Applesauce donut hole

Applesauce donut holes with caramel glaze.

These round objects are applesauce donut holes with caramel glaze and yes, you need to make them! They have a drippy and crunchy exterior with a tender and fluffy interior. Be still my heart!

The traditions of the Chanukah holiday include frying foods in oil and a traditional dessert for the holiday is sufganiyot or donuts. They check the “fried” box. I love baked donuts but this holiday demands that we get the fryer out. I don’t own a deep fryer so a deep pot will suffice!

The flavor of these jumbo donut holes is sublime. By using applesauce to sweeten and moisten the batter and the addition of pumpkin pie spice says, “Hello, winter!” Once fried, they are dipped and coated with a caramel glaze. These treats will have you spinning faster than any ol’ dreidel!


For the donut holes:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ cup white sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup milk

Oil for frying

For the caramel glaze:

1 ¾ cups powdered sugar

¾ cups caramel sauce

2 tablespoons milk

Prepare the donuts by whisking the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Beat in the applesauce and vanilla extract.

Add in a third of the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, until all the ingredients are added and mix until just combined.

Heat 3-4 inches of oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pot or deep fryer to 375°F. Drop batter, one tablespoon at a time, into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pot, cook 4-5 max at a time. Fry until golden brown, flipping once halfway, 3 to 4 minutes. Pay attention to the temperature; you’ll want to adjust the heat level to keep it at 375°F.

Remove the donuts from the oil with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate to cool. Continue until all of the donuts have been fried.

To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, caramel sauce and milk in a small bowl. Mix until smooth. You might have to add a bit more milk if the glaze is not thin enough to dip the donuts in. Dip the donuts in the glaze, turning to coat, and place on a wire rack set over a lined baking sheet. Allow the excess to drip off, let dry and serve.

Makes 40 donut holes. JN

Francine Coles is a food blogger based in Phoenix. Find more of her food insights and recipes at