Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Paleo Apple Cider Donut Holes

Seasons greetings, everyone!

It's that beautiful time of year again.  Our family is certainly getting into the Christmas spirit here, breaking out the decorations, and enjoying some holiday baking together.  We're delighted with all the amazing, gluten-free Paleo recipes that are being shared, and hope to try as many as we can!

Last week, I shared with you a review of our newest toy: a Nostalgia Electrics Cake Pop and Donut Hole Maker. This really is a nifty little kitchen gadget, that turns out amazingly good baked treats that are totally Paleo-compliant, with virtually no mess, in very little time, and without the need to fire up the oven.  For those still shopping, this would make a great gift for under $25, for anybody who loves to cook. Aside from sweet treats, I managed to create this very easy and tasty recipe for savory Sweet Potato Mini Crab Cakes.  They turned out wonderfully, and will definitely be on the regular recipe rotation in our household.  I couldn't believe how fast the cake pop maker turned these out; taking only seven minutes to completely cook through to light, fluffy, golden-brown deliciousness.  I wish I had picked up one of these machines sooner!

Once again, I have to thank Lea over at for inspiring this whole cake pop/donut hole adventure, with her recipe for Paleo Apple Cider Donuts.  Lea has an actual mini donut maker, but her recipe worked perfectly in our cake pop maker, too.  We have a couple takes on Lea's recipe now.  The first couple times I made these, I didn't have any apple cider in the house, so I substituted the same amount in orange juice.  That transformed the recipe into wonderful, moist, little orange spice cakes, and I highly recommend giving that version a try, too.

Here's now our cake pop/donut hole version of Lea's original recipe, which my daughter also helped decorate for the holidays.  Not to worry if you don't have a cake pop maker or donut machine: a fan from Facebook has successfully made this recipe in her mini muffin pan, baked at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.  I've also included our recipe for the optional glaze, which is easily made corn- and dairy-free, by making your own homemade powdered sugar, and substituting coconut oil for butter.  Simply combine a cup of granulated cane sugar in your food processor with a tablespoon of arrowroot starch, and pulse, to make a good Paleo substitute for powdered sugar. Kids of course love any kind of sprinkles and decorations (not exactly Paleo, but more for the presentation and fun-factor).  Still, my favorite was topping these off with cinnamon and sugar.  That really helped the flavors shine through.  Experiment and be creative!

Paleo Apple Cider Donut Holes

Makes 12 large cake pops/donut holes


For the cake pops:

  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp Real Salt
  • *optional decorating sprinkles and candy toppings

For the optional cinnamon sugar coating:

  • 1/2 cup granulated organic cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 2 tbsp grassfed butter/coconut oil/ghee (softened and spreadable)
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp water


  1. Preheat donut hole maker. (Alternate: bake in mini muffin pan/donut pan in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut oil, and honey. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt, breaking up any lumps.
  4. Mix dry ingredients into the wet. 
  5. Add apple cider, and stir until evenly combined.
  6. Using a cookie dough scoop or small ice cream scoop, fill a heaping mound of batter into the compartments of the donut hole maker.
  7. Close the lid, careful to latch tightly, and set your timer for four minutes.
  8. As the machine is very hot, using oven mitts, carefully pick up the donut hole maker and flip it over onto its front side, onto a heat-safe surface.  This is the secret to having nice, uniform, evenly round and browned results.
  9. After four minutes, unplug the donut hole maker, and flip it back over onto its back.  Let it continue to cook for three more minutes.  There is enough residual heat to continue the cooking process, without over-browning the outside edges.
  10. After three minutes, carefully open the machine, and transfer the donut holes to a cooling rack.  Allow to cool fully before attempting to frost and decorate.
  11. While donut holes are cooling, prepare the glaze and toppings.
  12. To make the glaze, in a small bowl, combine butter/coconut oil/ghee with powdered sugar, incorporating half a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time, mixing thoroughly.
  13. Add water incrementally, to form a smooth, slightly runny paste.
  14. Dip cooled donut holes in glaze and decorate with sprinkles and/or cinnamon-sugar blend.
Our first batch of these holiday donut holes turned out great, and we can't wait to make more to share with our friends and family.  We certainly hope you will, too!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!


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