Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apple Cider Doughnuts

It was October 2008. Our yearly trip to the pumpkin patch was drawing to a close, and the little ones were quickly fading into a cranky abyss. Eager to get out of the chaos, my husband and I grabbed the kids and our newly acquired pumpkins and headed towards the car. On our way out we happened to pass a vendor selling fresh, hot apple cider doughnuts, which they conveniently placed at the exit of the farm (evil geniuses). The aroma was completely intoxicating. As tired as we all were, and despite the look of desperation on my husband's face, I made the quick exchange of money for doughnuts.

To say that we devoured the doughnuts on the way home would be an understatement. They were exceptional; chock full of apple flavor with a soft center, crusty exterior and topped off with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar. Yum! It was one of the best food purchases I have ever made. They were my first apple cider doughnuts and have been the standard by which I have measured all other cake doughnuts since. 

I had been wanting to attempt these delicious dandies at home for quite some time. Let's be honest though, until recently I had an unsubstantiated fear of deep frying. Why? I have no idea really... maybe it had something to do with the fact that it's so freaking dangerous, or maybe I am just a big wimp. Either way, it wasn't until I made homemade Cannoli a few weeks ago with my neighbor's electric deep fryer that I finally made peace with the process (it wasn't so bad after all). So, with vegetable oil in hand, I decided to give them a go. 

Let me start by saying, I don't think I will ever find a recipe that produces doughnuts exactly like the ones we ate that day at the pumpkin patch... they have become doughnuts of mythological proportions. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if the apple cider doughnut gods came down and gave me another one of their coveted doughnuts, I wouldn't have the same reaction. There was something about the culmination of the days events that made those doughnuts extra special, but that isn't going to stop me from fryin'... I mean tryin'.

All that being said, these were pretty darn good! They had good apple flavor (due to reducing the apple cider) and were soft in the center with a crisp outside; however, I have two complaints. The first is that they weren't cinnamon-y enough, so I upped the amount called for in the recipe to a total of 1 teaspoon, and the second is that they were a little too heavy for me. I am pretty sure that it had something to due with my inexperience in working with the oil. I had a hard time maintaining the temperature, and as a result, some of the doughnuts absorbed a little too much. Let's hope that can be remedied with practice... and lots of apple cider doughnuts!

Have a Sweet Day!
Jaime @ The Great Cake Company 

Loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 14 doughnuts and 14 doughnut holes (3.5-inch and 1-inch cutters)

For The Doughnuts
2 cups apple cider
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Vegetable oil for frying

For The Topping
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, bring apple cider to a boil over medium medium-low heat. Gently boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars with the paddle attachment until the mixture is smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until they are completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add reduced apple cider, vanilla and buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and generously sprinkle them with flour. Place the dough onto the first sheet and lightly sprinkle the top with flour. Lightly dust your rolling pin with flour and roll the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour as needed. Transfer the dough to the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until it has hardened slightly. Remove dough from freezer.

Using a 3-inch or 3 1/2-inch round cutter for the outer circle and a 1-inch round cutter for the hole, cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. Collect dough scraps, re-roll, refrigerate and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.

Using a deep-sided pan, add enough oil to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F. Line a plate with several thicknesses of paper towels.

While the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the topping by mixing the cinnamon and  sugar together in a shallow bowl. Set aside.

Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over, and fry until the other side is golden, about 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the doughnuts from the oil, and place them on the paper towels. Allow to cool for several minutes before dipping the top into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve immediately.

Doughnuts are best served the day they are made.


  1. Looks delicious...I will be attempting next week. I'm going to put little apple bits inside too. Yum!


  2. Looks soo good . It's a great ideea .

  3. Those looks so good I think I finally will have to make my own doughnuts....


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