IT ISN’T KALE. I repeat, the secret ingredient IS NOT KALE. I just wanted to put that out there first. We can all breathe easy now.
There’s something especially unappealing to me about the idea of “tricking” your family and friends into eating something healthy. When it comes to food, I am not into secrets. I think we already have enough creepy secrets about what’s in what we eat. No thank you, move along.
Because honestly? Healthy food can taste great. And the more we treat certain foods like they need to be a secret, the more people will assume they’re not worth eating without being disguised. You dig?
So in the interest of full disclosure, I shall reveal to you a fine example with my actually not that “secret” ingredient – CHIA SEEDS. In your chocolate cake donut holes. Because what’s the point in eating a healthy dessert if you can’t be openly smug about it to your peers?
I swear this is not my main motivation for making healthy desserts.
This isn’t the first time I’ve extolled the virtues of the mighty chia seed. I used them enthusiastically in my vanilla cinnamon chia seed pudding, for example. Often referred to as a ‘superfood’ (don’t we all just love that term), chia seeds boast an intimidating amount of nutritiousness:
- Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.
- Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons.
- Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.
- Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese.
- The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. This can used in place of eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To make the egg replacement, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood. (healthyeating.sfgate.com)
Also: Chia Pets. Never forget.
Because chia seeds are capable of absorbing up to 10-12 times their weight in liquid, your batter will develop a thick, almost gel-like texture the longer it sits. This is ok. They all bake up the same! As in, PERFECTLY.
It was entirely by accident that I discovered the texture of ground chia seed provided the perfect texture and mouthfeel for a Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkin. The fluffy air pockets, the slight crunch of the glaze giving way into the crumbly, cakey inside. Wait, where were we?
OH YES. You, making these, and feeling great about it. ALLOW ME TO ENABLE YOU:
Healthy Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes – With a Secret Ingredient (low carb, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, grain free)
Yields: About 20-22 donut holes
¾ cup sweetener
¼ cup milled/ground chia seeds (if grinding whole seeds, use about 2 heaping tbsp)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
3 egg whites, or about 1/3 cup egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups powdered sweetener
3 to 4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk or water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease or spray a cake pop mold/donut hole/muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, and mix well to create a batter. Reminder: The longer you let your batter sit, the thicker it gels. Not a problem! Spoon batter into prepared tin, almost to the top.
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
To make glaze, whisk powdered sweetener, almond milk or water, and vanilla extract until smooth. If you prefer a thinner glaze, add in more milk or water one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Allow the donut holes to cool slightly. Place a cooling rack atop a baking sheet, and dip each donut hole into the glaze. Cover all sides with glaze and lift using a fork, tapping off excess glaze.
Transfer donut holes to the rack to allow any more extra glaze to drip off. Let glaze set, about 30 minutes to an hour.
Nutritional Info (As calculated for 20 servings, using water in glaze):