Apple Cider Doughnuts

apple cider doughnuts

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Happy fall! Yesterday was the first official day of fall, which happens to be my favorite season. I thought the best way to welcome the season would be to make a quintessential fall food (only because there aren't any piles of leaves to jump in yet).

apple cider doughnuts
And so there I was on the first day of fall, frying up apple cider doughnuts -- those doughnuts I crave at the first sign of cool weather, when thoughts of apple picking fill my head. While I haven't had a chance to go apple picking yet, when I got together with my mom last weekend, she brought me apples and cider from an orchard she had gone to in Connecticut, an orchard I used to go to every year as a kid, an orchard where I used to eat apple cider doughnuts.

It only seemed logical that I take my new gifts and turn them into these doughnuts. And it just so happened that I had actually dog-eared a recipe for them in the Food Network Magazine a few days earlier.

Apple Cider Doughnuts (from Food Network Magazine, October 2009)


1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 red apples, such as Cortland or McIntosh
2 1/2 cups apple cider
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 teaspoons baking powder


Core and coarsely chop the apples (do not peel).

chopped apples
Combine with 1 1/2 cups cider in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

Uncover and continue cooking until the apples are tender and the cider is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes.

simmering apples in cider
Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. Measure the sauce; you should have 1 cup. (Boil to reduce further, if necessary.) Let cool slightly.

apples in food processor
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the shortening in another bowl with a mixer on medium speed until sandy. Beat in the egg and yolk, then gradually mix in the applesauce, scraping the bowl. Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix to make a sticky dough; do not overmix.

dough for doughnuts
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and pat into a 7-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. (Definitely use parchment. I had run out of it, so I tried to substitute wax paper. Even though I floured the paper, the dough really stuck, making it a bit difficult to lift off the doughnut cutouts.)
Meanwhile, make the glaze: Simmer the remaining 1 cup cider in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar until smooth and glossy, then set aside. Mix the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside for the topping.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Cut the chilled dough into 12 rounds, using a floured 2 1/2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter, then cut out the middles with a 1-inch cutter (or use a doughnut cutter). Slip 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adjusting the heat as needed. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.

doughnut cutouts
apple cider doughnuts
Dip one side of each doughnut in the cider glaze, letting the excess drip off; dip just the glazed side in the cinnamon-sugar or roll all over in cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Serve warm.

apple cider doughnuts
When you bite into these doughnuts, you first experience the crunch, then the swirled flavor of cinnamon and sugar, then the slight tanginess of the cider glaze, and then finally the warm, soft, apple-y inside.

apple cider doughnut - inside view
The flavor and texture of these doughnuts are amazing. The texture is virtually the same as that of the doughnuts I used to eat at the orchard. The only difference is that the apple flavor is stronger in these, which is clearly not a bad thing.

I definitely recommend eating them warm (if you have leftovers, try microwaving them for about 10 seconds). If you're lucky enough to be the one making the doughnuts, you can fry and eat the scraps as you go. No one will even know how many you ate or how much sugar you loaded onto them! Not that I'm saying that's what I did or anything...

apple cider doughnuts
What's your favorite fall treat?