Tuesday, August 28, 2012

apple cider doughnut holes (a.k.a. little bites of heaven)

The food boards on Pinterest are going to make me fat. Every day I come across a recipe I want to make or bake, and then smash into my face. (As for the boards full of inspirational quotes and work-out tips: You can keep 'em.) Sometimes I just ogle at the perfectly plated pictures, maybe check out the ingredients. Other times I follow the pin back to it's source and email myself the full recipe, which then gets filed away for some party or some dinner for some time in the future. But when I came across this recipe for apple cider doughnut holes made in a mini-muffin tray*, the very next day I made a shopping list, hit the grocer, trekked out to my parents' house, and--with my sister, Lorraine's help--made them. And, wow, I'm so happy I did.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp plus 1 T cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. apple butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 c. honey
- 1/3 c. apple cider
- 1/3 c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 T canola oil
- canola cooking spray
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 1 c. white sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 2 tsp cinnamon. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, apple butter, vanilla extract, honey, apple cider, yogurt, and canola oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. The batter should be thick. Using a tablespoon, fill each hole of a 24-hole mini muffin pan only half way. (If you fill it any more, you will have mega mini muffins, not doughnut-hole look-alikes.) Bake for 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, melt butter in a microwave-safe dish and combine remaining cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. While doughnut holes are still warm, lightly brush the melted butter on all sides of each doughnuthole, then roll them in cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat the sides and top. 
Lorraine and I doubled the recipe and ended up with just over 100 bite-sized doughnut holes. We spent the rest of the afternoon placing the treats in brown baggies lined with wax paper and then tying them with riffia ribbon. Lorraine took a few baggies to her skating friends, and I took mine on our morning caravan to Polyface Farms. Paired with a traveler cup of coffee, they were the perfect road-trip nibbles. (Small victory: Even though there were apples involved, Jon liked them!) I will definitely be making these again.
*OK, yes: Technically doughnut are fried, not baked in mini-muffin tins. But dip these baked buggers in melted butter, roll them in cinnamon-sugar, and then try to tell me they're not positively awesome.