Fall is officially here, which means one thing – it’s time for apple cider doughnuts! These doughnuts are one of my absolute favorite fall traditions. They’re light and airy and bursting with the warm flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg and the sweetness of perfectly ripe apples. At my favorite orchard, it’s not uncommon for the wait for freshly fried doughnuts to be over half an hour long. Luckily, they’re easy (and healthier!) to make at home – and you don’t need any special equipment. (Although if you read to the end, you’ll find a nice giveaway waiting for you.)
I keep seeing recipes for baked doughnuts that require a special “doughnut pan.” Sure, a pan makes a pretty, even, and smooth finished product – but it also takes up valuable space in the kitchen! No thanks. My freeform doughnuts might not be as pretty as the ones baked in a pan, but they taste the same. Just make sure to flour your work surface liberally; the dough is very soft and had a tendency to stick.
Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
Yields 9 doughnuts and about 20 doughnut holes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
These light and fluffy doughnuts get extra flavor from finely diced apple folded into the dough. Quickly frying them in a pan after baking gives these doughnuts a crispy exterior without the added fat and helps the cinnamon and sugar coating to stick. These doughnuts are best enjoyed straight out of the pan – they tend to deflate a little after sitting too long.
You can purchase a special doughnut cutter or doughnut pan for neater looking doughnuts, but differently sized cookie cutters will also work. I used a drinking glass to cut my larger circles and a shot glass to cut out the holes.
- 1/2 cup Apple Cider
- 2 tablespoons Butter, softened
- 1/4 cup (Approx. 2 ounces) Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 2 cups (Approx. 10 ounces) All Purpose Flour, plus additional for dusting
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Apple, cut into a 1/8-inch dice (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup Oil for frying
- Cinnamon and Sugar for dusting
- Pour the apple cider into a small pan set over high heat. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce by half. Set aside to cool.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, then mix in the reduced cider and milk.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Fold in the diced apple, then mix in the remaining flour.
- Generously flour a one foot square piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Turn the dough out onto the paper. Flour the top of the dough and use your hands to press/flatten it into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Chill for 15 minutes to help the dough firm up.
- Heat oven to 425F. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into doughnut shapes using a doughnut cutter, cookie cutters, or a glass. Cut additional “holes” from the scraps of dough left over.
- Carefully transfer each doughnut and the “holes” to a baking sheet likes with parchment or a silpat. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes.
- Optional: For a crispier exterior, heat the oil in shallow frying pan until very hot. Cook doughnuts for 10 seconds on each side, or until lightly browned. Dust with cinnamon and sugar while they are still hot. Enjoy!
Have you ever thought about how your measure your flour? Some people use a spoon to fill their measuring cup, while others (including me) prefer to dip their cup right into the flour sack. Believe it or not, measuring these ways actually gives you different amounts of flour! That’s why so many recipes for baked goods include weight measurements. For the most part, an extra ounce of flour won’t hurt your recipe, but sometimes it can make a difference. That’s why a kitchen scale can come in handy.
I personally don’t bother with a scale most of the time, but it is a nice tool to have. In addition to using it for baking, I often buy big cuts of meat and divide them into smaller portions myself (it’s a lot cheaper!). With a scale, I can make sure my portions are appropriately sized. A while back, I was sent an EatSMart Precision Pro scale to try out. My old scale had just died, so it was perfect timing. I’ve used the scale a few times, and I have to say that I’m pleased with it. I especially like that the display is nice and big and stick out in the front a little so that you can read it easily – that was a problem with my old scale. The only complaint that I have about it is that the shiny silver top gets dirty the second that you touch it. This is a common problem with kitchen scales that I’ve seen, but I never understood why they don’t design them in a way that they don’t get all gunky!
Do you want to win a scale of your own? EatSmart has agreed to send one to one of my readers (US shipping addresses only). To enter, “Like” EatSmart on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know that you did. I’ll pick a winner on Thursday, September 29.