Baked Apple Donuts
There's nothing like a stormy February day to make me want to get in the kitchen and get baking. Now, before you start telling me that donuts (or doughnuts, whichever you prefer) are meant to be fried, not baked, I'm just going to have to say: try these donuts. First of all, they are a classic cake donut, so they actually lend themselves really well to being baked, and secondly, you will love being able to whip them up in about 30 minutes from start to finish.
I was inspired by a recipe for Baked Doughnuts Three Ways from King Arthur Flour, but decided to add grated Granny Smith apple and vanilla bean paste to the mix, then dredged half of the warm donuts in butter and cinnamon sugar that was spiked with vanilla bean salt. The other half were glazed with a mixture of butter and Bee Free Honee, a honey substitute that's made with apples, so it really complements the grated apple in the donut. They'd also be delicious with a maple syrup glaze — I'm tempted to make another batch already!
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup milk (dairy or dairy-free)
1/2 cup grated apple (I prefer a tart apple like Granny Smith)
for cinnamon sugar topping:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (use more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean salt (optional)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons Bee Free Honee (could also use traditional honey or maple syrup)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a donut pan (or two, if you have more than one) lightly with vegetable oil.
Add the butter, oil, and sugars to a mixing bowl and beat together until combined, then add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla bean paste or extract.
Measure out the flour and the milk, then add each alternately in batches, stirring thoroughly after each addition until well-combined and smooth. Fold in the grated apple.
Put the batter into a pastry bag or gallon-size plastic storage bag (just snip off the corner of the plastic bag so you can pipe), then pipe the batter into the donut wells in the pan until about 3/4 full. You can spoon the batter in also, but it's a little neater to pipe it instead
Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, then cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack.
To use the cinnamon sugar topping, mix together the cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla bean salt. Dip the top half of the donut into the melted butter until it's coated, allow the excess to drip off, then dip in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
To use the glaze: Warm the butter and Bee Free Honee over low heat and mix together until combined. Dip the top half of the donut in the mixture until coated, allow the excess to drip off, then let the donut rest on a rack while the glaze sets.
Makes about 2 dozen donuts.
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