Friday, November 12, 2010

Cakey Applesauce Doughnuts

I was craving something sweet and homemade and the first thing that came to mind to make was doughnuts (or is it donuts?) I haven't had a lot of experience making homemade doughnuts--last year I bought a mini doughnut pan to make oven-baked doughnuts and was not particularly impressed with the results. But those were baked, and, in my opinion, doughnuts were meant to be fried.

Although there's applesauce and apple cider in these doughnuts, they don't taste particularly apple-y. If you wanted a more intense apple flavor, you could start with a greater amount of cider and reduce it down to the amount required in the recipe, or you could grate some fresh apple into the dough. I like them the way they are--moist, sweet, and not too heavy.

The doughnuts start with butter and sugar--I used both white and brown sugars. Cream them together until they're fluffy.

Next are two eggs. Add them one at a time.

Now I add one of those small, individual-sized containers of apple sauce. If you've got kids, you probably have tons of these in your fridge or pantry!

To add more moisture, I pour in both apple cider and buttermilk. You could add all of one, or all of the other.

You'd probably be fine just adding another container of applesauce here instead, too, if you didn't have cider or buttermilk. I just like to get in more apple flavor when I can, and the buttermilk keeps the doughnut soft on the inside.

Now it's tine for the flour. You'll be adding it in four additions, so here's how I break it up (rather than sifting it all together in another bowl):

1 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

I beat well after every addition.

Once all the flour is incorporated, I turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface, sprinkle more flour on the top (the dough will still seem a little sticky) and pat it out.

I used a biscuit cutter to cut out the doughnuts. They have actual doughnut cutters, with the doughnut shape and the center cutter attached, but I don't have one of those.

My biscuit cutters don't come in a small size, so I used a small cookie cutter to cut out the center of the doughnut. In the future, I would use something to make a larger hole (maybe a cleaned out water bottle?), but this technique worked out okay.

I lay the cut-out doughnuts on a lightly floured cookie sheet. At this point, they'll need to be chilled a bit (so they stay in a doughnut shape when you put them in the oil.) You could either put the whole cookie sheet in the freezer, or you could place a cold cookie sheet (one that's been in the fridge or freezer for a while) on top of the doughnuts--that would chill them sufficiently. You just don't want them to get all oval-y when you pick them up to fry.

Once your doughnuts are chilled, you can think about frying them. I used a blend of unflavored Crisco and natural blend oil, but you could use whatever you like to fry with.

Once the oil is hot (around 375F, I just heated my oil over medium heat), carefully drop the doughnuts in. Remember not to crowd the pan, or your doughnuts will be greasy.

Looks like it's having fun!

Once your doughnuts are puffed on the bottom and golden on the top, they can be flipped over.


I fried mine about a minute and a half per side. You may want to start with one doughnut, to get a sense of how long they need. Otherwise, you may end up with doughnuts that look pretty on the outside but are raw on the inside.

Once your doughuts are done, you can take them out of the oil. I coated mine in a mix of cinnamon and sugar before placing them on paper towels and newspaper to drain.

They're best when still hot, so don't be afraid to dig in!

Recipe: Cakey Applesauce Doughnuts

1/4 c. (4 tbsp.) butter, room temperature
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar

2 eggs

4 oz. (1/2 c.) applesauce
1/4 c. apple cider
1/4 c. buttermilk

3 3/4 c. flour, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Oil, for frying

Cinnamon and sugar mixture (adjust for personal taste), or other toppings

In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugars; cream until sugar is fully incorporated.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add applesauce; beat well.

Add cider and buttermilk; beat well.

In 4 additions, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Pat out dough onto well-floured surface. Cut out doughnut shapes.

Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.

Fry in oil until fully cooked through. Coat with topping of choice (cinnamon/sugar, powdered sugar, dusted cocoa, frosting, etc.)

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