Trying to find treats to send on their lunches that are not full of sugar or fat are difficult. I've been wanting to explore baking without sugar but have feared the results. I'm happy to tell you that these doughnuts are made without any processed sugar and the kids loved them. Of course, I did in fact slather some sugar-laden icing on top, so perhaps that is cheating but I figure we're taking things one step at a time here. Don and I both enjoyed these without the icing and found it similar to an old fashioned plain doughnut. The sweetness is achieved by using apple butter, apple sauce and grated apple. Not familiar with apple butter? It is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce, produced by long, slow cooking of apples with cider to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, creating a preserve. It's entirely natural and a great sweetener to keep handy for multiple uses. I'm planning to tackle a few more creations without sugar and will post whatever success is achieved here.
I hesitated whether to share the recipe because it uses a specialty doughnut pan. This handy pan allows you to bake doughnuts quickly and easily. Putting the batter in a Ziploc bag makes for easy pouring into the doughnut spots. It's pure genius from this mom's perspective. It creates the illusion of a food that my kids rarely get their hands on. Sometimes it's all in the marketing. I believe this batter could be used in a muffin form as well with great success. That is essentially what you're baking in a doughnut shape, but I can't guarantee the same level of excitement.