Chocolate Donut Showdown

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A pair of chocolate donut recipes, set up head to head. How do they fare?

Spring is finally here! The weather is turning warmer, I’m starting to get some gardening going (which I’ll post about later on in the season), and the seasonal doldrums are fading away in the sunlight. My partner even picked me some daffodils on our walk!

Fresh daffodils
From an empty lot, not someone’s garden, don’t worry.

Spring isn’t really related to chocolate donuts, but you know what? I felt like making them. It was partially inspired by my last post, actually. See, not too long after Food Wishes posted their bagel recipe (the one I reviewed), they posted one for some not-quite-keto, gluten-free, low-carb, high-protein, grain-free donuts. For breakfast!

I figured, you know what? I have a bunch of almond flour left over from the bagels, I need to find something to do with it. My partner linked me to these, and I decided to give them a try.

The thing is, I didn’t want to just do two Food Wishes reviews in a row. So I decided to put my own spin on it; I whipped up a donut recipe of my own! This recipe most certainly isn’t keto, gluten-free, or high-protein, and that’s the point. My goal with this was to compare how well the Food Wishes donuts stacked up against a plain, standard donut recipe.

The Food Wishes Donuts

First, let’s take a look at the Food Wishes donuts. These use almond flour and are sweetened with maple syrup. I used maple syrup made locally, for that special touch.

Ingredients for low-carb chocolate donuts.
It really doesn’t take much to make these. The bowl of chocolate chips is for the chocolate topping.

The batter is trivially easy to mix together, it’s easy to pipe it into the donut pans my partner so helpfully bought for me for this exact purpose, and they baked up very nicely. All in all, I’m quite pleased with how they turned out. Want to see?

Low-carb donuts
Two with chocolate chips, two with toasted almonds, one with mint chocolates, and one with peanut butter dots.

My review is: they’re good! I was actually a little surprised. After the way the bagels weren’t quite right, I wondered if almond flour just isn’t as adequate a substitute as you might hope. For these desserts, though, they tasted more or less just like chocolate donuts.

…Or did they?

That’s what I wanted to test. It’s one thing to call a chocolate donut a good chocolate donut in isolation, but what about compared to a good chocolate donut? So, I made my own.

Traditional Chocolate Donuts

This recipe calls for a couple more ingredients than the Food Wishes recipe, and it’s definitely not low-carb. We’re using good old all-purpose flour, white sugar, the works.

Ingredients for traditional chocolate donuts
Pay no attention to the GIGANTIC bowl of powdered sugar. I only used, like, half of that.

This recipe is a fairly traditional donut recipe, only it uses melted butter instead of oil for the fat. This means two things: it’s richer and more flavorful when they’re fresh, much more like a donut instead of a cake shaped like a donut. That, and they will dry out faster than a moist, oil-infused cake will. Luckily, they will be long gone before that’s anything close to a problem.

Unlike the Food Wishes recipe, mine just mixes up a powdered sugar glaze to coat the donuts. I actually tried out a few variations with one batch! I did normal full-size donuts both single-glazed and double-glazed, and I did a few in my miniature bundt tray.

Finished traditional glazed chocolate donuts
I trust you can tell which is which.

These turned out great too! I did end up giving our neighbor a few of them (hi Wayne!) just because, you know, I probably shouldn’t eat a dozen donuts myself. I like them, and they were easy enough to make that I’ll probably end up trying out some variations throughout the summer.

Glazed Chocolate Donuts

A simple, mostly traditional chocolate donut recipe with an easy glaze made from powdered sugar and milk.
Servings 14 Donuts
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins

Equipment

  • Donut Pans
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Cooling Racks
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Flour Sifter
  • Whisk
  • Piping Bags

Ingredients

Donut Batter

  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Cocoa Powder Milk chocolate for lighter donuts, dark for richer.
  • ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Butter Melted
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Glaze (Double this if you want to double-glaze your donuts)

  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp Almond Milk Regular milk is fine
  • ¼ Tsp Salt

Instructions

For the Donuts

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Grease donut pans with non-stick cooking spray or butter (not the melted butter).
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sugar, melted butter, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
  • Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Over-mixing will over-work the gluten in the flour.
  • Add the batter to a piping bag and pipe into the donut pans, filling each donut about 3/4ths full to allow for expansion while cooking.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow the donuts to cool for about 5 minutes, then tap gently to remove onto cooling rack.

To Glaze

  • Combine the glaze ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  • Prepare your cooling racks with paper towels or a baking sheet beneath them to catch drips and avoid making a mess.
  • While donuts are still warm, once they've been removed from their pans, dip them in the glaze. Be quick, flip to coat, and place on the cooling rack. Excess glaze will drip off.
  • If you want to double-glaze your donuts, start from the first one once the last of a batch is glazed; this gives enough time for the first coat to slightly harden before adding the second.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate, Dessert

The Showdown

So, which do you think looks better?

The donut showdown
It’s difficult to judge different toppings, but they’re all delicious

I will say that I did make one modification to the Food Wishes recipe. A lot of people in the comments on the recipe said they turned out saltier than expected, so I only used half the amount of salt for the recipe (1/4th tsp instead of 1/2 tsp.) Even then, they turned out a little saltier than I would have expected, but that’s not a bad thing. They aren’t salty, they’re rich.

Meanwhile, my donuts are about as traditional as you can get. I will say that I made the glaze with almond milk, rather than whole milk, but that didn’t make much of a difference in taste or texture.

I definitely like the bitterness of the dark chocolate from the Food Wishes donuts. That with the hint of salt is a decadent, rich flavor. My donuts are exactly what they seem like they would be; a milk chocolate donut with a sugary glaze. I love them both!

Really, all of this is to say that the Food Wishes near-keto donut recipe is exceptionally adequate. If I handed one to you, I don’t know that you’d be able to tell that they’re low-carb. They’re still sweet as a dessert (or breakfast), but they aren’t diabetes-inducing.

I can’t really pick a favorite! I love glazed chocolate donuts — they’re my favorite kind of donut by far — so they’re both excellent to me. It really comes down to whether I want something richer and darker, or something lighter and sweeter. Even then, I can just change my glazed recipe and use dark cocoa powder instead. So, I guess this is all just to say: if you’re going low-carb and you want chocolate donuts, the Food Wishes recipe has you covered. If you want traditional flour-and-sugar donuts, by all means, make my recipe. Either way: enjoy!

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