If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or read my Newsletter, then you know that I recently started CrossFit. I didn’t jump in from nothing: I had been working out with my husband (at my local YMCA in a group exercise class called “Pure Muscle” that was an hour of lifting lightweight dumbbells) since January and had been doing yoga for years before that. I’ve been happy to see myself get stronger, but lately I’ve been craving more intense workouts and just plain ol’ more frequent workouts.
So on a whim, just over two weeks ago, I walked into a local box, CrossFit Dwala, and introduced myself. I did my first On-Ramp class a few days later, and then I was hooked. While my husband decided that it wasn’t for him and he would be happier continuing with the same classes at the Y, I quickly found that this was exactly what both my body and mind were craving.
I’ve been Paleo for 2.5 years. From the outside, I was always intrigued with CrossFit (the whole “functional movement” thing makes a lot of sense to me), but always saw it as something for elite athletes, young people, and certainly not for someone battling with three autoimmune diseases and just struggling to maintain her weight loss. Even six months ago, I (secretly) felt that people who did CrossFit 5 or 6 times per week were crazy; but now, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. Granted, I slowly built up a good base of strength and endurance before starting, I’m already feeling great doing CrossFit this frequently. I even arranged some personal training at my box during the weekend because the thought of going two whole days without a WOD was terrifying. I plan to go do Murph on Memorial Day (scaled of course), and if you’re in the CrossFit community, you know what that means. I’m already feeling stronger, and I have more energy than I’ve had in, well, in about a year… since before those last crazy over-the-top-stressful six months working on The Paleo Approach. Expect more posts on my CrossFit journey.
What does my newfound CrossFit obsession have to do with doughnuts, you ask? There’s actually a direct link. Tonight, my box is having their first Paleo Potluck. When the owner, Jake, invited me, he asked if I could bring a Paleo-friendly dessert. Actually, he was quite adamant that that was what I should bring. I guess he doesn’t bake? Or maybe I have a reputation for amazing desserts? Or maybe Jake just has an insatiable sweet tooth? Either way, it’s a special request that I am quite happy to oblige! At first, I mentally catalogued every dessert recipe I’ve ever created to figure out which would be the best for a potluck. And then, I had this crazy thought: even though I’m super busy finishing up The Paleo Approach Cookbook and really shouldn’t be spending any time doing recipe development right now when there is all this editing to do, wouldn’t it be awesome to finally work on that doughnut recipe I’ve been thinking of? Call it procrastination, call it inspiration, call it any excuse to make something with chocolate, but there you have it: the origin of the chocolate-glazed chocolate doughnut recipe.
Yes, this is another recipe using the almighty green plantain (also known as raw bananas is some parts of the world). The baking chemistry of green plantains beats out nut flours any day of the week. Scroll down to the bottom for a YouTube video I made about what these are and how to peel them! Is there a substitute for green plantain? Some people have had success with very green bananas in my plantain recipes. I haven’t tried, so I don’t know if that would work here. Hypothetically, you could mix plantain flour and water to the consistency of pureed plantain (sorta like thick hummus) and use that, but again, I haven’t tried.
I’ve made these with lard, palm shortening (ethical and sustainable Palm Shortening from Tropical Traditions) and ghee (I’ve discovered that the cultured grass-fed ghee from both Pure India Foods and from Mama Sattva work even for my crazy casein-sensitive daughter) and all work very well. I’m confident that butter would work too and I think coconut oil would be okay (but would probably yield a chewier texture since that’s what coconut oil does in cakey things). Coconut oil would be fine for the glaze though, just know it might be extra gooey if your room temperature is over 73F.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can completely customize the sweetness. I used bittersweet (72%) chocolate for the doughnuts and went super decadent and used semisweet (54%) for the glaze. You could scale the sweetness down for a very Paleo-adapted palate (say use 80% or 85% for the doughnuts and 72% for the glaze–but note that the recipe as is is not overly sweet) or scale the sweetness up if you’re making for a non-Paleo crowd (say semisweet for both the doughnuts and the glaze). I always look for organic, fair-trade chocolate with unrefined sugars (typically evaporated cane juice or maple sugar) that’s also completely soy-free. Fortunately, there are more and more brands to choose from (or my local stores are getting wise to the fact that there’s a market).
I used a mini-doughnut maker for these, one that a friend picked up for me for $2.50 at a garage sale. You could also use a doughnut pan and bake these in the oven. I’m guessing 7-8 minutes at 375F (if you try this, please comment on this post to let everyone know how it turned out).
So, without further adieu, here’s my recipe. If you make it tonight, you’ll be enjoying it along with everyone at my CrossFit box’s Paleo Potluck!
Yield: 12 mini doughnuts.
- 1 large green plantain
- 2 eggs
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate (see note above)
- 2 Tbsp lard, palm shortening or ghee (see note above)
- 1/2 tsp ground vanilla bean (optional)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- generous pinch salt
- Peel and quarter plantain and put in a blender with the eggs. Puree until completely smooth.
- Meanwhile, melt chocolate and lard together. Now would also be a good time to plug in your mini-doughnut maker.
- Add vanilla bean, baking soda and salt to the plantain-egg mixture in the blender. Blend a few seconds to combine.
- Turn blender on low, remove the little insert in the lid so you can pour stuff in. Slowly pour the warm chocolate-lard mixture into the blender and keep blending until it’s entirely incorporated.
- Once mini-doughnut maker is pre-heated, pour the batter into each well, filling to exactly level with the top of the well. Close the lid and cook for 6 minutes.
- Carefully remove and let cool on a wire cooling wrack before glazing. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Melt chocolate and ghee together, stirring well. Place in a shallow bowl.
- Carefully dip one side of each doughnut into the warm chocolate (if it starts to cool, it will coat the doughnuts more thickly and end up more like frosting than a glaze). Place doughnuts glaze-side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, wax paper or a silicone liner.
- Cool to room temperature (or hurry it up in the fridge or freezer) and enjoy.
You can store these doughnuts in the fridge, but then warm them up to room temperature before eating.
Watch this video from my YouTube Channel to learn more about green plantains: