I have eaten an apple with lunch for as long as I can remember. I'm very particular about it. One of my sweet teachers from way back when told me later on that she remembered seeing me with a perfect apple every single day that she knew me. I am still obsessed with them. Very fairy tale, right?
The best kind of all is a Pink Lady apple. They're reddish-pinkish-yellow-and-green. They are really sweet and really sour. Sometimes, they're hard to find, and I'll have a Fuji or a Honeycrisp instead, but I always come back to my favorite.
The other day it dawned on me that out of all the baking I do with apples, I never bake with the Pink Lady variety. These apple doughnuts have plenty of warm spices and apple flavor due to the grated apples, apple sauce, apple butter, and a hint of apple cider vinegar. (If you don't have a doughnut pan handy, I think the recipe could be tried out with muffins, no problem.)
For doughnuts in town, I like Café Eclectic and Gibson's, of course; if you haven't had doughnuts at both places, you've got to change that. I also want to go to LadyBugg Bakery in Hernando and try their apple cider doughnut soon. I have this book from the Top Pot guys; it's good if you really want to get into making your own at home, and you can try their doughnuts at Starbucks sometimes. And if you're near Seattle, I am jealous because I miss my trips to Mighty-O.
Spiced Pink Lady Apple Baked Doughnuts
(Makes about 8 full-size doughnuts)
2 Pink Lady apples (about 1 1/2 cups peeled and shredded apple)
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons apple butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg (beaten)
2 tablespoons sorghum
1/2 cup light brown sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 tablespoon butter (melted)
To coat warm doughnuts:
3 tablespoons melted olive oil margarine
3 tablespoons cane sugar
1 tablespoon pure maple flakes (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse the shredded apple in the food processor a few times in order to break up any long strips, but don't make it apple sauce. Mix it with apple sauce, apple butter, canola oil, egg, sorghum, light brown sugar, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. Gently fold in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients; be sure not to over-mix; stop mixing when you can barely see the flour in the mixture. Use a silicone brush to lightly coat the doughnut pan with melted butter. Spoon in the batter and bake for about 15-20 minutes until the tops of doughnuts are golden brown. While they're baking, make the coating mixture. Melt the margarine and set aside. In another bowl, mix cane sugar, crushed maple flakes, cinnamon, and sea salt and set aside.
Take them out and let them cool for a few minutes before loosening the edges of doughnuts with a non-metal implement like a plastic lettuce knife so you don't scratch the pan. Place them on a wire rack and brush them with melted butter before you spoon the dry coating mixture over them in a deep bowl or put some of the coating mixture into a bowl and swirl it around with the doughnut and press doughnut into it.