Packed with the comforting flavors of Fall, these Apple Cider Doughnuts are an excellent sweet treat for the crisp, cool days ahead.
There are certain foods that different parts of the country just master. For instance, the South certainly knows how to bake biscuits, make pulled pork and knock out some incredible grits. Texas (yes, that’s a part of the country all by itself) is king of brisket and all things BBQ. My blog friends out on the West Coast keep posting all of these incredible recipes featuring avocados, chilis and strawberries. The fresh Mexican fare out there makes me want to buy a ticket to Cali today. (Thanks to Kevin for sending me a cross-country care package of chilies…it almost makes me feel like I’m in Cali. Almost.)
But what about the Northeast? I’ve only lived up here for a few years now, but it didn’t take long to learn that this area of the country is serious about maple syrup, lobster rolls and clam chowder (but not all in the same recipe, thank goodness). Oh, and Apple Cider Doughnuts.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Apple Cider Doughnuts are a thing of beauty here in upstate New York. They show up every year about this time at farm stands and apple orchards across the area. Folks debate which orchard has the best doughnut, and you’ll even see commercials from various orchards on tv once the Apple Cider Doughnuts make an appearance in the Fall.
One of our favorite places to pick up these sweet treats is an apple orchard that’s about 10 minutes away from our house. We’ll drive over there occasionally on a Saturday afternoon to pick up 2 doughnuts. I can’t trust myself with buying any more than 2! In fact, those doughnuts usually don’t make it out of the parking lot. Yup, these Apple Cider Doughnuts are parking lot good. That’s legit.
A couple of years ago, my wife’s 30th birthday was on tap, and I secretly invited a bunch of our friends to come up and surprise her for the weekend. They arrived about 30 minutes before my wife got home from work, and they hid in the basement to surprise her. Needless to say, that entire weekend was crazy awesome! Since her birthday is in the Fall, I went over to our favorite orchard and picked up about a dozen Apple Cider Doughnuts for breakfast. These doughnuts are hands down one of my favorite New England recipes.
So I decided to go all out and fry these doughnuts. I normally bake doughnuts around here (like these Baked Powdered Sugar Doughnuts), but I wanted to go straight authentic with these Apple Cider Doughnuts. We don’t fry much just to try to keep life a tad bit healthier…but sometimes you just need to pull out the frying pan. It took a couple of attempts to get it down as the first round of doughnuts looked perfectly golden, but sadly they weren’t quite fully cooked inside. I fried the others just a bit longer, and the result was magical.
These bad boys are just as good as the ones we get from our favorite orchard down the street. Will I start making my own Apple Cider Doughnuts when we need our Fall doughnut fix? Doubtful. (It’s still fun to go out to the orchard!) But I definitely can turn to this recipe whenever we do want to make a batch of delicious doughnuts at home.
Did you make these Apple Cider Doughnuts at home? Leave a comment. Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!
Looking for more tasty apple-inspired recipes? Check out these other favorites:
Apple Cider Doughnuts
For the Doughnuts
- 1½ cups apple cider
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 3-4 cups canola or vegetable oil for frying
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
For the Doughnuts
- Using a medium saucepan, add the apple cider and place over medium heat. Boil until cider has reduced to ½ cup (~20-25 minutes). Remove reduced cider from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, using a countertop mixer or a hand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy (~2-3 minutes on medium speed).
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well combined.
- In another bowl, whisk together the reduced apple cider and buttermilk.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl; mix on low speed until just combined.
- Add half of the liquid mixture; mix on low speed until just combined.
- Repeat with the remaining flour and liquid.
- Place dough in freezer for 20 minutes or until firm.
- Transfer dough onto well-floured countertop.
- Roll dough into large square approximately ½” thick. If dough is still sticky to roll, then just use some additional flour. (Note: If your doughnuts are too thick, then the outsides will burn while the insides remain uncooked.)
- Using a doughnut cutter (or a 3” and a 1” round cookie cutter), cut the doughnuts and doughnut holes. Place doughnuts on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Reroll any scraps and continue cutting until all dough has been used.
- Place doughnuts in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Pour oil into a deep fry pan or Dutch oven until it is about 3” deep. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat oil over medium-high heat until temperature reaches 375°F. Meanwhile, prepare a tray with 2 layers of paper towels; set aside. (Tip: If you don’t have a deep fry thermometer, then you can drop a pinch of flour into the oil. If it browns and bubbles immediately, then the oil is ready to go!)
- While oil is heating, make the Cinnamon Sugar Topping by whisking together the sugar and cinnamon. Place mixture in a paper bag.
- Place 2-3 doughnuts into the pan, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Fry doughnuts for 1 minute, flip and then fry for 1-2 more minutes, or until completely cooked. Transfer cooked doughnuts onto paper towels and pat dry. Continue until all doughnuts have been cooked.
- Once doughnuts have cooled, shake doughnuts (one at a time) in the bag with the cinnamon-sugar topping until well coated. Tap off any excess sugar. Repeat with remaining doughnuts. Serve immediately. (Note: If you plan on serving these doughnuts later, store them uncoated in an air-tight container. Shake them in cinnamon sugar just before serving.)