It’s here. The season I love to hate. Or hate to love. Yes, definitely hate to love: Girl Scout Cookie Season.
For the past few years, I’ve avoided purchasing any all together, but this year a special girl in my life was selling them, and I just couldn’t let her not win the special prize for selling the most boxes, right???? But really, girl scout cookies happen only once a year, and the two boxes I purchased aren’t going to be the end of the world, as long as I don’t eat them all in one sitting. In fact, I’m proud to announce that a week in, and only one box has even been opened!
This is what we call MASSIVE WILLPOWER over in my house. Plus, now that I have these donuts, that opened box of samoas isn’t drawing me in quite so heavily. The unopened thin mints in my freezer? Well, that’s an other story. Those long tubes of cookies are portion control’s worst nightmare. Oh, you say all of these delicious cookies come in 2 tubes? Well, clearly one tube is a “serving”, right?
I’m actually trying to save them for when I decide just how I want them to be a part of a cupcake, or milkshake, or cookie inside of a cookie.
So how did I make these indulgent cookies into a completely vegan, and health(ier) dessert? Well, the donut part was easy. I have a pretty basic donut recipe that I love, and it didn’t require too much tweaking. Chocolate and coconut? Piece of cake. I don’t even buy that sweetened coconut. I love the finely shredded unsweetened low fat stuff. You can, of course, use whatever you want, but if I can get that delicious coconutty taste without the added sugar, I’ll take it!
The caramel portion was tricky. I’ve seen date caramel all over the internet, and I’d been dying to try it. Dates are so sweet and gooey that it seemed like they could definitely do the trick! So I got out the food processor, played around, heated the mixture on the stove a little to get that extra-gooey effect, and voila! Now, I’m gonna be real with you here. It doesn’t just just like that gooey buttery caramel we’re all used to and love. It is not an exact replica, but it does give you a sweet, caramel texture with no added sugar. I could have just eaten it with a spoon if I didn’t have donuts to make!
And not just any donuts–ultra soft, pillowy donuts that taste like biting into a sweet, fluffy cloud. I don’t know why anyone fries these things when they bake up perfectly soft and sweet on their own. Add rich, bold dark chocolate, and you have everything you could ever need in a dessert.
**Note: To get closer to the Samoas look, you can also coat the bottom in chocolate, but I was trying to keep this light, so I just drizzled it on the top. Also, you can totally drizzle it in a straighter line for the resemblance I tried…we all have our strengths and weaknesses 😉
yield 6 donuts
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- dash salt
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, divided use
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 20 pitted dates (and water for soaking)
- 2 tbsp reduced fat unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil, at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 325. Spray a donut pan with nonstick spray, and set aside.
- Place dates in a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to soak while you prepare the donuts.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, corn starch and salt. Stir in 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp almond milk, vanilla and melted coconut oil. Gently stir until ingredients are just combined.
- Evenly divide batter between 6 donut molds. Smooth out tops. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in molds.
- Transfer dates + 2-3 tbsp of water from soaking to your food processor. Process until dates begin breaking down to more of a paste, about 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt (you can also add a dash of vanilla extract if you’d like) and 2 tbsp almond milk. Continue to process until a caramel texture forms, about 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to a small saucepan, and cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes whisking constantly. Return back to the food processor, and blend again for about one minute.
- Top donuts with date caramel sauce, followed by a heavy pinch of coconut.
- Melt chocolate and room temperature coconut oil in the microwave for about 90 seconds, stirring every 20-30 seconds. Transfer melted chocolate to a large ziplock bag. Snip off the corner of the bag, and drizzle chocolate over donuts. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 5-7 days.