Cooking, Fall Recipes, Recipes

Baked Cider Donuts

Fall has finally, finally arrived!! We’ve had a string of days where the temperatures have been hovering between the 50s and 60s and I’m pretty sure I caught sight of some leaves turning in the woods next to the house. It’s not the riot of color we’ve been hoping for, thanks to all the storms coming through that chased peak leaf time back by a couple weeks, but at least the heat has broken! And all this week, we’re supposed to see fall temps.

But as much as the temperatures make it feel like fall, I’ve spent enough of my adult life living on the east coast and surrounded by apple orchards, both here in Virginia and previously in New York, that I’m convinced it just isn’t fall without apple cider. I make it every year from our fresh apple hauls, both mulled and straight, spiked and not, and I’m still trying to decide what version of that to share with you guys first.

So while I’m figuring that out, let’s visit a fall item I truly love and have been dying to make and share with you for some time – baked cider donuts!

They’re light and springy with a flavor that wonderfully blends cinnamon and apple, and they work great with your morning coffee or as an evening snack with, you guessed it, a mug of hot cider! Is that all kinds of cozy or what?

For this recipe, you’ll need a donut pan. My sister bought the one we use when we were browsing through the massive L.L. Bean store in Tysons Corner – one of my favorite places to linger, browse, and spend too much money, because honestly do I really need another cozy flannel shirt? Who are you kidding, of course I do! Between loving fall and being a child of the grungy ’90s, I’m convinced you can’t ever have too much flannel. But back to the donuts. A donut pan is easy to fill if you ladle the batter into a Ziploc bag, scrunch it down, and then cut off a corner and use it like a pastry bag.

Like so.

And here’s how they look when filled.

So how about it? Let’s make some donuts!

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Makes about 12 donuts.

What You’ll Need:

For the donuts:

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk {or if you don’t have that, 1/2 cup milk and 2 spoons of sour cream}

For the topping:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

How to Make Them:

1. First, you want to reduce the apple cider from 1 1/4 cups to 1/2 cup to give it a stronger flavor. Place it in a small sauce pan and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes. I like adding an orange slice or two for a little bit stronger flavor.

2. Preheat your oven to 375F. Spray your donut pan with nonstick spray {I love the Pam Butter Baking Spray with Flour – nothing sticks to that!}.

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and sugars together until they’re evenly mixed. Set aside.

4. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk until they’re smooth. Add the melted butter and whisk until the mixture has thickened slightly. Add the buttermilk and whisk until smooth.

5. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix gently until the dry ingredients are just combined into the wet. You don’t want to overmix, or you’ll get a really chewy donut instead of the nice fluffy cakey donut you want!

6. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with a corner cut off and squeeze into each well of the donut pan until about 3/4 of the way full.

7. Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes, or until the donuts are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let them sit and cool for a minute or two before you try to remove them from the pan.

8. In a shallow bowl or on a large plate, mix together the sugar and topping spices. Then lightly toss the donuts in the sugar and spice mixture to coat. If you want more of the mixture to stick, brush the donuts very lightly with a little fresh cider before rolling.

9. Serve with coffee or cider and enjoy!

So how about you guys? What recipe just screams fall to you?

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