Baked apple cider doughnuts are best enjoyed while they’re still warm. (Dreamstime)

Baked apple cider doughnuts are best enjoyed while they’re still warm. (Dreamstime)

After you get the apple cider, it’s time to make doughnuts

Cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg usually hold court for that nostalgic apple-cider doughnut flavor.

  • Tuesday, October 20, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Among the highlights of visiting an apple orchard are those hot, crispy apple cider doughnuts. After a day of picking apples, they are a treat. There’s no need to wait until the next apple-picking season to enjoy these fall favorites when you can make your own.

Many recipes call for the doughnuts to be fried. We’re taking a simpler approach with a rich cake batter version, then baking them in specialty pans. They can brushed with butter, then dredged in cinnamon and sugar, or dipped in glaze.

Cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg usually hold court for that nostalgic apple-cider doughnut flavor. You can also consider anise, ginger, allspice and cardamom. For more depth of flavor, you’ll want to simmer the apple cider into a reduction.

Of course, just like at the apple orchard, the doughnuts are best served warm, or eaten on the same day.

Apple cider doughnuts

For more apple flavor, reduce 1 cup of fresh apple cider to ⅓ cup by heating in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until it has cooked down to ⅓ cup.

Note: If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can use a muffin tin.

For the doughnuts:

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Zest of 1 lemon

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

⅓ cup apple cider (See headnote)

¼ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cinnamon-sugar dip:

4 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the (optional) glaze:

Vanilla: Whisk 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with 1 teaspoon milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract until well combined.

Maple: Whisk 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with 1 teaspoon milk and 2 teaspoons maple syrup until well combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray doughnut pans with nonstick baking spray.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon zest.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Mix on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add the cider, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix on low speed, then add the flour mixture until well combined.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag or large zipper bag with a corner snipped off, and pipe into the prepared doughnut pans, about ⅔ full.

Bake until the doughnuts spring back, about 10 to 14 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack. Brush with melted butter, then dip in cinnamon sugar. Or, if you want glaze instead of cinnamon and sugar, spoon your homemade vanilla or maple glaze over the doughnuts. Serve warm.

Makes about 2 dozen 2-inch doughnuts.

— Adapted from “The Barefoot Contessa” by Ina Garten

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