No need to make a special trip to the apple orchard – these baked apple cider donuts are the real deal. (Jump to Recipe)
I feel like I’ve been neglecting you this fall, and I’m sorry for that. I hope these donuts make up for it.
Just like the seasons of the year, I think there are different seasons of one’s life. There are seasons of happiness and joy, seasons of grief and hardship, seasons of study and seasons of play, seasons of work and seasons of relaxation (we hope). These seasons can be months or years long, or just a few days at a time.
For me, recently, I’ve been in a season of work and busyness. I’ve been very busy at my job, very busy socially with college football season and friends, and very busy behind the scenes here creating new recipes. I’m not sure I really like the word “busy” and the glorification we give it these days, but it’s the only one I can use for this moment. Sometimes being really busy gives me energy and makes me more efficient, but sometimes if one part of my life falls too out of balance in one direction, everything else has to give.
The past couple months have been one of those times. A time where it’s all I can do to make it through the day, come home and collapse on the couch and re-watch Gilmore Girls until I fall asleep (and wonder why Rory ever chose Jess over Dean). A time where I’d rather take in than give, if that makes sense, whether it be scrolling Instagram or reading other people’s recipes or letting Brian make dinner for us, whatever that may be (it’s pasta every time). A time where I look up and realize it’s suddenly November, and I’m not really sure where the year has gone.
Well, in true fashion, it’s now late at night and I have another long day ahead of me tomorrow, so I will leave you with a recipe I perfected this past weekend when I took a moment to slow down. The cold, grey rain may have forced me into it, but we didn’t mind.
Apple cider donuts are one of the best parts of fall at the apple orchard. Turns out, they’re fairly easily adapted into the baked variety, so if you happen to find yourself with some extra apple cider lying around and a craving for donuts on a chilly, grey weekend morning, you are in luck. In less than an hour, you’ll be in baked apple cider donut bliss – no deep fryer needed.
You’re going to be annoyed with me for requiring the extra step of boiling the cider before it goes in the donuts. I was annoyed myself, frankly, but enough recipes I looked at in my research indicated it was necessary so I gave in. Trust me when I say, bear with me – it’s worth it. The flavor concentrates and it smells wonderful. Once that’s done, they really come together in a snap.
Once these beautiful little donuts are baked (and it happens quick, so be prepared), they get a little bath in melted butter mixed with some of that reduced cider for extra flavor, then dunked in cinnamon sugar.
That first grey Saturday when I made these, Brian and I each ate two, still warm from the oven. The next day, my friend Kathryn came over for brunch, and all that were remaining were polished off in quite short order. I think you get the picture…these are worth every moment you spend making them.
I ask you, what more do we need in life?
No need to make a special trip to the apple orchard - these baked apple cider donuts are the real deal.
- 1 cup apple cider (see instructions below)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- Pinch cloves
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Remaining reduced cider (see instructions below), about 2 tbsp
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 6-cup donut pans (or one, you'll just have to re-use it for the last couple donuts).
In a small saucepan, heat the apple cider over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring every minute or two, until it is reduced by about half, around 10 minutes. Take off the heat, whisk in the butter until it is melted and combined, and set mixture aside for a few minutes to cool. It will be a little syrupy in texture. You need 1/2 cup of this reduced cider for the donuts, and a couple tablespoons for the glaze.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the reduced cider/butter mixture, sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla until well-combined.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients - flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir to combine with a large spoon or spatula. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, with no big patches of flour. Do not over mix - if you do, the donuts will be tough, and no one wants that.
Spoon the batter into the donut cavities, or pipe them in by filling a gallon-sized bag with the batter, then snipping off a corner for a makeshift pastry bag. Fill each cavity about 2/3 of the way full, or else your donuts won't have holes in the middle! The recipe yields 8 donuts, so if you only have one donut pan, you'll have to bake the first 6 and then the other 2 afterwards.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until risen and browned on the edges (mine were done at 10). Set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack set over parchment paper or a baking sheet. Bake the remaining two donuts now if you only have one pan.
While the donuts are baking, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the reduced cider with 3 tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl (big enough to dip the donuts in). Whisk together sugar and cinnamon in another similar sized bowl.
One by one, dip one side of the warm donuts (you should be able to handle them easily) into the butter/cider mixture, then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Make sure to coat the donuts with as much cinnamon sugar as desired!
Donuts are best eaten the same day, although they will keep for up to two days, covered tightly and stored at room temperature.
Adapted from my Baked Banana Donuts.
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