Cook the Book: Low-Fat Applesauce Doughnuts

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Healthy and delicious recipes from Serious Eats

Cook the Book: Low-Fat Applesauce Doughnuts

Book Cover

Amy Scherber has seen countless food trends come and go since she first launched Amy's Bread in 1992. The low-fat craze of the mid '90s was one of the most obsessive (customers used to ask about the fat content of Amy's breakfast items), but it also proved to be extremely inspiring.

It was during that time that the bakers at Amy's developed the recipe for these Low-Fat Applesauce Doughnuts, excerpted from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread. They contain only 4 grams of fat per serving. In truth they're not really doughnuts at all; they're little apple cakes baked in individual Bundt molds that have "cute round shapes and holes in the middle."

The intense apple flavor of these perfect fall treats comes from a combination of applesauce, apple juice, and maple syrup. It is further enhanced by a range of warming spices, including mace, nutmeg, and ginger.

Even though the low-fat fad has passed, these doughnuts remain a popular breakfast selection. I like mine with a hot mug of tea and a slathering of pumpkin butter.

  • Yield:Makes 12 doughnuts


  • 2 1/2 cups (365 g/112.87 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 cup (265 g/9.35 oz) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (115 g/4 oz) apple juice
  • 1/3 cup (85 g/3 oz) nonfat buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup (115 g/4 oz) maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g/ 1.41 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Superfine sugar for coating pans


  1. 1.

    Position one rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare the pans. Spray evenly with nonstick spray and coat with plenty of superfine sugar, if available; otherwise use regular granulated sugar. Shake out the excess.

  2. 2.

    In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, mace, nutmeg, and allspice and whisk together.

  3. 3.

    In a medium mixing bowl, add the applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, apple juice, buttermilk, syrup, butter, and vanilla and mix well to combine.

  4. 4.

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together just until the batter is smooth.

  5. 5.

    Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, using approximately 1/3 cup per doughnut. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans from front to back after 5 minutes. The doughnuts are done if they spring back when touched lightly on the top. Their tops should not be browned.

  6. 6.

    Let the pans cool for 5 minutes, then turn the doughnuts out and place them on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy them warm from the oven or eat them within 6 to 8 hours. Wrap the remaining doughnuts in plastic film to keep fresh.