I’ve been dying for apple fritter donuts. Apples, as one of my favorite fruits, are always abundant in my house. I had a little leftover Guinness in my fridge from making this stew. Saturday morning was free for me to experiment in the kitchen. Did I really have any choice but to make these little beauties?
As these were baking, the whole house smelled like a pastry shop. The floral scent of apples filled the air and was heavenly combined with the warming scent of cinnamon. These fritters tased phenomenal – the dough was yeasty and slightly chewy, the apples fruity and floral, and the sweet glaze a nice contrast to the slightly bitter beer.
The main difference between these apple fritters and the deep-fried ones you would buy at a bakery is that the exterior of these isn’t quite as crisp; in the end this didn’t make any difference to me because they were so incredibly delicious (with significantly less fat than their deep-fried counterparts).
Baked Apple Fritter Donuts with Honey-Cinnamon Glaze
(Yield: 18-20 donuts)
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour (plus up to a cup more for kneading)
2 tsp fine salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 c flat, room temperature beer (I used leftover Guinness stout; if you don’t have this on hand you can substitute water)
1/3 c lukewarm water
1/4 c honey
2 TB canola oil
1 large egg
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced (I used Empire apples)
Honey-Cinnamon Glaze (see below)
Butter (to grease the pan)
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 TB honey
1-3 tsp water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the beer, water, honey, oil, and egg; stir the diced apple into the wet ingredients. Slowly combine the wet ingredients into the dry – you can use a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) to do this, or you can use a large wooden spoon and do it by hand.
Once the wet ingredients are just incorporated, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 6-10 minutes; the dough should be smooth, and when you press it with your finger, an indentation should remain. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes; lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough inside the bowl, and lightly dough with cooking spray. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (about 90 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 400F and lightly butter two baking sheets. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead the dough for a couple of minutes, then let it rest for another 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 18 to 20 pieces (I like to do this freeform, since most apple fritter donuts have a freeform shape) and arrange the dough evenly on the baking sheets. Bake for 16 to 19 minutes (rotating the trays once) until the bottoms are light golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Whisk together all ingredients for the honey-cinnamon glaze except the water; whisk in the water 1 tsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Once the fritters have cooled, drizzle the glaze on top. Leave the donuts uncovered for a couple hours so the glaze can harden and set.