Monday, January 20, 2014

Cinnamon Glazed Apple Fritters with @XylaXylitol

Have you ever cooked with xylitol? You may recognize the name of the sugar substitute from packets of sugar-free gum and mints, but until very recently it never came up on my radar as a cooking and baking ingredient. Now it's up there with stevia as being one of the best sugar substitutes in the market, with the power not only to add a sweet taste (1:1 for sugar) but protect gums and teeth, stabilize insulin release and regulate hormone levels. With an extremely low GI, it's safe for diabetics and many of those with yeast (i.e. Candida) issues can use it as well since it has a natural ability to kill yeast cells.

One of the best things about baking with products like Xyla is that it really does behave like sugar in the sweet kitchen, adding tenderness and a crisp outer texture to things like cookies. Unless you're using buckets of the stuff - not something I'd recommend due to it's ability to cause interesting gastric effects when consumed en masse (just like all other sugar alcohols) - you can barely tell you've used anything different, and if you combine the granular Xyla with regular sugar the resulting product is identical to the full-sucrose original. Xyla also makes its own candy, which is a nice enough treat in the middle of the day even though it isn't exactly like the lollipops or hard candy of your childhood. The only variety I wouldn't recommend is the citrus drops, since xylitol has a slight "cool mint" element that doesn't marry to well with vibrant orange.

Xylitol is also not a calorie-free option, though it has 60% of the energy of sugar (2.4 calories / gram vs 4 calories / gram). The energy in the sweetener is also a slowly-digesting form, so your body doesn't switch into "sugar crash" mode after a xylitol treat.

Xylitol's main downfall in the kitchen is in the yeasted bread world... but it doesn't make it totally useless. After a few failed attempts to make dough with xylitol mixed with the flour rise, I changed my tack and mixed it in at the very end of kneading. That, combined with using instant yeast and a slightly longer rise time, contributed to puffier (albeit not "floating away" light) dough perfect for cramming with "bits" - just like these baked doughnuts!

Cinnamon Glazed Apple Fritters

Since I (and my parents) love Tim Hortons' apple fritters, but not their fat content comparable to 11 strips of bacon, it has been a pet project of mine to try and make a slightly healthier option. For these, I made the whole-grain yeast dough sweetened with Xyla and laced with rich camelina oil and spicy nutmeg, then folded in chunks of buttery sauteed apple. To cap it all off, a cinnamony glaze gave them an irresistibly gooey, lick-your-fingers quality that was a spitting image of the ones we used to buy at the apple orchard.  While I wouldn't call them "health food", they were definitely above and beyond their chain-made cousins... and that's good enough for me!

Shared with  Mouthwatering Monday

Cinnamon Glazed Apple Fritters
Makes 8

Apples:
1 tsp salted butter
2 medium apples, peeled and diced
3 packets (or 1 tbsp) Pure Via Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar & Stevia Blend
¼ tsp cinnamon

Doughnuts:
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp Homemade Egg Replacer powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup warm whole milk
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp camelina oil
¼ cup Xyla (or sugar)
 
Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp whole milk

Apples:
  1. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the apples, stevia and cinnamon, stirring well.
  3. Cook, stirring often, for 5-10 minutes, until the apples are soft and the mixture is syrupy.
  4. Cool completely before using.
Doughnuts:
  1. In a large bowl, combine flours, yeast, egg replacer, salt and nutmeg.
  2. Add the milk, honey and oil and mix well to form a soft dough.
  3. Knead in the bowl for 5-7 minutes. Add xylitol and knead 2 minutes.
  4. Cover and let rest 20 minutes. Gently knead in the apples.
  5. Re-cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop portions of dough onto a lined cookie sheet and lightly cover. Let rest 50-60 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  8. Bake donuts for 13 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely
Glaze:
  1. Combine icing sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a small dish.
  2. Heat milk in a small pot over low heat until steaming.
  3. Slowly whisk sugar mixture into the milk until well combined. Remove from heat.
  4. Dip fritters and allow to dry on a rack.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 319.4
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 5.4 mg
Sodium: 22.0 mg
Total Carbs: 62.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g
Protein: 6.5 g