These Mini Lemon-Glazed Sweet Potato Donuts Fight Inflammation With Every Cozy Bite

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IYKYK: Little Bites were all the rage in grade school lunchrooms growing up. Those soft, sweet, bite-sized blueberry or chocolate chip donut holes (or were they mini muffins?) were the only option after recess when we needed to refuel to make it through the rest of math class.

On the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, Elise Smith, a pastry chef and recipe developer, reinvents this signature childhood staple with a gluten-free, dairy-free, and zesty twist. In the new video, Smith makes her own tasty version of Little Bites with a downright delicious recipe for spiced sweet potato glazed mini donuts with a citrusy glaze.

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Unlike the daunting duty of making donuts from scratch using fancy pastry tools and a deep fryer, this recipe is so much simpler (read: perfect for those just embarking on their baking journey). All you need are the appliances you already have in your kitchen, like a mixer (or whisk) and a muffin tin. Plus, these donuts don't require any messy frying. Ready to dive in?

Why we’re so in love with these sweet potato donuts

As the saying goes, some of the best things in life come in small packages, which is especially true when it comes to baked goods that serve as the ideal cozy breakfast.

Unlike the tedious process of frying old-fashioned donuts, these come together using a muffin pan, which makes portioning out the batter into bite-sized treats beyond effortless (and BTW, baking them is completely mess-free).

During the episode, Smith shares tons of practical tips for making these citrusy sweet potato donut holes—like using a fork to mash ingredients, such as the roasted sweet potatoes, into the batter. She also (*insert massive sigh of relief*) shows us the right way to zest citrus using a Microplane.

But aside from the pro pastry knowledge you'll gain making these donut holes, know that you'll also reap a bevy of health benefits with every bite. For starters, the luscious batter is made with roasted sweet potato purée that adds a nice bright color, gut-boosting fiber, potassium, and tons of vitamin A to help maintain a strong immune system. Meanwhile, the glaze, which is made with a generous amount of lemon and orange zest, can aid digestion and adds a small amount of calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber (plus a boatload of flavor). And as if your taste buds weren’t dancing with joy already, this sweet treat is packed with anti-inflammatory spices like cinnamon, allspice, clove, and her favorite secret ingredient in the recipe: cardamom.

We hope you donut mind if we keep making these until further notice!

sweet potato donuts
Photo: W+G Creative

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Donut Holes

Yields 24 donut holes


Donut Batter:
2 cups gluten-free flour
1/4 Tsp ground clove
1 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 Tsp ground cardamom
1/2 Tsp ground allspice
1/2 Tsp salt
2 Tsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 ounces (6 Tbsp) melted coconut oil
4 ounces (8 Tbsp) room-temperature oat milk
1 room-temperature egg
1 Tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweet potato purée

Citrus Glaze:

2 cups confectioners sugar
Zest of an orange
Zest of half a lemon
2 Tbsp oat milk
1 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roast sweet potato covered in foil for one hour until tender. Let it cool. Once cool, remove the skin and mash using the back of a fork.

2. In a large bowl, combine gluten-free flour, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, salt, and baking powder, and whisk until evenly combined. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown sugar, coconut oil, oat milk, and egg. On low speed, mix until it is combined for about two minutes, increasing the speed to medium about halfway through.

4. Then, add the sweet potato and vanilla extract into the mixer and mix on medium until the potato begins to mix in with the mixture.

5. Next, add the dry ingredients into the wet in two parts and mix until thoroughly combined. Using a spatula, gently fold the batter a few times to ensure everything is evenly mixed.

6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, grease a 24-mini muffin tin with avocado oil. Portion the dough in the tin using a two-teaspoon mini cookie dough scooper, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and fluffy. Let it fully cool.

7. In the meantime, make the glaze. In a small bowl, add the confectioner’s sugar. Then, using a Microplane, zest an entire orange and half of a lemon in the bowl. Pour in oat milk and orange juice, and whisk until glaze consistency. Adding more juice if needed to reach the desired texture.

8. Add each cooled donut hole into the glaze and, using a fork, coat the entire dessert on all sides. Let the glaze set, and enjoy!

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