Friday, August 1, 2014

Quinoa Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Holes

I can't think of a Summer road trip my family took that didn't include at least one stop at a doughnut shop. Originally, the only joint along our 2 hour drive north was a (relatively seedy) gas station / coffee shop that reeked of fumes from both the trucks' exhaust pipes and years of cigarette smoke that infused into every molecule of the place. Later on, Tim Hortons became more common and soon my sister and I would get to choose a mid morning treat as a "reward" for not killing each other for the last hour. Almost always, our tastes would run to the chocolate-based items, while my mom favoured the "healthier" berry and bran muffins. My dad, though, loved his old fashioned doughnuts. Without much to hide behind, the dense crumb is a perfect marriage of sweet and "starch", with the merest whisper of nutmeg. While I don't think I'd opt for a full doughnut in that style, the doughnut holes rolled in a cinnamon sugar crust were definitely enjoyed when I found them in a snack pack!

Of course, all those treats were packed full of refined wheat, egg, dairy and sugar, not to mention they were deep fried. While they were devoid of everything nutritionally, they did contain liberal lashings of happy memories and an addictive personality. It's almost impossible to stop at one, which means each 70-ish calorie bite adds up quickly!

I wanted to see if I could turn those sweet gems from my childhood over to the (slightly) healthier side - not just by baking the "TimBits" (baking any doughnut is de rigeur in my kitchen, since I'm terrified of hot oil), but by attempting a gluten free, eggless batter that also had a touch of protein,  fibre, flavour and texture from the still-current darling of the nutrition world: quinoa.

Quinoa Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Holes

Originally, I was hoping to use red quinoa in these "TimBits" (really glorified mini-muffins), but my local bulk store only had white in stock. No matter the colour, adding the pre-cooked quinoa definitely elevated these babies by giving them a lovely "nutty" flavour (which paired well with the camelina oil too) as well as the hint of texture I was going for. Knowing I'd be rolling them in a cinnamon sugar crust, I added some cinnamon to the batter, and while the recipe stayed sweet I eliminated refined sugar altogether with a combination of cup-for-cup stevia and coconut sugar on the inside and raw sugar on the outside. They are definitely still their addictive little selves, and wouldn't be out of place on any car ride (or in a Summer camper's lunch!).

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Quinoa Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Holes
Adapted from http://www.cookingquinoa.net/quinoa-cake-doughnuts 
Makes 30
½ cup rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup quinoa flour
3 tbsp potato starch
½ tsp guar gum
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp Homemade Egg Replacer
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 ¼ cups whole milk or soy milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp camelina oil
⅓ cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup cup-for-cup stevia (I used Pyure)
1 cup cooked, cooled quinoa
⅓ cup coarse raw sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease mini muffin tins.
  2. Whisk together flours, starch, guar gum, baking powder, egg replacer, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, vinegar, oil, sugar and stevia.
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir well.
  5. Fold in the quinoa.
  6. Spoon into the tins and bake 7-8 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, combine coarse sugar and cinnamon in a shallow pan.
  8. Turn baked muffins out immediately into the spiced sugar and toss to coat, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 60.0
Total Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 1.2 mg
Sodium: 4.9 mg
Total Carbs: 11.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Protein: 1.2 g