Friday, 7 October 2016

Halloween 2016: Toffee Apple Doughnuts (Wheat Free)

It's October! Or as I like to call it: Halloween advent. And here's a sticky treat: toffee apple doughnuts!

Since I discovered my inner darkness in my teen years, and also as a result of Mum and Dad making it into a fun event in the year, I've always been fond of Halloween. I like the early dark evenings, the turf fire on at night, and the get-togethers involving food and party games.

Moving into adulthood, unfortunately, Halloween parties become drinking fests, and I find myself yearning for the simpler childhood events that involved wearing a black bin liner (which could make you anything you ever wanted) and eating sweets until I was sick.

One of the sweets that rarely--if ever--graced the Halloween spread in our house was toffee apples. Apple made an appearance in the form of bobbing for them in a mixing bowl full of water, but they never appeared covered in toffee. And in a way that's a good thing, because generally speaking when kids eat them you end up with a house full of skinned, mauled apples with all the toffee eaten off.

As I got older, I experimented with toffee apples and I actually like them, but it's important to use very small, tart apples, which are hard to find. I used to use Pink Ladies, because they're slightly sour and very firm fleshed, but spending ages hovering over the loose apples looking for the smallest ones is time not worth spending.

I experimented with toffee dipping slices of apple, but the surface of the slices was too juicy and the toffee would either run off as I was applying, or melt off over the course of the day, leaving a sticky toffee puddle under the apple slice. Apple slices dip very well in chocolate, however.

So, I decided to try and do something to capture the essence of a toffee apple, but be a small treat that isn't overwhelmingly and insurmountably sickly. And who doesn't like doughnuts?

A little cake doughnut filled with stewed apple and wrapped in a creamy toffee layer provides that instant sugar hit and autumnal feel that you'd get with a toffee apple, but without it eating it being a monstrous task.

☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat
☑ Nuts

☒ Eggs
☒ Dairy
☒ Gluten
☒ Refined sugar products


For about 16 mini filled doughnuts
  • 1 pound (455 grammes) doughnut dough (use your favourite recipe, or use this recipe)
  • 1 firm eating apple, like a Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Gala
  • Two pinches ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon cornflour

For the crunchy toffee coating
  • 6 ounces caster sugar
  • 3 ounces golden syrup
  • 3 ounces evaporated milk, or cream
  • 16 wooden lolly sticks


First, make the apple filling,
  • Peel and core the apple, and cut into half inch (1 centimetre) cubes. Put into a small saucepan with all the ingredients except the cornflour. Bring to the boil, then reduce the temperature to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the apple is tender.
  • Put the cornflour in a small cup, and add a tablespoon of water. Mix into a slurry, then pour into the saucepan slowly, stirring all the time. Cook until the sauce goes back to being transparent, and it has thickened.
  • Once fully cooked, set aside until completely cool; about an hour.

Then, make the doughnuts,
  • Preheat the cooking oil to 180°C (350°F), either in a deep fryer or a heavy saucepan.
  • Roll out the doughnut dough to a quarter inch (5 millimetre) thickness. Cut into as many 3 inch circles as you can, and make pairs of circles. Put half a teaspoon of the apple filling on one circle, brush another circle with water, and make a sandwich. Press the edges together very well, then cut into a 2 inch (5 centimetre) circle, keeping the jam in the centre. This will keep them well sealed. 
  • Repeat until you have run out of circles, then gently mash together and re-roll the trimmings, Continue until you have used all the dough.
  • Cook the doughnuts in the oil, about 3 at a time so as not to overcrowd the fryer. Cook for about 2 or 3 minutes on either side, until golden brown and puffed. Drain on kitchen towel then allow to cool on a wire rack.

Finally, make the toffee and assemble,
  • Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper, or a silicone liner.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine all the toffee ingredients and melt together slowly over low heat, until every sugar grain has dissolved.
  • Increase the heat to medium, and cook at a slow boil for about 10 minutes. If you have a sugar thermometre, it should read between 146 and 154°C (295 to 309 °F). If using the cold water test, a small drop in a glass of ice-cold water should snap cleanly.
  • Immediately remove from the heat, and place on a folded tea towel to protect the work surface. Take a lolly stick, dip the very tip in the toffee, and stick it into a doughnut. Then dip the doughnut into the toffee, twirling it to cover it completely in toffee. Tap gently on the edge of the saucepan to drip off the excess, then place it on the tray, holding it for a few seconds untilit can stand upright by itself.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining toffee and doughnuts. If the toffee starts to set, put it over a low heat until it goes runny again.
  • If you have any toffee left over, you can pour it out on another baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper, or a silicone cake tin.

This is a tasty alternative to a full toffee apple, and they have a lovely fluffy doughnut added to boot. This should be a delicious treat for Halloween, or indeed Bonfire Night on November 5th.

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