These Apple Cider Donuts are epic Fall treats. Cinnamony and sweet and cakey with just the right amount of apple cider flavor, these baked donuts (yes, baked!) will be the highlight of your Fall season!
They're super quick and easy to make, too. No oil needed, no frying needed, just some good ol' fashioned apple cider and lots of love!
An Annual Fall trip to the apple orchard
It's become a tradition in our family to visit the local apple orchard in the middle of the Fall season. My kids are actually huge fans of apples, plus they love the whole process of picking their own.
It never fails, though, that we forget to bring our own wagon with us. And, we end up dragging our too-full buckets of apples throughout the orchard until we realize we have way more than we need to and it's time to pay.
Luckily, our apple orchard is clever and places the freshly made apple cider donut counter just before you get to the register.
The aroma of those freshly made donuts is reason enough to fight for a parking spot in the orchard's tiny lot! The donuts come out piping hot and full of cinnamon sugar and brimming with delicious apple cider flavor. It's heaven on earth!
Making apple cider donuts at home
Making donuts at home doesn't have to be complicated or involve a vat of hot frying oil. Don't get me wrong, fried donuts are delicious.
But, they're also not so good for you. Baking donuts cuts out loads of calories and fat, but not the flavor or goodness.
To make these donuts, start by reducing apple cider. Reducing it helps to concentrate the flavor by evaporating some of the water content.
This reduction is used in two places so that we can be sure that apple cider flavor comes through. It's used in the donut batter and in the glaze. Mmmm, apple cider glaze... More on that later.
Next, make the donut batter. This is a simple mixture of dry and wet ingredients. I threw some sour cream or yogurt in there to keep the donuts moist.
Drizzle in some of that delicious apple cider reduction and pipe into the donut pans. Bake, allow to cool a bit, then brush on the rest of the apple cider reduction mixed with melted butter.
Lastly, dunk in cinnamon sugar and you've got yourself one helluva Baked Apple Cider Donut!
Tips for Making This Recipe
- I highly recommend investing in a donut pan for this, and other, baked donut recipes. It’s inexpensive and makes the shape and baking of these donuts come out perfectly! Most are also non-stick which makes removing the donuts (and clean-up!) super easy
- To fill the donut cavities, create your own piping bag. Start by taking a gallon sized ziptop bag and fill it with the donut batter. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can and close the top. On one bottom corner, snip a small diagonal piece off with a scissor. Squeeze the batter out into each cavity and smooth the top of the batter with a butter knife or small offset spatula
- Try not to overfill the donut cavities with batter. It may be tempting, however, the donuts will puff up while baking. And, you’ll lose the hole in the middle if you overfill. If this does happen, just take a sharp knife and cut out the middle to get the center hole back. You may also use an apple corer, cupcake corer or a large piping tip to punch the center out. I like to dunk these little scraps in the butter/apple cider mixture and pop em in my mouth while topping the donuts (baker’s privilege!)
- Wait a few minutes after the donuts are done baking before you top them. You want to be able to handle the donuts while dipping them without burning your hand/fingers! I suggest you mix up the butter/apple cider mixture after you’re done baking all the donuts. This gives the donuts a chance to cool a bit while you're preparing to top them. Using a pastry brush, brush on the butter/apple cider mixture. Then, dip the donuts in the cinnamon sugar so the sugar coats the donuts fully
Like this recipe? Follow me on Pinterest for lots more recipes just like this one! And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later by clicking on one of the images below the recipe. Or, click on any of the images in this post to save to Pinterest.
Are you a donut lover like me? If you're looking for more donut recipes, try these:
Useful Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon divided
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar packed
- ¾ cup granulated sugar divided
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or plain whole milk yogurt
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 6-cavity donut pans (or a 12-cup muffin tin) with nonstick spray.
Make Apple Cider Reduction:
- In a small saucepan, heat the apple cider over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by about half, around 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. (You will need ½ cup of this apple cider reduction for the donut batter and a few tablespoons for topping the donuts).
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon and whisk to combine. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together 10 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated after each addition, scraping the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract and sour cream or yogurt. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. With the mixer running, add ½ cup of the apple cider reduction in a slow, steady stream and mix to combine. Scrape the bowl well to make sure the batter is evenly mixed. Spoon the batter into prepared donut pans, filling them about ⅔ of the way full (you can also do this using a disposable or a resealable plastic bag with a ½-inch opening cut from one corner). Bake until evenly golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through baking, 9 to 11 minutes A toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest portion should come out clean when they are done.
- While the donuts cool, whisk the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl to combine. In a separate small bowl, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave then whisk in 3 tablespoons of the apple cider reduction.
- After the donuts have cooled slightly (at least 5 minutes), unmold them from the pans, brush with the melted butter/cider mixture and dredge them in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Serve immediately or allow to cool and warm gently in the oven prior to serving for the best apple cider donut experience!
- Store leftover donuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days
- Donuts may be frozen after they are baked and cooled. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer safe ziptop bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or in the microwave for about a minute on 50% power. Brush with melted butter/apple cider reduction and dip in cinnamon sugar
- Recipe adapted from NYTimes.com
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