As I write this, the remains of Hurricane Nicole are sweeping past. Rain and wind have brought down almost all of the remaining leaves. We are moving into the cold, grey days of November.
I love Fall.
It is my favorite season. The brilliant colors and warm days move swiftly to dark, cozy, winter nights. I light MacIntosh scented candles and breath in the remembered scent of my childhood and a nearby orchard. And I indulge myself with apple fritters, hot from the fryer whenever possible.
Unfortunately this year the season slipped by me without a visit to a Pick-Your-Own Apple Orchard and I missed the warm cider and hot donuts which go with it!
Not to be deterred I decided to explore the possibilities of a homemade donut. It had to be easy. No yeasted dough. No hot oil for frying. I will leave that to those with the time and equipment. These donuts are for the homecook.
And because they are for the homecook, let me say a word about special equipment. I love a kitchen gadgetry and specialized equipment so I happen to have some donut baking trays. These are NOT required for this recipe. In fact, they are little fussy to be honest. You can make these donuts just as easily in a muffin tin. They may not scream “donut” at you but they will taste just as good.
Gather together your ingredients.
Saute some diced apples in a little butter. Toss them in sugar and cinnamon and set them aside.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
Stir together the apple sauce and cider. (I used unsweetened Granny Smith apple sauce. You can use a sweetened apple sauce for sweeter donuts).
Beat together the butter and sugars until they are very light.
Then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Once the eggs are well incorporated, turn the mixer on low and add the oil in a slow steady stream. It should take about a minute to pour it all in.
Finally mix in the flour followed by the applesauce mixture in three installments.
Finish by folding in the diced apples and vanilla.
Once the donuts are baked, turn them out of the pan and toss them in cinnamon sugar.
The donuts are best eaten the day they are made.–Maybe while you watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade?
APPLE FRITTER DONUTS
For the Apple Filling
- 1 large apple see note
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
For the Donuts
- ½ c butter
- 1 c apple sauce
- ½ c apple cider
- 2 ½ c flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground mace see note
- ¾ c sugar
- ½ c light brown sugar packed
- 3 eggs
- ¼ c vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Cinnamon Sugar Dusting
- 1/3 c sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or lightly oil your pans (see note)
Prepare the apple filling
- Peel the apple and chop into ¼” dice. Heat the butter in a sauté pan until it sizzles. Add the apples and toss lightly. Add the water and cook, stirring until the apples are soft and the water evaporated. Toss the apples in the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside until needed
Make the batter
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and mace in a bowl.
- Mix the apple sauce with the cider.
- In the bowl of mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on high for 5-8 minutes until very light in color and smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition for at least a minute. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. Once the eggs are beaten in, turn the mixer to low and add the oil is a slow drizzle. This should take about a minute.
- Add one-third of the flour mixture. Mix it in well then add one egg and beat it in well. Continue two more times until all of the flour and eggs have been added.
- Gently fold in the apple filling mixture until it is evenly distributed.
- Bake the donuts in a donut pan or muffin tin until they are browned and spring back when touched, 15-20 minutes
Sugar coat the Donuts
- Stir together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Let the donuts cool for a minute or two in the pan then carefully turn them out.
- Toss the hot donuts in the cinnamon sugar, pressing the coating in lightly.
You can use pretty much any crisp, not-too-sweet, apple for this recipe. For the filling I like MacIntosh Apples for their intense flavor. I used unsweetened Granny Smith applesauce in the batter. If you use a sweetened applesauce your donuts will be much sweeter.
Mace is a relatively rare and sometimes expensive spice made from the outer coating of a nutmeg. You can substitute a pinch of ground cloves or just double up the nutmeg if you like.
If you don't have donut pans, you can make the fritters in a muffin tin