No, you do not need to drive to Vermont – although it is probably looking colorful there, and well worth the drive. And you do not need a deep fat fryer. You do not need to be Homer Price with a magic doughnut machine to make your very own baked apple cider doughnuts. Just trot down to the farmers’ market or the corner grocery store and buy a little fresh autumnal apple cider.
We once lived about two blocks away from a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. Luckily, it was in the days before internet hype, and we regarded it as a cute local establishment, and gave it wide berth, because even in our youth we were dimly aware of the addictive qualities of hot sugar-glazed doughnuts. So foolish!
My daughter lives close to another baking emporium, Cinotti’s in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. (https://cinottisbakery.com) Cinotti’s has world-famous pumpkin spice doughnuts, available only for a short period of time each year, which are also worth the drive, although my personal faves are their maple and bacon doughnuts. I can’t begin to imagine how many calories there are in maple and bacon doughnuts. But once a year I do indulge. I just cannot imagine why the entire town doesn’t waddle around, jiggling excess doughnut weight, while they go about their usual activities of biking or surfing. They don’t need drink cup holders on their beach cruiser handlebars, just sturdy doughnut poles for transporting Cinotti’s doughnut towers. Such self-restraint is deeply admirable, particularly when you realize how many different kinds of doughnuts Cinotti’s sells: coffee, strawberry, pumpkin, glazed, chocolate glazed, chocolate cake, jelly, cinnamon swirl, red velvet, buttercream filled, zebra glazed, long john, apple fritters and cinnamon knots. And that is just the published list of doughnuts! Imagine what spur-of-the-moment creations suddenly appear in their long glass cases each morning!
But here we are, trying to greet fall even though we have gone back to wearing summer clothes. And being mindful of our waistlines and our lack of surfing opportunities, we have to enjoy ourselves in slightly less bacchanalian ways. Namely homemade, baked doughnuts. Thrifty and wholesome, they will evoke fall. And it will use up the apple cider we buy every year, and forget to drink after we have had a celebratory glass or two.
Though there are many ways in which to enjoy apple cider:Warm family-friendly apple cider: https://www.asweetpeachef.com/hot-apple-cider/
Martha’s is a little more complicated: https://www.marthastewart.com/313105/spiced-apple-cider
Although she does display a little holiday spirit with a spiked version, too: https://www.marthastewart.com/318051/apple-pie-spiced-cider
The recipe I baked I found in the New York Times. I found they were a little too generous with their measurements of butter and cinnamon sugar, but they might just suit you fine.
Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup apple cider
Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease 2 6-cavity doughnut pans (I have silicon which don’t require extra grease). Or you can make 12 muffins – be sure to use cupcake papers.
Use a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and grate the nutmeg. Set bowl aside.
Now haul out the stand mixer, so you can walk away and empty the dishwasher while mixing, cream 10 tablespoons of butter, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, on medium speed, until the mixture is light and fluffy – 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Beat in vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed. While the mixer is running, add the apple cider.
Spoon the batter into the pans – it is messy. Fill each well about half way. Bake 12 to 15 minutes for doughnuts, 15 to 20 for muffins.
While the doughnut bake, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with the other teaspoon of cinnamon, in a small bowl. (You will have plenty left over for cinnamon toast.) In another bowl, melt the remaining 6 ounces of butter. I think you can get by with 2 or 3 tablespoons, but that’s me.
Let the doughnuts cool for about 5 minutes after baking, and then unmold, brush with melted butter and dredge them in the cinnamon sugar. Serve warm, or let cool and have a delicious breakfast. I sent 10 to Mr. Friday’s office, along with the jug of cider. Happy fall!
Going to hell in a hand basket apple cider doughnuts: https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/baked-salted-caramel-apple-cider-doughnuts/
And you can also start your day with apple cider pancakes! What a fabulous concept! https://jeanieandluluskitchen.com/mulled-apple-cider-pancakes/
“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.”
― Mark Twain