Jan 22, 2017

Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Glaze + How Can a Vegan Have High Cholesterol?


Okay, dear ones, here it is. The dessert you’ve been dreaming about! That is, if you like chocolatey, heavenly donutty things. Mm-hm. That’s me! Well, I’ll be slowing down CONSIDERABLY on these types of treats for a long while starting… tomorrow. No, actually I already started omitting these kinds of foods, but I enjoyed the heck out of these babies prior to my new and (sigh) a bit restrictive way of eating. I know what you’re thinking. “Don’t you already have a restrictive diet?” Well, no, not actually because I’ve still been using nuts (cashews, cashews, cashews!!!), nut butters, nut flours, coconut products… see where I’m going? Yep. FAT. Let me explain…

I recently had some blood tests done as a matter of regular diagnostics at my new doctor’s office (who is a fabulous holistic M.D. by the way). So I get the results back and I am literally HORRIFIED by the numbers!!! What the heck??? My cholesterol is UP, my triglycerides are UP, my Vitamin D is DOWN. Huh? I’ve been plant-based for nearly FIVE YEARS. I take Vitamin D supplements… What’s going on? Well, I did a whole huge bunch of research and I suspect that it is… wait for it… genetics! Whoa! Really? Yes, really. There are a small number of us poor souls who have a specific genotype called Apolipoprotein E (commonly shortened to APOE) which makes the body hyper-respond to fat. Any kind of fat. So, even though my fat intake has been from plants, and even though I haven’t been gorging on coconut oil, it’s apparently still been way too much for this body of mine. For you scholarly types, here is an extensive article about this genotype: APOE Perhaps the lowered Vitamin D is somehow also connected with this madness. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s really enlightening though that immediately after I completed Dr. Fuhrman’s 6-week plan, all of those numbers were in a good place. On that plan, there is very little fat intake. Somehow I fell off the low fat path. I thought I was good to go by simply being plant-based and really didn’t think much about cholesterol since then. So, less is more as far as fat intake goes for me. I will continue to eat small amounts of nuts and seeds and the occasional avocado though, as some fat intake is needed for many reasons. 

On to these heavenly donuts. They’re amazingly light, not too sweet, SUPER chocolatey and, of course, vegan and oil-free. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,






Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Glaze

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12 donuts

Baked, oil-free, gluten-free yumminess!


    ~ for the donuts
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup minimally processed sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • wet
  • 1 cup unsweetened, plant-based milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup raw almond butter
  • 2 TBS ground flax seeds + 4 TBS water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ~ for the glaze
  • 8 oz vegan dark chocolate
  • 8 oz full fat coconut milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Prepare a donut pan (or two--many of them hold only 6 donuts). I use a non-stick so no need to add oil.
  3. Mix the flax with the water and set aside.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients.
  5. Mix all wet ingredients together until smooth.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.
  7. Portion batter into donut tins. I used a small ice cream scoop (2 TBS) to do this. It made the job a lot easier, each donut held three scoops.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Let cool, then glaze.
  10. For the glaze, chop the chocolate (or use chocolate chips) and combine with the coconut milk in a saucepan. Heat on low, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  11. Dip the cooled donuts into the chocolate mixture. If you like, sprinkle some cacao nibs on top for a fun crunch.
  12. Let the donuts sit out for a few hours so the chocolate glaze dries.
  13. Store refrigerated.


When you mix the wet ingredients into the dry, the batter will puff up. Depending on the acid level of your cocoa powder it may puff up a lot! This is just the baking soda reacting with the cocoa and the lemon juice. It's okay. Don't freak out. This is what will make your donuts light and fluffy! If the batter seems too puffy to easily spread in the donut molds, just add a couple of extra tablespoons of milk and mix it a little bit more to tame it. Happy baking!

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27 responses to “Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Glaze + How Can a Vegan Have High Cholesterol?”

  1. Susan S. says:

    Thank you for this information. My cholesterol is high due to genetics, and I’m fighting it with a plant-based diet. It’s discouraging when I feel I’m doing what I can to be healthy. But, you made me see I can do better as I’ve been eating this way for less than a year. There is always room for improvement. I love your recipes. Thank you.

    • helynskitchen says:

      You’re welcome, Susan. It can be discouraging for sure! I’m also hyper-sensitive to salt!! My blood pressure will creep up with even the slightest added sodium. Probably also genetic 😮 Stay strong! We can do this together. 🙂 xo

  2. Jen says:

    These look so good Helyn! Good luck on your next batch of tests. It’s a journey…. I’ve been plant-based for 3.5 years now and am beginning to realize how different we all are. What is good for one, might not be good for another. Take care, Jen 🙂

  3. Marlee says:

    Super interested to know if the changes you’re making will lead to better cholesterol numbers, and I certainly hope they will! Thanks for the link you shared about APOE genotype. This scholarly type will definitely read up on that!

  4. Elaine says:

    Do you really mean 2 tablespoons of baking soda?


  5. shawna says:

    Hi Helyn

    Thank you for sharing this delicious looking recipe. I also thank you for sharing your blood test results. We are all on this journey of health together. I hope your new changes bring your blood levels all back to normal! Keep us posted.


  6. Glazed chocolate donuts have always been my fav! I’m excited to make these!! Thank you Dear Helyn for another culinary masterpiece. It’s great you got those blood tests. Yes, please do let us know the results. You are sooooo loved!!!

  7. Elaine says:

    After being plant based fior 3 years I thought it must be genetics that my total cholesterol was still at 200(down from 269) and I assumed it was genetics but then I started experimenting by cutting out nuts and nut butters since I wasn’t using oil and lowered my total cholesterol to 139. Experimented by adding those fats back in and cholesterol went up 30 points. Fats do make a difference which is why Dr. Estelstyn (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease) did not allow his heart patients to have any nuts or oil. The Framingham study showed that got those with total cholesterol 150 and below did not have any heart attacks so that should be our goal. Thanks for sharing the importance of paying attention to cholesterol numbers.

  8. Susan says:

    I wonder what Dr. Fuhrman would say about your cholesterol? I don’t think I’ve ever seen him mention cutting out nuts entirely. I’ll have to check his ask the dr forum…now I’m curious. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • helynskitchen says:

      I wonder, too, Susan! My husband’s first wife had many health issues and was overweight. Fuhrman allowed her 2 walnuts per day! 😮

  9. stephanie casper says:

    Oh dear! that is so unfair esp for you! How do you know you have this…I mean is there a test? I’m thinking my husband might be a candidate for this also. We don’t have any health savvy docs here…hard to believe in Santa CruzA It means we have to do all the footwork ourselves….tell the docs what labs we want to see…do the research…ugh!

    Your recipes rock! and the pictures…like this would turn a donut hater on! haha! Happy New Year btw!

    • helynskitchen says:

      Thank you, Stephanie. No, I didn’t get tested but I want to. Yes there is a test… Have to research this. I’m pretty sure that’s what it is though… how else could I possible still have high cholesterol without ingesting any? Amazingly, I’m already down 3 pounds since I’m not eating nuts and other fatty foods 😮 I’m so lucky I found a really good MD here. He’s very knowledgable in alternative modalities. I’ll keep you posted and thanks for your input! xo

  10. stephanie casper says:

    Well if you find out a way Helyn please do let me know! Makes total sense. I know ….I don’t have any self control when it comes to Almond butter & tahini! I do my best to stick to my one brazil nut a day ( my least fav nut! haha!). That keeps me just where I want to be weight wise….know your weaknesses is my moto! Since I work with doctors….geez…sad to say I spend more time with them than my only family! ugh! they are often the most un- healthfully living people around….giving people advise! yikes! so happy you found someone to work with. I’m lucky my husband is so smart he can help me decipher the technical stuff. much love!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I am in the same boat with cursed genes. Also, did you know that low thyroid levels can cause high cholesterol? A lot of doctors don’t test beyond a basic thyroid test, although testing for free T3 and T4 often shows a deficiency in women.

    • helynskitchen says:

      Wow, I did not know that, Elizabeth! I’m learning so much lately. Amazing. Well, I’m getting a complete adrenal/hormonal workup done soon so I’ll make sure they look at that. Thank you! xo

  12. robin m says:

    I just made these yummy chocolate donuts minus the frosting and found they are delicious on their own.
    Looking forward to more low fat recipes and will look through your site for more cause what i have made already always turn out tasting great.
    Here’s to good healthy eating and fun
    robin m

  13. Pat Harris says:

    Hi Helyn, I’m delighted to have discovered your website. Your recipes look scrumptious. Regarding cholesterol, I also have genetically high cholesterol. You might want to check out this video by Dr. Michael Greger – it answered my questions about the topic. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-coconut-oil-clog-arteries/ Happy baking & cooking.

    • helynskitchen says:

      Thanks, Pat and welcome! Oh, yes. I am a big fan of Dr. Greger’s! 🙂 I think I’ve seen this one, but I will watch again. Thanks for sharing! xo

  14. Donna Hepburn says:

    Hi Helyn, I am so happy to come across this recipe. As a diabetic, I’m not supposed to have this type of dessert. But what a treat this is going to be. I am eager to try these. Thank you for sharing all your healthy recipes. 🙂

    • helynskitchen says:

      Hope you enjoy them, Donna! They’re not very sweet, though I never did a nutrition fact analysis on the sugars. 🙂

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