I’ve expressed my aversion towards frying several times on this blog before. Shallow frying I can do occasionally; but like going to the dentist, I like to leave it until you really have to. But if you know me by now, don’t even mention the word deep-fry, it’s almost as painful and as uncomfortable as the word root canal or lobotomy. I think I’ve already explained in lengthy detail as to why I hate deep-frying, so I won’t go into it again but here is the crux of my whole distaste for dipping things into pools boiling of oil:
1. the harrowing prospect of sustaining third-degree burns
2. the oily smog that descends upon the entire house
3. it leaves that greasy film that could almost act as a fly trap
If that isn’t reason enough then I don’t know what is. But what if you really enjoy the fried stuff, but hate all the oily consequences that seem to come with it? The obvious alternative is to bake things but we all know the result will never compare.
One such food is the doughnut/donut (whichever way you like to spell it). Doughnut purists will probably scoff at the idea of a non-fried doughnut and will probably think that such a travesty should never be deemed worthy of the title. But just as people have expanded their views to include baked potato chips, baked fish sticks and meatballs, I think that it’s high time we consider baked doughnuts to be just as valid as their fried counterparts.
Baked doughnuts obviously do not taste like fried doughnuts, but who says they are supposed to. In my opinion, baked doughnuts, because they aren’t laden with excess fat store very well and do not go stale so easily. And if you thought that recipe I posted before on about Heidi’s baked doughnuts was great then here’s one to top that. It’s not that the Heidi’s recipe is no good, but this one requires a lot less effort- the recipe contains no yeast, hence no proofing and no kneading. The leavening comes from baking powder and soda, which makes for a fluffy doughnut that is almost like the real thing.
To date, the best doughnuts I have tasted have come from Krispy Kreme, unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any smaller business alternative to replace it. And although I don’t have KKs very often, I have to say that I have yet to try better. Until now that is.
I have actually found something that I can honestly say rivals the Krispy Kreme Orginal Glazed™. For one, they are baked and don’t contain all that excess fat that makes you unforgivably guilty for even biting into one, secondly they are just as fluffy and air-filled as the KKs and thirdly they are homemade, which always makes them extra great.
I think the secret to these baked doughnuts is not only the leavening that creates that puff of air that lifts the lifeless batter into something inherently scrumptious but the pans that they are made in. These doughnuts were baked in a metal doughnut pan that basically has round ring-like cavities that shape the cakes into, well, doughnuts. The pans are coated with oil and dusted with sugar and when cooled the doughnuts form a somewhat crispy “edge” just like the edges of a cake which you could say, creates the slight illusion of being fried.
The illusion of being fried stacks up a lot better than actually being fried, especially when you are watching your waistline. I know the icing doesn't make is any more healthier, but it is up to you to put the icing on. Overall, these doughnuts are healthier and you won’t have all the nasty consequences of deep-frying. So put away that deep fryer and give this recipe a whirl. If you aren’t completely converted then that’s perfectly all right. If you do enjoy deep-frying and aren’t as repulsed by the idea of large amounts of oil bubbling away a mere two feet from your face then by all means, but I know that I have found the doughnut recipe for me.
And I really don’t mean to sound like I’m passing judgment on those that deep-fry, and I’m sorry if I have upset you. I just really dislike deep-frying but really love to eat doughnuts. And now that I have found a solution to this quandary I’ve been in, well I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Take it or leave it, but here is the recipe for Apple Cider Doughnuts.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
adapted from Diana’s Desserts
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: You will need a mini bundt baking pan with 6 or 12 cavities or a 6 or 12 cavity doughnut baking pan.
approximately 3 tbsp sugar for baking pans
hazelnut oil* for baking pans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup apple puree
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup plain yogurt
3 tbsp hazelnut oil*
1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp milk
*Hazelnut oil is basically oil that is pressed from hazelnuts that possesses a delicate nutty and buttery flavour. If hazelnut oil is not available, you can substitute with macadamia oil or vegetable oil.
Preheat oven to 190ºC.
Brush cavities of a mini bundt pan or doughnut pan with hazelnut oil.
Sprinkle with sugar, shaking out excess.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, apple puree, maple syrup, cider, yoghurt and hazelnut oil.
Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
Divide the batter among the prepared mini bundt pan or doughnut pans, filling only about halfway up the pans.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched lightly.
Loosen edges and turn the doughnuts out onto a rack to cool.
If required, clean the pans then re-coat it with oil and sugar.
Repeat with remaining batter.
TO MAKE THE ICING
Combine the icing sugar, vanilla and 1 tbsp of milk in a small bowl.
Mix until the icing is of a drizzling consistency. If not, add more milk.
Turn over the doughnuts into the bowl of icing and dip for about 5 seconds until the tops are completely covered.
Return to wire rack to allow icing to set.