Apple Cider Doughnuts

Alright, guys.  I realize it’s September.  The past two months I’ve been trapped in an anxious aestivation of moving apartments, stolen cameras, and appliances in an endless state of disrepair.  It’s been rough.  But it hasn’t been all bad; things have been moving at least, perhaps even too fast to warrant written (or photographed) records of each item eaten, each adventure endeavored.

Before I knew it, the muggy weight of Summer had disappeared and I found myself plunged feet-first into Fall.  I painted my new kitchen a comforting shade of verdigris.  I bought pants to replace all those I tore into shorts a few months ago (I still don’t like pants).  I find myself with a hot coffee between my hands more often than iced.  Such are the signs.

apple cider doughnuts with maple sugar

And the next idea hit me like a well-positioned bag of leaves to the gut: apple cider doughnuts.  Natives to farmers’ markets and apple orchards, why shouldn’t this delectable dessert/breakfast be immediately available to ME, in my OWN kitchen?  Ian brought back a pound of maple sugar from Vermont, and it was obvious that this would find a home atop them.  With a recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, I took a stab at my first fried doughnut, and I’m confident you could accomplish the same minor feat at home.  All you might need is a pot big enough for a couple quarts of oil, and maybe a doughnut cutter if you live close enough to a kitchen supply store.  Or a big and lil’ cookie cutter if you don’t.  Make do.  No one should be denied doughnuts.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Apple Cider Doughnuts with Maple Sugar
makes 16 doughnuts and 16 doughnut holes

1 cup apple cider
3 3/4 cups flour, plus some extra smatterings for working
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 Tbsp butter (1/2 a stick), room temp. or a lil’ melty
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
peanut oil for frying

1/2 cup maple sugar (or cinnamon sugar if you want to make it: 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon)

There are a couple of tricks for successful donuteering:

– Don’t be afraid to smother it with some extra flour to make the dough workable and less sticky.  You will know what I mean when you get there.
– Be patient with the time it needs to spend in the freezer/fridge chilling out.  You will be much happier with the shape and not-falling-apart-ness of your doughnuts.
– Oil.  Peanut’s kinda not too bad for you, and if you filter all the solids out afterwards you can save it for another frying batch later.  You want 2-3 inches of oil in your pot, so choose a pot that’s not going to be so wide that this is hard, or an extremely large amount of oil.  I used about a quart and a half total.  When you heat the oil, use a thermometer if you have one, or rip one of the doughnut holes into a piece or two and throw one in periodically to see how it cooks.  You want it to take about a minute to reach the deep golden brown on the outside.  Any faster and it may not cook inside, and any slower and it’ll be overcooked.  Keep an eye on the heat throughout to make sure the cook time stays constant.

Otherwise, you’re good to go:

1) Put the apple cider over medium-low heat and reduce to a quarter of the volume, about 1/4 cup.  Just let a bunch of the water evaporate until it’s just concentrated appley goodness.  Set aside to cool.

2) In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.

3) In a large bowl, combine sugar and soft butter.  Take your spatula and smush them around until they’re incorporated into a paste.  Add the eggs and beat it around until you have a smooth, yellow soup.

4) Add the cooled reduced apple cider and buttermilk and stir to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the larger bowl a little at a time, mixing with the spatula until a shaggy dough comes together.

5) Set out some parchment paper and toss some flour over them.  BE GENEROUS.  This stuff will like to stick and you do not want it to.  Turn the dough onto your sheet and press with your hands until evenly flat, until a little less than 1/2 inch thick.  Put parchment paper onto a baking sheet and slide into the freezer for 15-20 minutes, until the dough is chilled and firm.

6) Remove from freezer and start cutting out your doughnuts.  I used a 3 inch cutter, but if you have cookie cutters, use a 3 inch cutter and a lil’ 1 inch one (or shot glass???) to cut out the inside.  You should get one hole for every doughnut, unless you’ve managed to unlock some weird other dimension of doughnutry.  I somehow ended up with 16 doughnuts and 17 holes ……… Transfer cut doughnuts to another floured sheet of parchment paper and freeze again 15-20 minutes.  You can re-roll and re-roll your scraps of dough to get as many doughnuts as possible out of this equation.

all cut up

7) Pour oil into your skillet/pot/whatever up to about 2-3 inches.  Heat over medium until it’s hot and ready, about 350°F.  Or until you plop a little doughnut guy in there and he immediately starts to bubble.  If it sinks to the bottom and nothing happens … your oil is not hot enough.  If you’re wary though, get a thermometer.  If it starts to smoke, turn that shit off and do not burn down your house.

watch ’em fry (but really don’t take your eyes off them)

8) Plop a few doughnut holes in to start, and to get the hang of it.  You don’t want to crowd the pan.  Let them cook 45-60 seconds on one side, and then turn them over to cook on the other for 30-45.  Transfer with a slotted spoon or something to a cooling rack equipped with a few layers of paper towel.  Roll in a little dish of your maple sugar while still somewhat hot and oily.  Proceed to cooking the rest of your doughnuts.  YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN.

blot on paper towels to soak up the extra grease

9) Eat right away.  Share as many as possible.  Plan a brunch like this and serve them alongside the rest.  The choices are yours.

Braised watercress, eggs, candied apple-thyme bacon, and CIDER DOUGHNUTS WAHOO

These guys are certifiably delicious: they have everything you desire of a cider doughnut.  Right out of the pot, they have a crisp exterior and moist, cakey, spiced interior.  A day or two later, they take on the softness of your typical farmers’ market cider doughnuts, which hey, isn’t too bad at all.  Your friends will like you for this.  As if they didn’t already.

Take it easy (and it’s good to be back!)


95 thoughts on “Apple Cider Doughnuts

  1. What a pleasant surprise to find this update in my inbox! Welcome back.

    Those look amazing! I have never even heard of these in my antipodean homeland but will definitely have to give them a go

  2. Wow. A few comments:

    1. I hate pants too. Good thing I’m a full-time freelance writer; pants in my world are optional!

    2. Is “donuteering” really a word? I love love LOVE it…

    Fun post. You almost have me wanting to try this myself. Almost. But alas, donuts are a gateway drug…


  3. Well written, great photographs and a delicious recipe, your blog has got it going on. Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to trying this because, “No one should be denied donuts.”

  4. I’m staring at my coffee cup and wishing I could climb through the laptop screen and grab that plate of delish food, donuts first.. Great recipe!!
    Congrats on the FP!!

  5. Summer is almost over in Vegas, still 94 degrees in the afternoon–but I feel the difference in the evenings…. Fall is approaching, thanks for the recipe.

  6. Well what do we have here…you’ve got some delicious finds. I need to make a date with the breakfast bachelor. It looks like you’re a great cook and I love to eat. Match made in the wordpress kitchen!

  7. I’m so happy I came across your recipe. When I was a kid, there was a farm my mom used to stop at that had homemade apple cider doughnuts. I absolutely loved them and they’re one of my favorite childhood memories. Thanks for posting this recipe, I can’t wait to make them.

  8. Pingback: One of my favorite things to eat as a kid, apple cider doughnuts! Yumm. | Network Panda – Social Network

  9. Had my first taste of an apple cider donut in MA while visiting an orchard in Littleton this year. I am from Louisiana, so it was quite the experience! This obviously took time, care, and effort. And, I am talking about the donuts AND the post. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  10. Oh, Lord, these look delicious! I am going to make cooking this amazing doughnuts my next short term goal. I love autumn and this has such a romantic and cozy feel to it. Thank you so much for the idea!

  11. clicked “follow” as soon as I read, “…a hot coffee between my hands more often than iced. Such are the signs.”

    Love the detail on the doughnuts – almost think I could pull it off *grin*

  12. I feel smug that I saw this on my blog feed yesterday before checking Freshly Pressed ! Congrats, BB ! I’ve missed you. You’re not the only one neglecting your blog 😦 My creativity is squashed for now. I think we first met you in the Autumn… the thought of ‘fall’ in New York fills me with longing ! Reminds me of You’ve Got Mail or something, tee hee. I have STILL to try a recipe and of course visit NY 🙂 Also I see from Instagram that you are seeming really happy… That’s good! Keep it up. Your writing is as delicious as the food.

  13. This was awesome. So glad I found this.
    I liked the first bit the best — (un)fortunately I am trying to kick a bit of a donut addiction. It was also super well-written.

  14. Pingback: Best-Ever Baked Doughnuts | Small Kitchen Chronicles

  15. Making homemade fried doughnuts is something that everyone should try, at least once. And once you try it, you’ll probably want to do it again! These look lovely, and so perfect for a fall treat! Thanks for sharing!

  16. At first glance: “I still don’t like pants”- then you must, logically wear skirts and knee-highs for the cold weather.

    Doh! that means you are into denim, and no khaki b.s.allowed round your legs!
    How can you hold a cup of coffee in-between gullible. pant less knees?

  17. Oh goodness these look and sound so tasty. I’m, I might just make a whole bunch of donut holes though. I’m in the pants hater club too, they just seem to constricting and I hate that the cuffs get wet in the rain. Then my ankles freeze lol.

  18. Thanks for the recipe…I LOVE a good cider mill donut. That’s one of my favorite fall treats. Bonus points to you for using the words “lil” and “smatterings” in a recipe 🙂

  19. Are you kidding me? That is amazing. The concept reminds me a little of the pumpkin bagel I had at Panera Bread the other day. Utterly ridiculous and oh-so-good. Thanks for the inspiration…and by the way, your writing is SICK. Pure skill, I tell you.

  20. Wow…looks amazing! I’ve been waiting for fall for months now. It’s my favorite season with all my favorite flavors (alas, I live in Miami, and autumn doesn’t exist here.) Oh well, I clearly need to just pretend, because a batch of these need to be made ASAP!

  21. Congrats on being freshly pressed! I have been wondering what to do with the bag of maple sugar that has been sitting in my pantry for months now, and here is the answer. These look yummy and your writing is charming!

  22. Everything you just said in that recipe/post slapped me in the face. In a good way… because it’s fall. Oh my gosh I should really pay attention more! (: Thanks dude. Your donuts make the world go round.

  23. Pingback: Bourbon-Glazed Yeast Doughnuts | THE BREAKFAST BACHELOR

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