During my stint in graduate school, my professor brought in a big box of donuts for us nearly every Saturday morning as a semi-peace offering for working weekends. They came from one of the two mom-and-pop shops in town, where the owners glazed and decorated each donut with love—including the crazy fruit loop-topped ones.
Because most of us refused to set our alarms for 6 am like during the week, we could still walk upstairs in the early (or, uhh, late) afternoon and snag one of the best treats. I usually gravitated towards the cinnamon crumbs and old-fashioneds, which always showed up in those pink cardboard boxes, but on the rare occasion where Bossman glanced at the kiddie section…
I immediately grabbed the double chocolate donut. Chocolate cake, chocolate glaze, and—if I was extremely lucky—rainbow sprinkles to boot. As much as I adore Christmas and Halloween, those festively colored sprinkles just didn’t taste the same!
One weekend as I sat savoring my chocolate kiddie treat in the break room, slowly ripping off little nibbles, I glanced at the cakey insides and nearly gasped. A fat streak of vanilla stared back at me!
The owners must have wanted to cut down on their dishes and simply mixed cocoa powder into their standard vanilla batter… Because the chocolate donut completely lacked the rich depth of the weekends before. It tasted light, somewhat bland, and like, well, vanilla-y chocolate. And as much as I adore swirled ice cream cones, I prefer one flavor or the other in my donuts!
But these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts are the exact opposite: unbelievably rich, deliciously decadent, and with a fudgy texture to boot! It’s as if you crossed your favorite fudgy brownies with chocolate cupcakes… And then ate them for breakfast. With the peanut butter glaze on top, they practically taste like Reese’s!
To ensure these donuts taste as chocolaty as possible, we’ll add almost as much cocoa powder as flour. With only ¾ cup of flour and a whopping ½ cup of cocoa powder, the chocolate flavor is front and center—no vanilla-y chocolate donuts here!
To sneak in a little extra fiber and nutrients, I opted for whole wheat pastry flour. It has a very similar texture to all-purpose and isn’t quite as dense as regular whole wheat, but both of those would work as substitutes, as well as white whole wheat flour. Basically… Just use whatever you already stock in your pantry; no need for a special trip to the grocery store!
To keep these healthier donuts “clean-eating friendly,” they’re sweetened with maple syrup instead of granulated sugar. No, you can’t taste the maple at all! Only rich dark chocolate. We’ll add just enough syrup to taste, but not so much that these become sugar-laden breakfast bombs like the pancakes and waffles of my childhood. And be sure to use the real stuff—pure maple syrup—instead of the faux corn syrup variety!
Because my guy drove over 100 miles to buy me a donut maker for Christmas two years ago, that’s what I used to bake these. I own this model, and I love its compact size and cute design. Even better, I don’t have to heat up the entire kitchen by turning on the oven—a huge plus because it’s still 90° where I live!
Note: You can still use a conventional oven and mini donut pans too. I included the directions for that below the recipe!
This peanut butter glaze is mindlessly simple and doesn’t require any powdered sugar! Greek yogurt creates the base and thickens the glaze, along with creamy peanut butter. I tried really, really hard to save it all for the donuts, but… A spoonful (or three) may have escaped the bowl and somehow made it to my mouth instead.
But for the glaze that did coat the top of the treats, it made these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts taste like dessert! 100% ultimate comfort food breakfast right there. Totally perfect for lazy weekends, birthday brunches, and a random Tuesday morning meal.
Because who wouldn’t want healthy Reese’s chocolate donuts for breakfast?