Happy almost-Thanksgiving, friends!
I can’t believe we’re just a few days away. Does anyone else feel like we spend so much time anticipating the holidays and then they are gone in a flash? I sure do so I’m trying to soak up every second I can…and eat every single one of these Whiskey Soaked Apple Fritters with Maple Whiskey Glaze in the process.
I believe that life is a total balancing act. I don’t believe in diets or juice cleanses or excluding certain food groups from your diet completely (unless, of course, you have a diagnosed allergy or medical condition.) I believe that moderation in everything is key.
So, when I find myself craving a certain something that might not have the best nutritional value (ahem, apple fritters), I try to think of ways to indulge in my craving yet make it just a LITTLE bit healthier.
Apple fritters have got to be one of my absolute favorite doughnut shop treats. There’s something about the crisp outside with the sweet, moist cubes of apple inside that, to me, makes these treats far superior to any plain old cake doughnut. Plus, fruit is a HEALTH FOOD, right? See, always going the healthy route.
I started thinking about a baked apple fritter recipe for a couple of reasons:
- Baked is healthier than fried; and
- Deep frying still scares the bejeezus out of me (hey, I’m trying to overcome this fear, just give me some time!)
I figured I’d have to add some other fun element as well, since the whole deep-fried goodness would be lost. I immediately started thinking about what I could do to the apples. Since I was already picking up some whiskey at the store for this, I decided sneaking some booze into this recipe would be just the thing. And it’s perfect for a slow weekend (or holiday!) morning in the fall, am I right?
I wanted to do a yeast doughnut dough, because I wanted that heartiness and chewiness you get from the dough sitting and rising over a period of time (as opposed to a cake doughnut dough that is more crumbly and less chewy.) I found a good one on the Pioneer Woman blog and it turned out great on the first try (gotta love that since yeast doughs can be so finicky!) She ended up frying her doughnuts, but it worked just fine for my baked doughnuts as well.
Now let’s talk about these apples. I didn’t want them to get TOO brown, so I ended up using a squeeze of lemon juice in addition to the whiskey. I soaked the apples overnight, although I think a half hour would be just fine (the apple is diced into small cubes so it doesn’t take long for the whiskey to soak in.)
Regardless of whether you want to marinate the apples overnight or not, you have to make this dough the night before anyhow, so plan ahead. The prep time is really not that bad, it’s just the wait that’s excruciating!
And before we get to the recipe, I MUST tell you about this maple-whiskey glaze. The sweetness of the maple with a little kick from the whiskey truly makes these treats. Because I was trying to be “healthier”, I was a little restrained in my glaze application. If you really want to just go all in, I highly recommend doubling the glaze recipe and full on dunking the fritters in it. You won’t be sorry.
Here’s to slow holiday weekends with the changing leaves and a bit of chill in the air. Brew up a pot of coffee, throw on some stretchy pants and settle in with a plate of these puppies. You won’t be able to stop at just one. Pinky promise.
- 1 Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apple (depends how tart you like your apples), diced
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 5 tablespoons whiskey
- (adapted from the Pioneer Woman)
- 1 1/8 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- One package Instant or Active-Dry Yeast
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 ¼ stick unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons whiskey
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- Place diced apples in a bowl. Add lemon juice and whiskey, stir to combine. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- Warm up cream in the microwave until it is “bathtub warm.” You want it to be warm enough to activate the yeast but not too hot to kill it.
- Add sugar to the cream and stir until dissolved.
- Pour yeast into a small bowl.
- Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast, stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
- Combine flour and salt in a bowl; set aside.
- Melt butter in separate bowl until mostly melted. Stir to finish melting (you don’t want the butter too hot or it will cook the eggs.)
- Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to avoid the eggs being cooked.
- Add the egg/butter mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- With the mixer on medium-low speed (about a level 3), pour in the yeast mixture. Allow the dough hook to stir this for a couple of minutes to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
- With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in ¼ to ½ cup increments until all of the flour is gone. You may need to stop the mixer as you go and scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula to make sure all of the flour gets incorporated.
- Once all of the flour is added, let the mixer go at the same speed for 5 more minutes.
- After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
- Turn on the mixer for 30 more seconds, then turn it off and let the dough sit in the bowl, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, transfer the dough to a bowl coated with shortening. Toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
- The next morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to a 1/2 –inch thickness. Sprinkle the whiskey-soaked apples on top and press them into the dough so they stick.
- Fold dough in half (with apples inside) and then roll it out again. Right now we are basically incorporating the apples into the dough. Once the dough is thin enough, fold it over one more time (now into fourths) and roll out again to about a ½ - ¾ inch thickness. Fold up any loose edges so that we save as many apples as possible in the dough.
- Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or culinary ring, cut dough into desired serving sizes (I used a 2 ½ inch culinary ring to make circles.) Place on a cookie sheet line with a silpat or parchment paper.
- Cover cookie sheet(s) with a dish towel and let rise in a location in your kitchen that is free from drafts for at least one hour. You can always create your own rising location by placing the cookie sheets on your griddle on low heat for a couple of minutes before you place the fritters on them.
- Once fritters have completed their second rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once oven is preheated, add the fritters and cook for 15 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on cookie sheets.
- Place a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. Place the maple syrup, whiskey and butter in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in almond milk and vanilla extract, then powdered sugar.
- Pour over fritters immediately. (I used a scant tablespoon per fritter, but if you make a double batch of the glaze feel free to be more generous!)
- Let glaze sit for a few minutes and harden a bit before serving.
Plate –> Mouth –> Done.