Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts

Remember my victory over frying in hot oil with the Cinnamon Sugar Churros? Well you can update your tabs to Erica: 2, Hot Oil: 0. This time I tackled a very popular seasonal treat: Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts. I told you this was going to be a month full of apple recipes, and I wasn’t joking — this is the 4th apple recipe in a row! I realize that this recipe only calls for apple cider, not raw apples, but you’ve probably used up all of your extra apples by now anyway. Hopefully you can track down some cider and get going on this recipe, they’re seriously delicious.

I used a cake doughnut recipe, rather than a yeast one, only because based on my online research that’s what everyone seems to use for apple doughnuts (including most orchards). They’re a little denser than what you’ll get from a yeast recipe, but still light and fluffy like any good doughnut. The apple flavor is not extremely prominent, so if you have some apple pie spice, feel free to add a few shakes of that. Cake doughnuts can also get stale pretty quickly, so plan to make these for a large crowd, or halve the recipe if you’re not planning on eating 10 doughnuts in one day. Maybe a non-conventional treat for your Thanksgiving menu? I’m sure you wouldn’t get any complaints, especially from pie-haters like me.

I chose 2 toppings for my doughnuts: a cinnamon sugar combination and an apple cider glaze. I’m going to have to say I liked the glazed ones better, but that may have something to do with the cup of confectioner’s sugar involved. I made baked apple cider doughnut holes last year, but there’s really no comparison with these deep fried babies. You just can’t achieve the same crispy exterior that hot oil delivers, no matter how high you up your oven’s temperature. Clearly there are health benefits to choosing baking over frying, and the baked version is still really tasty, so go with whatever works best for you. And as always, everything in moderation my friends. (Especially if you have a trip planned to a tropical, swimsuit-requiring locale over winter break like me!)

As a fun twist, I melted some caramel, stuck some doughnut holes with lollipop sticks, and dipped them to make mini “Caramel Apples”. I had seen the idea over at Duhlicious but decided to use caramel instead of that tooth-breaking candy coating (that stuff gives me nightmares). The doughnut/caramel mixture was kind of a strange combination of textures in my opinion, but it’s definitely a fun idea!

Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup apple cider
3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil for flying
Apple cider glaze: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar + 2 tbsp apple cider + 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cinnamon sugar topping: 1 cup granulated sugar + 1-1/2 tbsp cinnamon

– In a saucepan over medium heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 a cup (20 to 30 minutes) and set aside to cool
– Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg
– Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy
– Add eggs one at a time, and continue to beat until completely incorporated
– Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and buttermilk until combined.
– Slowly add the dry mixture and combine until dough just comes together
– Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle with flour. Turn the dough onto 1 sheet and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2″ thick (continue to sprinkle flour if dough is still wet)
– Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes
– Using a 3″ or 3-1/2″ doughnut cutter (or a combination of a 3″ and 1″ round biscuit cutter) to cut out the doughnut shapes
– Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes
– Add enough oil to a deep pan to a depth of about 3″. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat until oil reaches 350 degrees. (It’s important for the oil not to drop below this temperature during frying, or your doughnuts will be soggy and not too high or the insides will end up uncooked. Keep an eye on the thermometer throughout the process so you can adjust the heat as you go)
– Have a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels
– Prepare toppings by simply mixing ingredients together and set aside in 2 dishes
– Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil (I did 3 at a time), being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry on one side for 60 seconds, then use a fork to flip them over and fry another 30-60 seconds.
– Drain on the paper towel covered plate for a minute, then dip them immediately in the cinnamon-sugar mixture or apple cider glaze. Serve ASAP to ensure freshness!

Recipe yields ~ 18 doughnuts and 18 doughnut holes


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8 Responses to “Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts”

  1. #
    crustabakes — November 16, 2010 @ 8:30 am

    Oh, i adore the donut holes idea! so very cute, and u can pop them into ur mouth without getting ur fingers all over the sticky caramel! double points!

  2. #
    Dustin — November 17, 2010 @ 4:27 am

    These look really tasty. You should definitely share these over at they would be a great addition.

  3. #
    kcrosson — November 20, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

    i love the fact that you can make real donuts. i’m so impressed.

    i submitted your donut holes covered in sugar and dipped in caramel to

  4. #
    4 — November 21, 2010 @ 2:30 am

    Love the dipping the donut holes idea. And you are right, baked donuts are healthier, but you just can’t beat the taste of fried!

  5. #
    Karly — November 22, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

    Yum! Those look amazing!

  6. #
    Kristy — November 23, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    Wow, these look amazing!

  7. #
    culinaryneophyte — December 10, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

    Beautiful pictures! These look amazing!


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