Special equipment: an electric mixer fitted with a paddle and dough hook attachment, a deep fryer or Dutch oven, a 3-inch cookie cutter, 20 lollipop sticks and a pastry bag
For the sweet spiced yeast dough: Combine the water, yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar in a small bowl and set aside until foamy. Add the activated yeast mixture and 1/4 cup of the flour in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add in another 1/4 cup of flour. Once incorporated, add the shortening in small amounts followed by the egg, vanilla and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Continue mixing the dough on low and add in the salt, baking powder, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and the remaining 1 cup flour. Mix the dough on low speed for about 2 minutes, then on the second-lowest speed for 4 minutes.
For the apple filling: Combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon, bread flour, dried ginger, fresh ginger and nutmeg in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the apples appear somewhat translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the lemon juice, then refrigerate until cold.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Roll the dough out to a 1/8-inch thickness. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut 20 circles out of the dough. Dollop a tablespoon of the apple filling in the center of each. Cup the circle to enclose the filling and pinch off excess dough. The result should be a small ball of dough with the filling sealed inside. Fry the fritters in the hot oil in 4 batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then remove from the oil and toss in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Warm up the speculoos in a small saucepan and transfer to a pastry bag. Place each fritter on a lollipop stick and drizzle the warm speculoos over the top.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.