day 11: apple cider doughnuts

C is for cider…

that’s good enough for me.”

Sorry to rain on your parade, Cookie Monster, but C has a whole new word to represent. And these doughnuts were way more than good enough for me. They were simply amazing.

The recipe comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Smitten Kitchen. And if you’ve never visited, you must. Deb is an amazing NYC chef/photographer/bloggess who makes me drool with every post. Plus her kitchen is about the size of my broom closet. Plus she just had a baby.

So basically, she’s superwoman.

A few months back she posted this recipe for apple cider doughnuts, and it has been haunting me ever since. I knew that it had to be a part of the 12 Days of Bakemas. And oh boy, they did not disappoint.

You need these doughnuts in your life. Like right now. So let’s go.

First off, you’ll need a half stick of butter (room temperature, please), two eggs, some buttermilk (if you can find regular buttermilk that would be best–my piddly little grocery store only had reduced fat) and apple cider.

Also, from the pantry grab some granulated sugar, salt and all-purpose flour.

And to cap it all off, some cinnamon, nutmeg, a huge tub-o-shortening for frying, baking powder and baking soda.

Got all that? Perfect, dahling.

First we need to concentrate the apple cider. To do that, pour one cup in a saucepan and heat on medium or medium-low until it reduces to about 1/4 of a cup, or about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the dry stuff (3 1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg) in a bowl and give it a stir.

Next, cream the butter with 1 cup of sugar until it’s light and smooth. Then add the eggs one at a time, making sure they’re totally incorporated.

How’s your cider doing? Looks good to me. If it has reduced enough, remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Once the cider concentrate has cooled off enough, turn your mixer on low and slowly pour it in to the butter/sugar/egg mixture.

Also add 1/2 cup of buttermilk…

…and slowly add the flour mixture.

Continue mixing until a dough forms. Bee-youtiful.

Turn the dough out onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and floured.

Press it down until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick, and then stick the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes. We need to harden that dough, my darlings.

Grab a doughnut cutter, or if you don’t have one you could improvise with things of similar diameters. I think my cutter is 3″ on the outside and 1″ on the inside. I’ve been known to use a water glass in a pinch. A shot glass might do nicely for the middle.

Cut out as many doughnuts as you can from the flattened dough.

I was able to squeeze out about 19 or 20…

…plus holes…

…and one christmas tree, for good measure. If you’ve got extra dough, you can reshape it, freeze for a few more minutes, and then cut more shapes out of it if you’d like.

Now comes the fun part. Scoop your shortening into a deep pan. You need an oil depth of at least 3 inches or so for these suckers to cook properly, so plan accordingly. Heat the shortening over medium heat until it reaches 350°. Clip a candy/deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pan to help you maintain constant temperature.

Sorry, meat thermometers aren’t accurate for this sort of thing. Believe me, I’ve tried.

While your shortening is heating up, you can go ahead and get your dippin’ sugar ready. Mix 1 cup sugar with a few teaspoons of cinnamon. Or you could make a glaze if you’re feeling ambitious.

One final measure before we begin frying:

I’m a safety girl.” And if you can name that movie line you’ve won yourself a drink at the Blue Banana.

Once your oil is the right temp, go ahead and drop a few of those suckers on in. Carefully, please. No holiday burns allowed. Fry in small batches, cooking for about 60 seconds on one side…

…and then gently turning them over to cook on the other side for another 30-60 seconds. Have some plates ready right next to you lined with bunches of paper towels. When you’re cooking the doughnut holes, keep in mind that they’ll cook a lot faster.

Let them cool for a few minutes on the paper towels, and then dip the topside in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and let cool on wire racks.

By now all of your neighbors have come over to see what that glorious smell is drifting down the street.

Take that, Top Pot.

The holes were super fun to make, plus they’re darn cute.

And who doesn’t love a doughnut christmas tree?

I also made some doughnut “logs” (*childish laughter*) with the leftover dough that I was too lazy to shape any other way.

The verdict? These things are seriously dangerous. The apple cider flavor was delicate but definitely present. I loved the texture, especially when they were still warm–the inside was soft and chewy and the outside was the tiniest bit crispy. The cinnamon sugar was the perfect cap-off and added nicely to the flavor.

Plus, the recipe made about a bazillion doughnuts. My tummy appreciated it very much.

My thighs, on the other hand, might disagree.

Thanks to Deb at Smitten Kitchen for this wonderful recipe that you can find right here. You’re my hero!

Oh, and a note about tomorrow–it’s the last day of Bakemas. Tune in for a wonderful recipe that is (gasp!) not baked. It’s not even fried.

Happy 11th Day of Bakemas!



  1. I think these were my second favorite behind the gougeres. They still tasted fresh a day or two later which most donuts don’t. They were so yummy. We actually delivered these to our neighbors instead of cookies for christmas.

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