I’m so excited to share these Apple Cider Doughnuts with you guys! I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for so long, and I’ve finally perfected it.
So just to clarify, there aren’t any fresh apples in this dough. A combination of apple cider and apple butter give these delicious homemade Apple Cider Doughnuts their apple flavor. In order to concentrate that flavor and keep the dough the correct consistency, it’s important to cook down the cider until it reduces into a syrup. If you didn’t already know, apple cider is simply unfiltered apple juice. It goes great with bourbon for a cocktail, so don’t worry about finishing up your carton.
The typical pumpkin spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) make these perfect for the fall. The spices are added to these doughnuts in a few different ways. First, I add whole cloves and a cinnamon stick (along with a strip of orange zest and some booze) to the cider. Then, there are ground spices in both the dough and the cinnamon sugar topping. My “cinnamon sugar” also includes nutmeg and salt to bump up the flavor a bit.
If you haven’t had a homemade, cake-like donut, you MUST try it. These Apple Cider Donuts were my very first fresh and crispy cake-like donut experience. It’s amazing. Trust me. They get soft after several hours, so you gotta eat one warm out of the fryer.
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- 1 tbsp bourbon or dark rum (optional)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 1×3 inch orange peel
- ¼ cup apple butter
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 whole egg, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Reduce cider: Add cider, bourbon, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange peel to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until cider is reduced to 2 ½ tablespoons. Strain into bowl and cool slightly.
- Mix wet ingredients: Whisk apple butter, buttermilk and vanilla into reduced cider.
- Mix dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- Beat butter, sugar & egg: In the bowl of a standing mixer, add butter and sugars. Mix over medium to medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. You can also do this by hand using a rubber spatula and transitioning into a whisk, as seen in the video. Add egg and beat until well combined.
- Mix dough: Add about ⅓ of flour mix to butter mix, combining over low speed. Add ⅓ of wet ingredients, mix to combine, and continue to alternate wet and dry ingredients until completely incorporated. You should have a soft and sticky dough.
- Shape dough: Generously flour a baking sheet. Place dough on sheet and using floured hands, flatten into a ¾ inch thick rectangle. Cover with plastic and chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight. Cut into donuts using a 3 ¼ inch round cutter and a 1 ¼ inch round cutter to punch out the center. Re-roll dough once and repeat. You can fry any extra odd pieces of dough too.
- Fry: While donuts chill, fill a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot with 2-3 inches of oil. Heat to 350°F. Add donuts to oil in batches and fry large donuts for a total of 5-6 minutes, and donut holes for a total of about 4 minutes, or until well-browned, flipping half way through. Drain on a paper towel lined sheet.
- Dip in sugar: Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt for topping in a shallow bowl or plate. Coat all sides of donut in cinnamon sugar while still warm. These are best to eat warm, but can also be stored in an airtight container and eaten the next day. Enjoy.