These gluten free apple fritters are made with yeasted dough and big chunks of apple, fried to perfection, just like Starbucks.
Some may differ on the quality and flavor of Starbucks coffee (I'm not usually much of a fan), but their baked goods are across-the-board lovely—or at the very least look and smell that way. Lately, I've been dreaming most often about their apple fritters. And it turns out that the dough from the Japanese Milk Bread from page 59 of GFOAS Bakes Bread makes an excellent gluten free apple fritters, in the Starbucks style. Dream realized. Craving? Satisfied.
There really aren't very many steps, but I took lots of photos to really spell things out since I think that can be quite helpful. Don't you agree? And since I've made a habit of doing these step-by-step collages, it's not like you have to painstakingly scroll through a million photos.
I find that dividing the dough into 12 pieces, treating the cooked and diced apples like filling, then scattering more apples on top before frying the fritters to perfection creates the perfect ratio of dough-to-apple in every bite.
These apple fritters are everything I dreamed they'd be: lightly sweet (they really do need the glaze, since it's by far the sweetest part), nice and fluffy and packed with slightly tart cooked apples inside, and just crisp enough outside. The apples in the middle of the dough, along with those on top of each fritter, keep the fritters tasting fresh even the next day (as long as you wrap the fritters up tight and store them at room temperature).
And cooking the apples before frying means that you don't have to overcook the pastries just to get the apples tender enough without being mushy. Add these gluten free apple fritters to the ever-increasing list of Starbucks copycat recipes here on the blog!
Starbucks-Style Gluten Free Apple Fritters
1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used Granny Smith, but any firm apple will do)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar
Oil, for frying (I used a combination of equal parts canola oil and Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening)
1/2 cup (58 g) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons milk (any kind), plus more by the 1/4 teaspoonful if necessary
The dough can be made and worked with on the same day, although it may be more difficult to handle than if it has a 12-hour (or up to 5-day) rise in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Simply place the covered dough in a warm, draft-free environment until doubled in size, then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Prepare the bread dough. If using the Japanese milk bread dough from GFOAS Bakes Bread, prepare the dough through its first rise (See Recipe Notes) and allow it to sit in the refrigerator while you prepare the apples. If using the Japanese milk bread dough from the blog, prepare it according to the recipe directions through step 3 of that recipe, then place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside.
Cook the apples. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Placed the diced apples, cinnamon and sugar in the pan, and stir to combine. Sauté the apples, stirring occasionally, until they are just fork tender. Remove from the heat and set the pan aside to allow the apples to cool.
Shape the bread dough. If using the bread dough from the book, turn out the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and, using the scrape and fold kneading method and a very light touch, sprinkle the dough with more flour and knead it lightly, sprinkling with flour when necessary to prevent it from sticking and scraping the dough off the floured surface with a floured bench scraper, then folding it over on itself. Repeat scraping and folding until the dough has become smoother. Do not overwork the dough or you will incorporate too much flour and it will not rise properly. If using the Japanese milk bread dough from the blog, prepare it according to the recipe directions through step 3 of that recipe. With either dough, line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking oil. This will make it much easier to lift the fritters into the fryer after they have finished rising. Divide the dough in half, then each half into half again and so on until you have 12 equal pieces (each about 3 ounces). Roll each piece of dough into a round, sprinkling lightly with more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, and then pat into a round about 1/2-inch thick. Scatter about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cooked diced apples on top and toward the center of each round, and lift the edges of the dough up and over to seal in the apples. Invert each piece of dough and, sprinkling lightly with flour as necessary to prevent sticking, pat it into a round about 1/2-inch thick. Place the pieces of prepared dough about 2 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and set in a warm, draft-free location to rise for 30 minutes, or until puffed but not doubled.
Fry the fritters. As the fritters are nearing the end of their rise, place about 3-inches of frying oil in a medium-size, heavy-bottom pot or fryer. Clip a deep-fry/candy thermometer to the side of the pot or fryer, and place the oil over medium-high heat to bring the oil temperature to a steady 325°F. Remove the plastic wrap, scatter a few more cooked diced apples on top of each raised fritter and press down gently to help them adhere. Carefully place the fritters a few at a time in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the oil. Fry until very lightly golden brown all over (about 1 1/2 minutes per side). As soon as each batch is removed from the fryer, place on a wire rack placed over paper towels to drain and cool completely.
Glaze the cooled fritters. While the fritters are cooling, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon and 1 1/2 teaspoons of milk. Mix well, until a thick paste forms. Add more milk by the 1/4-teaspoon, mixing to combine well, until the glaze falls off the spoon slowly, in a thick but pourable glaze. Add milk very slowly, as it is much easier to thin, than to thicken, the glaze. If you do thin the glaze too much, add more confectioners’ sugar a teaspoon at a time to thicken it. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled fritters and serve.