Apple Cider Doughnuts

I realize that the calendar is counting down and it won’t be long before apple cider (the good stuff anyway) is no longer available in stores. We have an apple orchard here that sells gallons of homemade apple cider and you can freeze it if you have room. I sadly, don’t have enough room! So go out and get your cider, make your doughnuts (donuts?) and look forward to next year. Just make sure you bookmark this recipe, it’s really good!

I made these because my beloved teenage daughter asked me to… but she hasn’t had any yet! She’s been too busy going to ugly sweater parties and going out snowboarding.

The two younger boys have tried them and gave them a thumbs up, and man are they good warm! I think I overdosed on the cinnamon sugar though, but even with the overload they are wonderful. Cakey and soft, totally yummy.

One tip I will pass on is that when you heat up your oil or shortening, place a candy thermometer in place, then when it reaches 350 F, WAIT. Wait several minutes and make sure it’s going to stay at 350 F. If it goes up, turn the heat down. Get it to where the temp will stay around 350 F, THEN proceed with cooking your doughnuts. My first few were a little undercooked, so I increased the time by about 30-40 seconds and that did the trick. I made note of that in the recipe.

Now speaking of the recipe, I originally saw this on Smitten Kitchen, she found it on The Washington Post, and I also saw them on my friend Katrina’s blog, Baking and Boys. This recipe is plastered all over the internet, so you can get it anywhere, but I’m pretty sure The Washington Post cites its origin, New York’s Hearth restaurant. At any rate, they are wonderful and I will make them again, maybe trying the apple cider glaze next time!

By the way, I used shortening and melted it in my cast iron Dutch oven. It took an entire 3 pound tub of shortening, so when finished I just allowed it to cool completely, scooped it back out of the pan and back into the tub, then discarded the whole thing. Smitten Kitchen did her homework and discovered that using shortening for frying as opposed to oil will cause less seepage from your finished doughnuts, meaning less greasy napkins.


One more note before I give you the recipe. The recipe calls for a doughnut cutter or a 3.5″ biscuit cutter and a 1″ biscuit cutter. I have a 3.5″ biscuit cutter but my smallest is 1.5″. So I ended up having to use a bottle top from my extra large vanilla bottle to make the center doughnut cuts. That worked fine, but didn’t work too well for using the dough as doughnut holes. So instead, I cut some with the 1.5″ biscuit cutter and ended up with some big doughnut holes. Hey, you make do with what ya got, right?

Apple Cider Doughnuts
printable version

1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil or shortening for frying

Toppings (optional)
Glaze (1 cup confectioners’ sugar + 2 tablespoons apple cider)
Cinnamon sugar (1 cup granulated sugar + 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon)

Make the doughnuts: In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

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

Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  Making Freezer Pancake Dippers

Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour.

Turn the dough onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch or 3 1/2-inch doughnut cutter — or a 3 1/2-inch round cutter for the outer shape 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. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)

Add enough oil or shortening to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F*. Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.

Make your toppings (if using): While the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth; make the cinnamon sugar by mixing the two together. Set aside.

Fry and top the doughnuts: 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, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels for a minute after the doughnuts are fried.

Dip the top of the warm doughnuts into the glaze or cinnamon sugar mixture (if using) and serve immediately.

Eat warm or at room temperature!

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  1. Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says

    I've never made doughnuts before, but yours are definitely tempting me to give it a whirl. What an excellent holiday treat, and how lucky you are to have a truly local source of apple cider!

  2. Katrina says

    Loved these. Thanks for the linky love.
    Yeah, I saw them posted all over blogs last year when I made them.
    Yours look great and if I keep looking, I'll go make them again! ;)

  3. marla {Family Fresh Cooking} says

    These apple cider donuts are certainly where its at. They sound amazing & I bet the house smells awesome while they bake. xo


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