Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Maple Drizzle, full of moist, cinnamon flavor, are a festive addition to your holiday breakfast or dessert table.
CLICK HERE TO JUMP STRAIGHT TO THE RECIPE
I know the holidays are usually reserves for cookies and pie, but I couldn’t resist adding something else to the dessert table this year…Baked Apple Cider Donuts!
I think apple cider donuts are an east coast thing. When we lived in New Jersey, we saw them at every roadside stand once cooler weather hit. Now that we’re in Texas, well, there’s no cool weather, and there’s also no apple cider donuts. Sad face. Especially because apple cider donuts are about a billion times better than regular donuts. Possibly a trillion. Or maybe they just tasted that way because they were freshly baked on some farm and layered with a cinnamon sugar coating that was so addictive I didn’t even care that it got all over my face, hands, and clothes.
Either way, Ross and I have been on the lookout for apple cider donuts ever since moving to Texas. And since it’s now been three years with nary a donut sighting, it was time to take matters into our own greedy little hands. And I’m SO glad we did.
I know the main thing that has deterred me from donut-making in the past was the mess of dealing with a pot of boiling oil. Maybe you’re the same. I mean, deep-fried-anything is delicious, but also messy and a little intimidating. So how did we deal with this issue?
We didn’t. We baked our apple cider donuts. And they were so good! I’ll still eat them deep-fried if someone else is making them (duh), but for me in my own kitchen, baked is the way to go.
You will need a donut pan to get the right shape. I try to resist buying uni-tasking kitchen supplies, but I wasn’t able to figure out a way to make donuts in my muffin tin or on a baking sheet. (If some enterprising reader has a tip to share, please do!) But these donuts turned out so well I know we’ll be making plenty more in the not-too-distant future. We used this silicone donut pan and everything went super smoothly. (← Amazon affiliate link)
We thought about doing a glaze with the baked apple cider donuts, but the classic cinnamon sugar coating won our hearts. However, to add just a touch of extra flavor, we compromised by adding a quick maple drizzle to about half of them. It’s not necessary, but it is tasty. And pretty. Not that they’ll last long enough to sit around and gaze at them. Nope, these babies are going down the hatch but quick.
And that’s for the best. I’ll be honest, these donuts do not keep very well. By the next day, the cinnamon sugar coating tends to dissolve, and the donuts become quite sticky. They’re still tasty, and I certainly kept eating leftovers for the next couple days, but I wouldn’t have felt good about their presentation for company. Just a tip to help with your planning.
The good news is that these Baked Apple Cider Donuts are pretty quick to make. They’re a cake donut, not yeast, so you don’t need to let them rise. The longest step is reducing the apple cider – which I don’t recommend skipping, since it helps your donuts have the perfect punch of flavor. But you can do the reduction ahead of time and store it in your fridge until you’re ready for the train to Donut Town. (I could ride that train every day.)
Moist, sweet, and perfectly spiced, Baked Apple Cider Donuts are well-worth the effort. In fact, there’s not much else I can say about these donuts – except that you NEED to try them. I know you’re full of Christmas cookies and gingerbread and pumpkin pie, but you know what I say?
There’s always room for more dessert.
Especially Baked Apple Cider Donuts.
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch of cloves
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup confectioners sugar
- 1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons milk or cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Pour apple cider into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook cider until reduced to about ¾ of a cup - about 15 minutes. Let the cider cool slightly. If you're making it in advance, refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until well combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and stir well.
- Alternate between adding buttermilk, reduced apple cider, and flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined - a few lumps are okay. Do not overmix.
- Spray your donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. To easily fill the donut pan, pour the batter into a gallon plastic bag, cut off a corner, and pipe into donut wells. (Alternatively, you can spoon the batter into the wells.) Fill each well about ¾ full.
- Baking time will depend on your donut pan. A silicone donut pan will take 20-30 minutes. A metal pan will take about 15. Donuts are done when a tester comes out fairly clean.
- Cool donuts on wire racks in their pans for 5-10 minutes, then pop them out and continue cooling.
- Meanwhile, place the melted butter in a small bowl (big enough to place a donut). In another small bowl mix the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sugar.
- When the donuts are cool enough to touch, dip both sides of each donut in the melted butter, then dip again in the cinnamon sugar.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Place the mixture in a plastic squeeze bottle and drizzle over the donuts. (If you don't have a squeeze bottle, drizzle from a spoon held about six inches over the top of the donuts.)