Apple Cider Donuts

These are a bit of a process, but by golly, they’re worth it! Quite literally impossible to stop eating! These are going to be a bit cakier than your normal, yeast donut because of all the sugar in the cider, but they’re not as dense as your traditional cake donut. I think they’re a perfect balance! Is one allowed to talk about balance with donuts??

Side note: my kiddos like to stand over hot oil and fry donuts. Super terrifying.  I absolutely could not get them to step away from the donut project when I was working on this recipe. We all emerged unscathed, whew! 

You will need…

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 packet dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 large egg (room temp is best!)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom (for that extra something special)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon cardamom for coating (for finger-licking goodness!)

Special equipment: 

  • a heavy bottomed pot
  • tongs or a spider to remove the donuts from the hot oil (vegetable oil or canola oil work great!)
  • round cutters
  1. Start by reducing the 4 cups of apple cider down to 1.  Just pour it into a large saucepan and boil. I find it takes about 45 minutes to reduce fully. When the reduction is still warm, add the butter to the cider so that it melts. Set the bowl aside until the reduced cider is cooled but still warm.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the warm water, yeast, and 1/2 cup of the flour. Mix until it forms a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30 minutes. Now is a good time to check that all is well with your apple cider ;).
  3. Next, add the egg, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and cider reduction to the batter and mix on low. Add another 2 cups of flour and mix until it forms a thick batter.
  4. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour to make a sticky dough. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes until the dough clings to the hook and clears the sides of the bowl.  If it’s too sticky, add in a little more flour until it comes away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. 
  5. Coat your hands in oil and remove the dough to an oiled bowl, swirl it in the oil to coat on all sides.  Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and set aside to rise for at least one hour. 
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness.

7. Use round cutters to cut donuts. I use about 2 1/2 inch cutters, but any size will do. Use a smaller cutter to cut a center hole in each donut. Pour some flavorless oil onto a baking sheet and flip each donut in the oil to coat, leaving space between each donut. I use the scraps to cut out LOTS of donut holes! 

 8. Cover the sheet pans with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel, and let them rest for another hour. Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts of oil in a large heavy pot. Fry the donuts a couple at a time, about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and puffy.

9. As you take each donut out of the oil, blot the excess oil on a paper towel and then immediately roll in the cinnamon/cardamom sugar to coat. Set on a cooling rack while you fry the rest of the donuts.

Best eaten slightly warm or within a couple of hours of frying with your morning or afternoon coffee! 

TIP! If making in advance, you can make these through step 8. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Let them rest and return to room temperature before frying in the morning!

Here’s an ever-so handy printable!


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