Apples are a favorite food that helps us get into the spirit of Fall.

WGN’s Dean Richards shares his recipes for Baked Apple French Toast and Apple Cider Donuts.

Baked Apple French Toast Casserole


  • cooking spray
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 ounce) loaf of Brioche or French bread, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small dice
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 7×11-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Beat eggs, half-and-half, milk, white sugar, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl; add bread cubes and stir to coat. Let soak until bread is moist, at least 10 minutes.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir apples and brown sugar into the melted butter to moisten sugar completely; add cinnamon and cook, stirring regularly, until apples are warmed yet still firm, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir apple mixture into bread mixture; pour into the prepared baking dish.

Apple Cider Donut Holes


For the Donut Holes

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground star anise
  • ⅓ cup apple cider
  • 1 cup shredded apples

For the cinnamon sugar

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup cinnamon sugar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a few mini muffin tins with non-stick baking spray.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the sour cream, applesauce, and vanilla and beat again.

Stir together the salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and the apple cider to the butter mixture.

Stir in the shredded apples gently.

Spoon the batter into 48 sprayed mini muffin cavities. Do not fill more than half full. Bake for 9-10 minutes.

Remove and let cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Roll each donut hole in butter and then in the sugar mixture. Let set. Store in a sealed container.