As a New England transplant to the Deep South, there are a few things I desperately miss about the Northeast around this time of year. I’ll rank them in order of importance, from least to most:
3. Leaves changing
2. Apple picking
1. Apple cider doughnuts
That’s right; the thing I miss most about New England is a crinkly, white paper bag, full of freshly fried, subtly spiced, apple cider doughnut goodness. Picking actual apples comes second, with the eye-searingly gorgeous array of fall foliage bringing up the rear. These Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts scratch that itch, without all the deep fried fat.
We don’t get much of a fall in Alabama (or a winter for that matter), but it’s been in the 40s this weekend, which prompted me to pour some cider into a pan and let it bubble and reduce until it becomes what New Englanders call “boiled cider,” and what I call pour-it-on-everything-apple-
There’s one piece of “special equipment”, a doughnut pan, that you’ll need for these doughnuts, but I assure you, you won’t regret purchasing it. Think of all the weekend doughnut runs you can avoid, and they’re baked–not fried–so it’ll save you thousands of calories in your lifetime (especially if you’re a rabid doughnut-lover like me). Doughnut pans are pretty inexpensive; I have this one from Williams-Sonoma and this Wilton one. The WS one makes slightly smaller doughnuts, which is really nice if you’re trying to watch your sugar intake (again, like me). I just reduce the baking time for this pan by three minutes to accommodate the smaller size.
My household was in disagreement over the finishing touch for these babies. Spencer (5) voted for Halloween sprinkles; I desired the typical butter-cinnamon sugar dunk (see last photo). I did both. The smaller doughnuts were glazed and sprinkled; the larger doughnuts I dunked and sugared. Either way, they were delicious.
Sweet, tender, and still warm from the oven (essential), they practically melt in the mouth. The texture is very different than that of a traditional fried doughnut, yeast or cake, and it can best be likened to a muffin in circular form. Dunked in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar or drizzled with apple cider glaze, these are sure to be a hit any chilly weekend morning.
Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
These delectable, fall-inspired doughnuts are even better than those from an apple orchard--they're baked in your very own oven!
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- dash ground ginger
- dash nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 10 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups apple cider
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter the cavities of two six-capacity doughnut pans.
Pour apple cider in small saucepan and heat over medium high heat until boiling.
Continue to boil (watch carefully) until it's reduced by over one-half. You should have a dark, thick syrup after about 10-15 minutes. Pour into a heatproof mug to cool.
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a mixing bowl.
In another bowl, whisk melted butter with sugars until evenly combined.
Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk.
Add flour mixture and whisk just until combined (mixture will be lumpy).
Set batter aside to rest for a minute while you prepare a gallon-size ziplock bag.
Open bag and pour batter into the bag.
Snip one corner and pipe mixture into the cavities, filling each to the top.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, checking after 12 minutes to see if they spring back when touched.
Cool in pan for a few minutes, then carefully run a butter knife around each one to loosen.
Invert onto a metal rack.
Melt remaining butter and mix sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl or dish.
When cool enough to handle, dip doughnuts into butter and immediately into the sugar mixture, flipping to coat entirely.
Alternatively, pour up to two tablespoons of apple cider into 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, whisking vigorously to make a glaze.
Dunk doughnuts into glaze and decorate with sprinkles or let dry as is.
Happy fall, y’all!
What’s your favorite fall breakfast? Let me know in the comments!