Sunday, March 18, 2018

Baked Apple Donuts

We all have a weakness or "kryptonite" when it comes to certain foods. That certain food may be a favorite, but we are very well aware that they are not something to be consumed on a regular basis. The item may have too many carbohydrates or too much fat, but we have a difficult time avoiding the indulgence.

So we are always on the lookout for an alternative, something that would give us all the flavor and texture that we love, less those naughty extras. We have to be careful in this endeavor because sometimes the manner in which food is promoted can be tricky. Sometimes one ingredient is eliminated for the sake of being "low fat" only to be replaced by something that creates another issue for flavor. For example, it has no fat, but 3 times the sodium you will need in one day.

Finding the perfect alternative is like losing 5 pounds when you eat cake! Now that would be a wonderful thing. While eating these donuts are not a way to diet, they do make a delicious substitute for the classic fried apple fritter. Since these donuts are baked, they do not contain all the fat and oil that fried donuts have. Instead of all the oil, you get a fluffy donut with a moist texture. Also, you can taste the diced apples that are baked into the dough. The unmistakably delicious apple flavor is prominent in each and every bite. To further enhance the taste, there is a drizzle of maple icing on top.

Even if donuts are not your "kryptonite", the flavor factor alone qualifies this recipe as a keeper. The dough requires five hours of rest time after it is created, so be sure to plan for this extra time. This recipe makes 1 1/2 dozen donuts.

Baked Apple Donuts
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five

3 eggs (lightly beaten/room temp)
3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp active yeast
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tsp salt
3 3/4 cup of flour
2 small peeled/cored/diced apples (I used Granny Smith)

Ingredients/Glaze and Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs heavy cream
2 tbs maple syrup
1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. These donuts are to be formed by hand and placed on the sheets, about 6 per sheet.

Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir. Then let sit until it foams up.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture. Then add the butter and eggs. Mix with a wooden spoon until all is combined. Lastly, fold in the apples, making sure the pieces are distributed evenly throughout the dough.

Form the dough into a ball and leave inside the bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. After this initial rise time, place in refrigerator. The dough must chill a minimum of 3 hours. However, it can be stored for later use, but only up to 5 days.

Take out a small bowl and whisk together the cinnamon and sugar. Also, lightly flour a flat surface. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and separate out 6 pieces of dough, each weighing 3 ounces. Cover and return the rest of the dough to the refrigerator. Using floured hands, place one of the dough pieces onto the floured surface and roll into a log (about 6 inches long) and then create a circle, pinching the ends together. Stretch the circle of dough so it has a 3 inch wide hole. Place the circle of dough into the cinnamon/sugar mixture, flipping to cover each side. Put the donut round on the prepared baking sheet. Continue with this process until all 6 pieces of donuts are formed and evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

As the dough rests, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Also, you can prepare another baking sheet of 6 donuts, repeating the instructions above. Once the rest time is complete, place baking sheet in the oven and bake donuts until airy and golden. This will take about 18 minutes.

Prepare a cooling rack by placing wax or parchment paper underneath. After the donuts have baked, place pan on rack and let cool on pan for about 3 minutes. Then transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before glazing.

To make glaze, whisk together vanilla, maple syrup and cream. Then sift in the powdered sugar and mix together. You may need to stir in additional cream for the correct drizzling consistency. Lastly, drizzle the glaze on top of the donuts and let rest until glaze has set.

Tips and Notes:
1. The longer the prepared dough sits in the refrigerator, the more apple juice is released from the fruit. Should you find some pockets of dough to be too wet, use additional flour to absorb the excess when forming the donuts.

2. Another consideration for the apple juice problem is to coat the apples in lemon juice and let set overnight and drain off the excess the next morning.

3. You can coat the apples in cinnamon sugar or add cinnamon sugar to the batter if you want to have a stronger cinnamon flavor. However, be careful of the balance or you will gain cinnamon flavor and lose apple flavor.

4. Feel free to experiment with the non-citrus types of fruit, such as pears or mangoes. The ones with the least amount of juice are the best choice.

5.These donuts are hand formed due to the apple chunks and tacky consistency of the dough. I do not recommend piping out the dough into rounds.

6. Due to the rising in baking, the 3 inch hole in the center is important or the dough with bake up without a hole.
                                   **LAST YEAR:Amaretto Latte Bars*