Baked Apple Cider Donuts
Well I went to the store one day a week or so ago… hungry. Which you all know is a big mistake. And passed by some delicious looking apple cider. Being hungry, I couldn’t pass it up. Fast forward I need to use it up before it goes bad. The leaves are turning here, the weather getting more and more crisp each day: it’s almost full on Fall. One of my favorite things to get while apple picking is some fresh-made apple cider donuts so munch on while out in the orchard or on the ride home. It’s probably one of the best parts of one of my favorite Fall activities.
So I had this cider I needed to use up and began searching for a recipe I thought looked good. I modified one to meet my needs, paid a little closer attention to the actual baking process (my ancient oven has wreaked havoc on my last few baking sessions). This recipe is deeeeelicious, You won’t want to change a thing about it. And as a side note, I’m NEVER baking anything NOT in a water bath ever again. Cooked perfectly, no tough, over-cooked bottoms and raw middles. Ah.. glorious.
I wanted to make some pop-able mini-donuts/donut holes so I grabbed both my donut pan and a mini-cupcake pan. I purchased wilton’s cupcake scoops a while back, totally worth purchase. They make filling the tiny spaces much easier (you can put them in a ziplock bag and pipe them in but I’m lazy and the smallest scoop works perfectly). But these are BOTH ones you are going to want to make sure you DO NOT over-fill. You want to make the donut holes still pop-able and look as much like donut holes as possible and not mini-muffins. And if you fill your donut pan more than 2/3 of the way you’ll lose your hole… (I know, I laughed at that, too).
These baby’s cook up fast so don’t go away and set a timer because you don’t want them to be tough, you want them just cooked through. I coated mine in cinnamon-sugar, because really who doesn’t love just about everything covered in cinnamon-sugar. But you can leave that off if you choose but they are seriously better with. I give the tops a little, quick dunk in some melted butter to help hold on the coating to the tops that have baked more firmly but the bottom portion should be moist enough that you only need to dunk (very quickly) the tops.
1 1/2 cups apple cider2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon baking soda1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1/4 teaspoon ground nutmegDash Salt1 large egg, room temperature2 Tablespoons butter melted1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar1/2 cup granulated sugar1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature1 teaspoon pure/homemade vanilla
Simmer apple cider over low-medium heat in a small saucepan on the stove for 15-25 minutes. You may add cinnamon sticks, spices, orange slices for flavor if desired. In this step you are reducing the apple cider for a stronger flavor. You will ultimately want end up with 1/2 cup. Allow to cool in refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.
2. Pre heat over to 325 degree. Lightly spray done or mini-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg*, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. * You can substitute pumpkin pie spice if you desire for the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Use amount equal to the total of each of the previous ingredients.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar together until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk*, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of apple cider concentrate. Mix with whisk until incorporated. *If you do not have buttermilk, you can create your own using a tablespoon of lemon juice for every cup of regular milk, allow to sit for 10 minutes so milk can curdle. Mix often.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Very gently and with your whisk fold wet into the dry ingredients. Be as gentle as you are able in this step. You do not want to active the gluten, which will make your donuts have a touch texture and using a whisk keeps them airy. Whisk until *just combined.* A few small lumps may remain.
Fill mini-muffin or donut pan until 3/4 of the way full. If you have an inconsistent oven, use a large jelly roll pan or large deep cookie sheet and place in oven, fill halfway with water. Place donut/mini-muffin pan in the center of jelly roll pan. Bake 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Make the topping by mixing granulated sugar and cinnamon to your desired taste, generally around 1/4 sugar and a few teaspoons of sugar. Dip the top of the donut/mini-muffin in the melted butter then dunk them all the way into the cinnamon-sugar, using your hands to generously coat the entire thing. Repeat with all the donuts.
Store at room temperature for up to 3 days but they are best day of preparation.
Enjoy! Let me know how they work for you in the comments!