the guide to baked apple cider doughnuts (recipe)


There is a farm stand in Amherst, Massachusetts called Atkins Farms. When I was a little girl, every Sunday morning after Mass my grandparents would take me to Atkins to buy our vegetables for the week. Spring and summer were fine but oh, when fall arrived there was the promise of a hot apple cider doughnut and a cold cup of fresh pressed apple cider. Even after L. and I got married, on crisp, sunny, autumn Sundays we would bundle up in Irish wool sweaters, throw the top down on our little Volkswagen Cabriolet, and drive from Connecticut to Western Mass. for the sublime taste of cinnamon, sugar and apples, all warm and cozy. I can still remember the way the sunshine bounced off my husband's smile as he tasted that first bite of a cider doughnut.

This recipe calls for apple cider syrup. You can make your own by boiling pure unsweetened apple cider down to 1/7 of its original volume. This can take 3 hours. Be sure to stir often, especially in the last 30 minutes. What you are left with is a thick, concentrated apple cider syrup that is extraordinary poured over vanilla ice cream, as a glaze for salmon or add a teaspoon to club soda for a sparkling bright apple cocktail. 
See the recipe for boiled cider here.


Now that we live here on the west coast I wanted to replicate this taste without the calories of a fried doughnut. I've spent the last couple weeks poring over my Junior League of New England cookbooks and researching recipes online. After several variations, this recipe is the winner.  It isn't low fat or low in sugar and technically it isn't a doughnut at all  (because it isn't fried) but it's close enough in shape, taste and texture that it brings me right back to those lovely, sunshiny autumn days when a perfect moment was just about me, him and the taste of a fall day in New England.



Apple Cider Doughnut Recipe
18 doughnuts

Ingredients

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce
2/3 cup of boiled cider (or regular apple cider)
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (plain)
3 Tbsp. canola oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 doughnut pans and set aside. In a bowl mix dry ingredients together (white flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, white sugar and brown sugar.) Set aside. In a large bowl bowl mix the wet ingredients (egg, applesauce, cider, Greek yogurt and canola oil. Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients being careful not to overmix.

Spoon batter into doughnut wells just until 2/3 full. Fill both pans and bake for approximately 12 minutes. (Start testing at 10 minutes with a cake tester.) Cook just until golden.  Remove from oven and carefully remove doughnuts from pans after 2 minutes. (If the nonstick pans were greased, theu should slide right out. Using a small spoon will help edge them out.) Arrange hot donuts on a plate and sprinkle with a mix of cinnamon and sugar. Repeat with one more pan. Enjoy when they are warm!

Notes
  • If you don't have a doughnut pan, you can also use this batter for mini muffins. 
  • Some recipes call for glazing the doughnut with butter before adding the cinnamon and sugar mix at the end. However, I found that if you add the cinnamon and sugar while the doughnuts are hot, the sweet topping will stay on just fine.  You can also omit the cinnamon and sugar step.