusty or colour at all so keep an eye on them.
- Remove your doughnuts from their pan and cool on a cooling rack.
- While they are cooling make your date caramel.
- Pit your dates and add them to a food processor. Add the almond butter, vanilla extract, water and salt and process until completely smooth.
- Taste to check it tastes good. If you enjoy salted caramel you might want to add a little bit more salt.
- Run your fingers down the rosemary stems to detach the leaves. Discard the stalks and chop finely.
- Spread the caramel on the top of the cooled doughnuts.
- Sprinkle with your chopped pecans and finally the rosemary.