Donut holes, these are not.
Yet, these little apple cuties are reminiscent of (sugar-bomb) powdered donut holes, so we’re going to go with that.
Of course, they’re absolutely the opposite of donut holes, let’s be clear. These apple spice donut holes are filled with roasted organic apple, nuts, warming spices, and sweetened with dates. Let’s hear it for eating more HOLE foods.
In all seriousness though, let’s talk refined white flour and white sugar-laden donut holes. In moderation (as in once a month or for your bestie’s birthday), go ahead and eat the donut. When you want to indulge in another sort of healthy treat however, make a whole food version instead.
Refined carbohydrates do not do a body good, as we’ve established. Excess consumption of these refined foods is linked to obesity and insulin resistance, type-II diabetes, an increase in blood triglyceride levels, and a variety of other health ailments.
Enter these gluten-free and vegan apple spice donut holes, which are free of refined everything. I made these on a whim, after totally making an ugly (yet SO delicious) recipe for apple pie bars for Organic Authority. Upon mushing up the apple bars and rolling them into balls and dipping them into coconut flour, these apple spice donut holes were born.
Apple & Cinnamon Spice Everything.
Filled with warming spices, roasted apple, nuts, and dates, these donut holes are a delicious and seasonal treat filled with body-loving benefits. Cinnamon and apples are not only a delicious combination, but a healthy one too. Both foods are excellent sources of free-radical scavenging antioxidants that help to rid the body of oxidative stress. According to the OTAC scale, used to measure antioxidant levels in different foods, cinnamon ranks number seven of all foods, spices, and herbs across the world.
Even more, in a study comparing the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon was deemed the clear winner and beat out other powerful antioxidant-packed herbs and spices including garlic, rosemary, and oregano.
The health benefits of cinnamon are abundant. Seriously – sprinkle it on everything. Cinnamon has been associated with lowering (bad) LDL cholesterol, improving insulin levels and balancing blood sugar levels in those with type-II diabetes, and preventing heart and vascular disease. Cinnamon is also thought to promote anti-cancer activity, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial activity, and protect against neurological disorders.
An apple a day can seriously keep the doctor away too. Along with being packed with digestive friendly fiber, apples are a good source of vitamins C and K, potassium, manganese, copper, and some B vitamins.
Apple’s impressive nutrient content makes the fruits heart healthy too. Numerous studies have shown that the fiber, antioxidant, and vitamin levels within apples are linked to lower risks of heart disease. A particular study compared the effects of eating an apple daily to taking statins, a cholesterol-lowering drug. The study estimated that apples would be almost as effective at reducing death from heart disease as statins.
Apples also promote prebiotic effects, thanks to pectin, a type of fiber that acts as food for your friendly bacteria. Consumption of these seasonal fruits is linked with lower instances of cancer, type-II diabetes, heart disease, asthma, cognitive issues, and more.
Although these fruits are beyond awesome, apples always have a top spot on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen. Even more, some apples have been genetically modified and approved for production and consumption in the United States. To ensure that you’re purchasing the best tasting and healthiest apple around, always chose an organic variety.
Sweet roasted apples + warming spices + crunchy walnuts and almonds + heart healthy oats + gooey dates + fiber filled coconut flour = apple spice donut holes. Yum!
Apple Spice Donut Holes
Makes 8-10 donut holes
2 small crisp organic apples (such as honey crisp or fuji)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup walnuts
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup almonds
1 heaping cup medjool dates, pitted
¼ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup coconut flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pit dates and add to a small jar or bowl. Pour warm water overtop to soften up dates and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Drain and discard water before use.
Chop apples into large diced pieces and spread evenly on a baking tray. Toss with coconut oil and cinnamon. Bake in the oven 15-18 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a high-speed blender or food processor combine walnuts, oats, almonds, sea salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pulse a few times until mixture becomes broken down with large pieces throughout. Don’t over process this mixture!
Add in roasted apples and soaked and drained dates. Pulse until mixture becomes thick and sticky, allowing the mixture to have large pieces for texture.
Using wet hands, roll apple mixture into heaped tablespoon sized balls. Roll in coconut flour to coat. Repeat with the remainder of the apple mixture.
In the refrigerator, donut holes will keep 3-4 days. In the freezer, donut holes will keep up to a month. Enjoy!
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