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Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts

Apple Doughnuts

Soft, fragrant, pillowy morsels of dough encasing a cinnamon scented ring of apple goodness. Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts. These will make you turn into the worst poet. Granted. But oh sweetness, they are worth losing a rhyme or two over.

Forgive me if it sounds like my mind has been lost to a wonderful piece of apple cinnamon doughnut. Truth be told, I have had much less than my usual four hours of sleep these past few days and well, it does not bode well for articulated posts and inspiring poetry.

Lady Apples

It does however create the perfect occasion to head to the kitchen for a cup of hot cocoa and a couple of piping hot apple doughnuts rolled into cinnamon sugar. Comforting warm doughnuts to cover up a mid afternoon slump of my eyelids on the keyboard. That, and a hug from my mother and I am good to go for another 8 hours.

It’s fun and strange to have my parents visit while B. and I are both busy with work and life but we do find some time to cook and hang out or listen to some jazz by going to see my husband play with his band. I always have a super soft spot seeing my mother beaming with pride when her son-in-law grabs his trombone and start playing her favorite tune.

Apple Doughnuts

What’s that got to do with apple doughnuts? Nothing and a lot. All sorts of fuzzies in the heart. A huge sense of now becoming the adult I knew I could be in the eyes of my parents. The simple fact of spending an entire day on a shoot and coming home to warm "Bonjour! Comment ca c’est passé la journée?" (Hello! How did your day go) in a language I now only hear when I call home.

The simplicity of making dough and letting it rise. Taking the time to have a cup of tea with my parents while we make plan for the next day and my head is nothing but a vast juggling act of lists and deadlines.


These apple doughnuts are so good we have deemed them "inhalable". If you need a fix, just hover over a plate of these and the world will instantly slow down and be kinder to you. If I had thought this through a little bit better, I would have made a batch and parked in the freezer. There will be some much needed inhalably inhalable moments in the next few days. And I fear less recipes to be posted. Trust me I’ll be cooking though!

I am putting the whole family in the car for a drive to Birmingham, Alabama where I am speaking at Food Blog South. There won’t be much time for sight seeing but I am honored they asked me to speak on a panel and would not miss this for the world (great chance to catch up with close blogging friends too). We have to head back here right after my session on Saturday so I have Sunday to prep for work.

Apple Doughnuts

I am thrilled to be photographing the cookbook "Marmalade" by Elizabeth Field (Running Press) all through next week! You should have seen my parents eyes lit up when I showed them the shot list and recipe list! Seven cases of marmalade of all sorts arrived at the house last week to be photographed as they are as well as used in savory and sweet recipes.

Although I fear there won’t be any recipe post, I will do my best to give you a lay out and various views of how a book shoot shapes up and takes place. I can’t wait to get going. I am still tweaking some ideas for certain shots but that’s just part of the excitement! Already went through the production part with kitchen assistants and now I am just picking out props, linens and surfaces for the shoot.

If only I could let my mind rest for a minute before Monday that we start and I will be golden!

Maybe I need a couple more apple doughnuts….

Apple Doughnuts, inspired from Epicurious:

Makes 12 small ones or 6 large ones

Notes: for this recipe, I made one batch with all purpose flour and another batch with a gluten free flour mix and we literally loved both. The original recipe called for 6 slices whole Granny Smith apple (not cored or peeled) but I used 12 slices of tiny Lady Apples I had. They were the perfect size for a small treat while packing a ton of flavor. I don’t deep fry but I use a deep cast iron skillet and it works perfectly

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1.5 tablespoons lukewarm water
1/2 cup (125ml) lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
50g unsalted butter, melted
2 1/4 cups (335g) Jeanne’s gluten free mix (or same amount all purpose flour)
2 eggs
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 slices mini Lady Apples
canola oil for frying

Place the yeast, water, milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until the surface is frothy and bubbling.
Add the butter, flour, eggs and another tablespoon sugar to the yeast and use the paddle attachment to mix until you get a sticky dough.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and need for a minute. Oil the inside of a large bowl with a little vegetable or canola oil (with pastry brush or paper towel), cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place, free from drafts until the dough has doubled in size.

Place the remaining sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and apple slices in a large bowl and toss the apple to coat them well.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half and roll each to about 1/4 -inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut rounds of dough throughout. Place one apple slice in the middle of one. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paperand set to the side.
Roll out the other half of the dough and proceed to cut same amount of rounds from that one. Top each apple slice with a piece of dough (from second batch) and pinch the edges to seal tight. Cut a small hole through the middle with another small cookie cutter (found that bottle tops are the perfect size).
Leave the doughnuts on the cookie sheet until they rise again for another 30 minutes.
Heat up the oil to 350F and fry in small batches for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Dust with some sugar mixed with a pinch of cinnamon and eat fast…!

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Anonymous January 27, 2012 um 8:47 am

Amazing as always! I love your blog!

Pırpır January 27, 2012 um 8:49 am

Looks very nice! I will definately try this. Are we really supposed to fry the doughnut to get that doughnut taste? I've never tried making any, so I have no idea. :/

Pırpır from

Dulce Pampa January 27, 2012 um 9:04 am

Miammmm, they look soo spongy! and your photos are so inspiting… thanks for sharing

Unknown January 27, 2012 um 9:30 am

So perfect!!!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 27, 2012 um 10:25 am

My $9 donut pan was the biggest "cheap thrill" purchase of 2011. I love it and get so much use from it! Making donuts is so EASY the way I make them…and they look cuter than muffins I think 🙂

Yours are gorgeous. Love the dark blue props you used.

Caroline @ chocolate & carrots January 27, 2012 um 11:19 am

I finally broke down and bought a donut pan. These look like a must make! I love how rustic and beautiful they look! Go going Helene!

Vickie January 27, 2012 um 12:00 pm

these look & sound awesome 🙂

Maureen January 27, 2012 um 12:03 pm

I looked through the list of blog posts I normally follow and saw gluten free, apple cinnamon and doughnuts all in one line.

I had to come here first because apple cinnamon doughnuts are what my gazillion year old grandmother used to make for me when I was a kid in Maine. I LOVED them. I can close my eyes now and still smell them.

I'm definitely making these. My gran never wrote a recipe down so everything was lost when she died. I was still young then.

Valérie (France) January 27, 2012 um 12:14 pm

Ils sont terriblement appétissants
Je te souhiate une bonne fin de semaine


larissa January 27, 2012 um 12:37 pm

I was intrigued that you don't deep fry these donuts – you use cast iron skillet. Can you please clarify your method?
I would be thrilled to use my cast iron for this delicious treat.

okcamp January 27, 2012 um 12:51 pm

The photo of the eggs in basket is so beautiful.

You must have the best job in the world….you create wonderful things and get to eat them, too.

I'm looking forward to reading your posts about the book shoot. I hope you have fun with it.

Sini January 27, 2012 um 12:54 pm

I simply have to make these! I've never deep fried anything in my kitchen but am willing to try.

Sini January 27, 2012 um 1:01 pm

I have one question: how much oil do you need to fry these doughnuts? An inch high?

Anonymous January 27, 2012 um 1:10 pm

How gorgeous are these doughnuts? Could happily eat one now even though I've just finished a big Friday lunch. Gorgeous photos, as always – I feel a poem coming on… 🙂

Laurie January 27, 2012 um 3:06 pm

I love making doughnuts but I find if they are not eaten that afternoon they are like hockey pucks, any suggestions?

Laura January 27, 2012 um 3:09 pm

Thanks for this recipe and for pointing to Jeanne's flour mix recipe.

Will try them right away! YUM.

Your mom must be in heaven to be with you.

Colette (Coco) January 27, 2012 um 3:30 pm

Bottle tops! How clever!

Lia Griffith January 27, 2012 um 4:07 pm

Thank you for this post! Donuts are my favorite treat and I have not had one since I became gluten free. I am excited to try this recipe

Unknown January 27, 2012 um 4:15 pm

I purchased your book, "Plate to Pixel", shortly after I started my blog last July. Reading your book has helped to demystify food photography for me, and I have seen my photos slowly improve.

I visit your site often, but this is the first time I've left a comment, because I was excited about the colors you used in your photography for this post. I'm beginning to think about colors constantly and am purchasing fabric swatches, poster board, printed paper and anything that might spark an idea for a background or theme for a food photo.

Thanks for your continual inspiration.


Helene January 27, 2012 um 4:21 pm

Pirpir: somw will tell you yes and some no. It is a matter of taste. If fried right, with a high temp and not too many in the pan crowding it, reducing the temperatures, you won't get greasy doughnuts

Larissa: just pour the oil in the cast iron skillet, heat to temperature and fry the doughnuts according to the recipe.

Sini: i never measure but between one and two inches i guess.

Laurie: too much flour at the start will create hockey pucks later on. I found that the softer the dough, the longer the doughnuts stay fresh and good.

Thanks everyone!

Lauren January 27, 2012 um 4:32 pm

I think there must be great satisfaction in having our parents watch us work. Especially in the work we're so clearly meant to do, as you are here. Gorgeous photos in this post, Helene. Just stunning! Can't wait to see the results of the marmalade shoot!

Milin kuvar January 27, 2012 um 4:36 pm

Like the light, plates and compositions 🙂 Doughnuts looks amaizing too!

Anonymous January 27, 2012 um 8:51 pm

I'm a beginners in this world of dought but maybe I'll prepared these amazing doughnuts for the sunday breakfast!
Pictures like always are very beatiful 🙂

Michael January 27, 2012 um 10:20 pm

Your doughnuts look dreamy and thrilled they are gluten-free. I will definitely give this recipe a try and congrats on another cookbook project!

Rocky Mountain Woman January 27, 2012 um 10:40 pm

I am in the middle of an afternoon slump myself and these look like they might just be what I need! time for donuts for this girl today…

Rut January 28, 2012 um 7:52 am

Ho mostrato a mio figlio il suo sito con le ricette, lui è celiaco e ha 10 anni.Ha detto:" Eccellente!Mio figlio è molto incoraggiato nel vedere le sue ricette e bellissime foto,ha capito che esistono ricette buone e deliziose anche senza glutine. Buon lavoro!Ha tutta la mia stima per il lavoro che fa!

JulieS January 28, 2012 um 10:15 am

Just discovered your blog through a friend. What beautiful food you make! Really appreciate the gluten free options as I have Celiac disease. I'll come back often!

Nina @ ambrosia January 28, 2012 um 6:45 pm

These look absolutely beautiful, but then again, your photos always do 🙂 They also sound delicious!

Beth @ Hungry Happenings January 29, 2012 um 2:01 am

What an intriguing idea to put a slice of apple smack dab in the middle of a doughnut. I can't wait to try them.

Leeann January 29, 2012 um 4:47 am

We just finished making (and eating) these this evening! We all agreed they are a keeper. Thanks for a wonderful recipe and beautiful presentation!

Deeba PAB January 29, 2012 um 6:48 am

I love how beautiful these doughnuts look…wow! The book session sounds out of this world too. I love it that you've found your calling in life…your photographs reflect your passion!

Daisy@Nevertoosweet January 29, 2012 um 4:27 pm

Yum! Since Krispy Kreme closed in HK I haven't seen any places that sell many donuts 🙂 These donuts look great and I don't think i've had apple flavoured ones hehe ~

Laurel January 29, 2012 um 5:09 pm

I need to try this. My mom and I have made a few homemade doughnuts, but I have yet to be overly impressed. Thanks so much!

Anonymous January 30, 2012 um 1:28 am

You had me at apple cinnamon. These sound so amazing! I never would have thought of making doughnuts at home, but now I definitely am. Thanks!

Jenny January 30, 2012 um 11:08 am

I absolutely love your photography and your use of colour! I must have read your book at least 5 times

Barbara Bakes January 30, 2012 um 12:20 pm

Sounds like a fun work project. I'd love to be one of those assistants. The doughnuts like scrumptious.

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet January 30, 2012 um 5:36 pm

I have my husband right next to me while reading this; he is already requesting that I make them 🙂

Unknown January 30, 2012 um 11:20 pm

These sound delicious. Your pictures are absolutely stunning.

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides January 31, 2012 um 5:46 am

i've never tried making doughnuts because it involves my worst enemy – yeast! why do yeasted goods scare the heck out of me?? perhaps because i've had a string of failed recipes 🙁 if i were to try a recipe, it would definitely be doughnuts, as i love them!

marla January 31, 2012 um 1:15 pm

Reading this post really made me miss my folks 🙂
Lovely donuts & BIG congrats on Marmalade. Please keep me posted on it's release date!

Gen January 31, 2012 um 8:13 pm

Hum, les donuts, un vrai régal!

Anonymous January 31, 2012 um 9:54 pm

So thrilled to have found your blog – it's a delight to read and feast my eyes upon. Best of luck with the cookbook photography – I'm quite sure it will be beautiful. I'm signing up to follow your work.
Mary x

Michelle February 1, 2012 um 12:34 am

Wow- these look so beautiful! The day that I can make a doughnut this perfect, my life will be complete.

pet food February 1, 2012 um 10:29 am

Doughnut is one of my favorite bread.
The texture are very soft and some of doughnut are sweet. But I did't try this apple cinnamon, the picture itself looks delicious. I think I have to taste it.

Frozen calzones February 1, 2012 um 3:09 pm

That looks fantastic I will try it for the next Sunday brunch in family for sure!
Cinnamon and apple are such a mouthwatering duo!

Seanna Lea February 1, 2012 um 3:54 pm

I will have to make these for the Super Bowl this Sunday. They look so good!

Catarina February 1, 2012 um 8:03 pm

Hello Helene 🙂

what if I try to do a cake version of this? Do you think it would work? My brother loves doughnuts and I thought that this would make a perfect birthday cake for him!

Great blog, your work is amazing.

Dmarie February 4, 2012 um 10:54 am

gorgeous photos…delectable content. thanks yet again!

kyleen February 5, 2012 um 11:54 pm

These apple cinnamon doughnuts look delicious and your photos are gorgeous, as always.

Tous Catalogo February 27, 2012 um 5:15 pm

Looks awesome! I will definately try this. Are we really supposed to fry the doughnut to get that doughnut taste? I've never tried making any, so I have no idea


Beglaubigte Übersetzung September 10, 2012 um 5:04 pm

Apple and cinemon – my favourite combo! Looks amazing!

For The Love of Ghee! July 29, 2013 um 9:26 pm

Absolutely love your blog.

just the tops October 1, 2013 um 1:40 pm

Can I proof this over night at all? I want to make it for a friend's birthday Wednesday, and I was wondering what work I can do Tuesday night.

Helene October 3, 2013 um 1:27 pm

Just the tops: you may if you are using regular flour but if you are using gluten free flour, proofing is not going to change much or work since there are no gluten strands in the flour to proof. Good luck!

Andreas November 11, 2014 um 6:40 am

photos are so inspiting… thanks

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