APPLE SEASON IS UPON US! Break out the sweaters, candles, and brown sugar because it's time to make festive autumnal treats.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away so I went ahead and put my apple into... donuts. Okay, let's be honest: this is not the healthiest-keep-the-doctor-away treat but when you wake up one morning and the air is crisp and your summer blankets aren't quite enough to keep you warm and the sky is overcast and your toes are cold and Hocus Pocus is playing on ABC Family, apple fritters are exactly what "the doctor" (a.k.a. ME) calls for. I apologize for rambling but sometimes you just have to set the mooooood.
While I would've loved to have gone to an actual apple orchard upstate this past weekend to pick my own apples and seen the leaves starting to turn, New York was experiencing the side effects of a hurricane crossing the Atlantic and the weather wasn't in my favor. Instead I had to bring the apple orchard into my kitchen... or like, 2 apples. Not exactly an orchard but seasonal nonetheless.
I have to admit I am not normally a fan of cooked apples. The smell of apples and cinnamon, however, instantly reminds me of fall. There's nothing quite so delicious smelling as a home filled with the aroma of apples, brown sugar, spices and butter. It's insanely comforting. It makes me want to cuddle up on the couch with cozy clothes, a warm blanket, and good, old fashioned, scary movie. By old-fashioned I mean a literal old movie because I can't handle any "new-age" scary stuff. I'll pee my pants, scream, and never sleep again. But give me Alfred Hitchcock any day and I am a happy camper. I DIGRESS. What I meant to say was these apple fritters go perfectly with cozy cuddles on the couch, whether that's cuddles with your S.O., your dog, your blanket... or more apple fritters.
Pocketed inside these little, warm balls (hehe balls) are spiced and diced apples and little nuggets of gooey caramel enveloped in a light vanilla glaze. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is and I've already eaten too many to count. Now you should definitely start heating up some oil so you can enjoy these too.
- 3 cups canola/vegetable oil for frying
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar (divided by 2)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (divided by 2)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
- Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramels, diced into half pieces
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 3 tablespoons whole milk (more as needed)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon rum (optional)
Pour canola oil into a medium, thick bottomed pot. It should leave you with a couple inches of frying room. Heat the oil over low to medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 360 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer (I discovered mine was broken while preparing this) just make sure to keep it at a low heat. You can test the temperature later when you have dough prepped.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Now, attach the dough hook (for lighter/fluffier dough) and turn the stand mixer to a low speed. Add one egg at a time until incorporated and then add the milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Let the hook kneed the dough a at a low speed until the dough is just mixed. You can scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed but in the end you should have no traces of flour. Try not to over-mix the batter.
In a separate bowl, combine the diced apple, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until coated. Toss into the fritter batter.
Once the oil is hot, or you think it is, you can drop a tiny amount of dough into the oil. You can tell it's hot enough if it browns and quickly floats to the top of the oil. Using a cookie scoop or melon baller, fill each scoop 2/3 of the way and then insert a halved piece of caramel into the center of your batter. Gently drop the dough into the hot oil, working in batches of 4 or 5. Do not over crowd the frying pot and maintain a medium-low heat. Once each fritter is brown on all sides (about 2-3 minutes), remove the fritters from the hot oil with a pasta spoon or clawed spatula and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat this frying process for the rest of the batter. Remember, caramel is optional and sometimes drops out of the batter to the bottom of the pot due to its weight. However, for the fritters where it does survive the inside is extra delicious.
In a shallow bowl, prepare the glaze by whisking the confectioner's sugar, milk, salt, vanilla extract, and rum. Rum is optional and just adds a little kick. I think this would also be delicious with a touch of bourbon in the glaze but I didn't have any on hand. You can add more milk or rum if the glaze is too thick. Add more confectioners sugar if the glaze is too thin. Dunk the apple fritters into the glaze and coat, removing with a fork and place on a sheet of parchment paper to harden slightly. Best served fresh but also delicious cooled and along with a cup of coffee or cider. #yumtown.