I didn’t grow up with school-provided lunches or even school cafeterias where students sit down to eat. In all grades, school ended around 1:30pm and we all went home for lunch. There was a food vendor in the school that worked out of a small room with no tables and with one single window from which we could order sodas and sandwiches if we wanted them during class breaks.
However, I remember that for a little while when I was in elementary school, we would get a school provided mid-morning snack. I was going to an elementary school that a lot of refugee children attended (from the 1974 war in Cyprus), so the government was providing some food to those schools. It consisted of a giant pot filled with sweetened condensed milk that had been thinned with water to the consistency of regular milk and heated over a gas flame until it was almost boiling. We all brought our own mugs and a teacher would stand next to the steaming pot with a big ladle and fill our mugs with the sweet drink. Sometimes we could even get seconds.
But even better was what came with it. A plump donut, often filled with jelly, and covered in white sugar crystals. The combination of the sweet milk and even sweeter donut was what I looked forward to the most at school every day. Now that I think about it, it must have been a terrible idea to give a bunch of elementary school kids a giant sugar spike in the middle of the morning, expecting them to sit quietly in class afterwards.
Today’s recipe is for a different kind of donut. They are cake donuts that are baked, not fried. They are also made partly with whole wheat flour so they are a little more healthy than your regular fried donut. Nevertheless, they pack a ton of flavor from the apple sauce and boiled cider, as well as the maple sugar and cinnamon. They won’t give you the sugar high I probably got back in elementary school, but they will definitely hit the spot.
Whole Wheat Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts – Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes 12 donuts
Note: You can buy donut pans at King Arthur Flour or on Amazon. For the boiled apple cider, I highly recommend the one sold by King Arthur Flour. However, the recipe allows for substituting both the donut pans and the boiled cider if you don’t want to buy them.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple sugar (you may substitute with brown sugar)
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred
4 tablespoons boiled apple cider; or substitute with 6 tablespoons additional applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin; they just won’t be doughnuts.
Whisk together the oil, eggs, sugars, applesauce, boiled cider, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder until smooth.
Add the flours, stirring with a spatula just until smooth. Do not overmix.
Fill the wells of the doughnut pans nearly to the rim; use about 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans).
Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re making muffins, they’ll need to bake for 20 to 23 minutes.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and loosen their edges. After about 5 minutes, transfer them to a rack.
In a medium bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar. While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently toss them in the cinnamon-sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops with cinnamon-sugar.