An abundance of apples in the kitchen and an approaching out-of-town weekend is always great motivation for me to bake. I hate ingredients going bad and returning to a house of rotting food is just depressing. The result was these glorious baked apple donuts.
The smell of the house alone was worth its weight in gold. Not to mention, the texture and taste of the donut was dense and rich and reminded me more of a scone or muffin. It quickly became a new household favorite.
And why the caramel lace garnish? Well, it was the perfect crunchy compliment to the softness of the cake and apples. It did take a few batches of caramel and even more sheets of parchment to get the right design, but the end result really took things up a level.
I may have gotten a little Jackson Pollock-y with some of the designs.
Here's what the donuts looked like sans caramel. So simple yet rich. I dipped the tops in melted butter and sprinkled a little cinnamon and sugar. Yeah, that's the stuff.
Try this recipe as soon as you can. Even if you don't have the time or patience for the caramel garnish, the donuts come together laughably quick and could be whipped up in the morning for a sweet start to the day.
Baked Apple Donuts Recipe
- 1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 ½ cups apple, peeled and cored, tiny bite size pieces
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, sugars, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
3. Add cold chopped butter and use a fork to cut the butter with the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and mix in the milk. Fold in the chopped apples.
5. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir (but do not over-mix).
6. Fill greased donut pan about 3/4 full.
7. Bake for 15-17 minutes.
8. Unmold each donut gently and lightly dip in melted butter.
9. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture on top.
Caramel Lace Garnish Recipe
- 4 ounces water
- 8 ounces sugar
- a pinch of salt
- Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Mix water, sugar, and salt into a small to medium pot and set it over medium heat. Make sure the pot is as centered over the heat as possible as to get even distribution.
- Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves; once the mixture begins to simmer, stop stirring. Let the mixture cook, undisturbed, until it begins to take on a rich, amber color. If you notice any dark spots forming, or one side of the pan coloring faster than the other, give it a gentle stir.
- When the mixture has turned a nice amber color, shut off the heat and transfer the pot to a cooling rack or a pot holder. The caramel will burn very easily, so pay close attention and pull from the heat as soon as the color appears.
- Let the caramel cool for 1-2 minutes. This mixture is HOT so keep your fingers away at all costs.
- Use a metal or wooden spoon to scoop out a little caramel. Hold the spoon over the parchment lined cookie sheet and allow the caramel to drizzle down to the paper. *If the caramel is dripping into beads instead of a connected line, wait a minute more and let cool. Drizzle the caramel into a pattern, whatever size and shape you like. You may need to experiment with the first few to get the hang of drizzling.
- Allow the caramel designs to cool thoroughly before using or storing. To use, simply peel the parchment away from the caramel and garnish any dessert that needs a hint of caramel and a pleasant crunch.
- To store, cut the parchment into pieces with the caramel still attached and store, stacked, in an airtight container. The caramel will keep indefinitely.