Hiking & Nutmeg Chocolate Doughnuts

I'm not a big hiker. In fact, I've always said I dislike hiking; I'd rather be running trails. But the thing is, sometimes when you're not running, you have more time and appreciation to admire your surroundings. (I hate to admit this, but it's true.)

Hiking Red Rocks in Denver

Royal Arch Trail Boulder Colorado

Plus if you're on say, the Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, you may need to go slow from a lack of oxygen (if you're unaccustomed to high altitude) and a strenuous hike. Being in nature is way better than staring at a gym wall too; green and lush surroundings elicits mood-boosting feelings almost immediately. Combine that with exercise endorphins, and you'll be glad you took time to breathe in the fresh air and admire the beauty!

Before heading out on a hard hike though, breakfast is a must. I was lightheaded by the time we reached the top, and not just from the altitude. I had a salad and coffee for breakfast which turned out to be not. enough. Treat yourself to these chocolate nutmeg donuts that in addition to the "mmmm" factor, are also nourishing. I recommend the chia seed option for an extra energy boost. If you leave them plain, they will work well for a travel option: stick a couple in a zippered reusable snack bag and drink plenty of water, and you're good to go!

These donuts (or faux-nuts, haha) are deceivingly healthy. They have a delicately spiced taste that is complimented nicely by rich cacao. It is a sponge-y, light treat that can be glazed or dipped in chocolate for a more decadent version, and best of all, completely allergen-free if you omit the egg!

The texture I do believe is a little fluffier with eggs, but the vegan version is to swap in 1 tbsp ground chia seeds with 3 tbsp water or 1/2 a mashed banana to replace egg whites.

These make a divine breakfast, especially when paired with hot tea or strong, bold coffee. Be warned though; they disappear fast. If you can wait long enough before inhaling, a drizzle of melted nondairy chocolate or protein powder whisked with water also makes a nice topping.

Vegan chocolate nutmeg donuts

Gluten-Free Vegan Nutmeg Chocolate Doughnuts yields 1-1/2 dozen donuts Ingredients: 2 cups gluten-free flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup oat flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour and 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour) 1/4 cup raw cacao powder + 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (or 1/2 cup cocoa powder) 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon sea salt 3 tablespoons coconut oil 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 cup coconut milk 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 egg whites OR vegan version: 1/2 mashed banana or vegan "egg"

optional amazing addition: add 1/4 cup organic diced crystallized ginger

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and lightly grease a doughnut pan with coconut oil or spray with avocado nonstick spray (easier to evenly coat). 2. Sift flour, cacao, baking powder and salt. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients. 3. In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients. (Melt oil before adding). 4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. 5. Fill doughnut pan 3/4 of the way full. 6. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until they are slightly puffed and not gooey in the center. Be careful not to over-bake.

healthy chocolate donuts
snack break at top of royal arch trail in boulder
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