Apple Cider Donuts

photoOne of my greatest dreams in life is to visit the King Arthur Flour store in Norwich, VT. I can just picture it: aisle after aisle of baking pans, mixing bowls, kitchen scales, flours, extracts, chocolate chips…every tool and ingredient a baker could possibly want, all under one roof.

The donut pans I used for this recipe are King Arthur Flour pans; I have the miniature donut pan as well, but for this recipe, I recommend using the full-sized versions. The apple cider in the batter yields a fluffy, airy texture, and I highly recommend using good-quality cinnamon, such as Vietnamese cinnamon (also available at King Arthur Flour, or Penzey’s), for the cinnamon-sugar coating. If you’d rather not dip your still-warm donuts in melted butter then coat them in cinnamon sugar, try a glaze made from powdered sugar and apple cider…which is what I’ll do next time.

Ingredients

Donuts

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray two donut pans with cooking or baking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine eggs, apple cider, buttermilk, butter, and cinnamon; mix well.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined; you will still have flecks of butter visible, and that is okay; the batter will be very thick.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling about 3/4 full. Smooth tops of donuts with wet fingers.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, until tops are just golden brown.

Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool for just a few minutes while you prepare the cinnamon sugar coating.

Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl; set aside.

Combine sugar and cinnamon, mixing well.

Dip donuts, while still warm, into the butter on both sides, then dip immediately in cinnamon sugar.

Serve warm or allow to cool.

 

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Apple Cider Cupcakes

apple cider cupcakesApples are cultivated throughout the world, from the United States to Italy to India. There are literally thousands of different cultivars of apples, ranging in color, flavor, texture, and usage. For the same kind of fruit, it’s pretty amazing to think about how different each apple can taste from the next, from a tart Granny Smith to a sweet Honey Crisp. I’m a fan of the Rome, Gala, and Golden Delicious varieties, but I always prefer to bake with a blend of sweet and tart apples in pies.

To me, apple cider is like apple juice’s tangy sibling, and I’ve seen it in a variety of recipes lately, mostly for doughnuts. I came across this cupcake recipe on Pinterest, though the original was paired with a caramel buttercream. I’ve frosted these cupcakes with my traditional caramel frosting, but I have to admit: I think a simple glaze icing, or even just a sprinkling of sifted powdered sugar, would have been a better choice. The cupcakes themselves are light and spongy, and while the caramel flavor in the frosting pairs well with the spicy apple flavor in the cupcakes, it’s a bit denser than necessary. Next time, I’ll likely opt for a different frosting, if I frost them at all.

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup apple cider

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line one 12-count cupcake tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl frequently.

Add flour mixture and cider alternatively, in thirds, beating until just combined after each addition and ending with the flour.

Scoop batter into prepared tin, filling cups about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting or serve plain. These cupcakes are tasty enough on their own!