Forbidden Donuts

It was September 22nd and I was sitting on the floor of my parents' basement, unpacking from my London trip. I was rifling through my suitcase, pulling out all my race gear: heartrate monitor, aero helmet, running shoes stuffed with a finisher's medal and assorted GU's...

I lined all these things up on the floor and just stared at them. And then I started to cry. Real tears! Why?

Let's be clear: I had just disembarked from an international flight in which I had spent the duration of seven hours:

1. Watching the Karate Kid.

2. Poking a travesty of an airline BBQ chicken chunk with a plastic fork, willing it to be something better than what it was.

3. Begging my eardrums not to burst due to a raging sinus infection.

I was clearly not in good form.

The sight of my squished and useless racing flats stuffed with gooey carbs that I no longer required pushed me over the edge much like that unpainted fence post for Daniel-Son. Except now, the final tourney was over.

So I cried because it felt like the end of a relationship, rather than the end of a racing season. I had spent a year prepping for this race. A year of mental Olympics, early mornings, injuries, sweat and not eating things like donuts.

And so now I'm on the other side...the "off season", and even though I can stuff my face full of donuts, sleep in, and take it easy a bit, it feels like a loss somehow. At least for now.

So I am approaching those forbidden donuts with caution, much like my off season. Instead of committing to the full-fledged fried version, I baked them. And made them mini-sized. And gluten-free!

At the very least, this slightly healthier version makes me think I really CAN stuff my face full of them while sleeping in to the barbaric hour of 7am.

Go on...eat one...No, I shouldn't....Well, maybe just one. Or twelve...

Gluten Free, BAKED Cider Mini Donuts (for your on and off again season).

Recipe adapted from this one.

What You Need:

2 cups of apple cider, preferably freshly pressed; boiled down to yield 2/3 cups and cooled

8 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

½ cup almond or coconut milk

1 3/4 cups sweet sorghum flour

1 3/4 cups gluten free oat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground if possible

For the topping:

2 tablespoons melted butter (or coconut butter)

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

What You Do:

NOTE: I used a Sunbeam mini-donut maker. But you can pop them in the oven, too.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a food processor, cream the butter.  Add the coconut sugar and cream together.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.

Add the milk and reduced apple cider. Mix to combine.

In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (in the food processor) 1/4 cup at a time, mixing after each addition.

Prepare donut pans or donut iron with cooking spray.  Fill the donut cavities no more than 2/3 full.  Place in the oven for 7-9 minutes until donuts spring back to the touch. If using the Sunbeam donut iron, bake according to manufacturer's instructions.

Remove donuts and allow to sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Prepare the topping by mixing together the sugars and cinnamon in a small bowl. Lightly paint the melted butter onto the top of a donut with a cooking/basting brush.  Then, sprinkle the sugar and spice mix onto the buttered donut.