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Monday, October 14, 2013

Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts

Our family recently went out east apple and pumpkin picking at Harbes Farm in Riverhead.  It was a brisk and cloudy fall day with misty rain,  no sun in sight.  But that was OK, because you know what tastes extra good on a day like that?  Warm fresh apple cider and warm freshly made Apple Cider Doughnuts that were just rolled in a generous coating of cinnamon sugar.  Yes, they do it right there in front of you.  They melted in your mouth and warmed you right up.  We all had plans of what to do with the peck of apples that we had picked, from pies to crisps, but top on my list was to try to recreate these doughnuts.  I found a recipe in my "Sweet Home" cookbook that comes close!

1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsps. baking powder
2 tsps. cinnamon
1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup finely diced and peeled apple, such as Honeycrisp or Gala
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 cup sugar
2 tsps. cinnamon
Make the doughnuts:  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs until thick and creamy.  Add the butter and mix on low until fully incorporated. 
Combine the buttermilk, cider, and vanilla in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice and salt.  Alternately add the flour and buttermilk-cider mixture to the egg batter, combining thoroughly.  Fold in the apples. 
Turn the dough out onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper.  Gold the paper over to cover the dough and place in the freezer for 30 mins.  The dough will be very sticky, but will firm up while freezing.
Meanwhile, make the topping:  mix the sugar and cinnamon in a low wide bowl, set aside
In a large pot with a candy/deep fry thermometer inserted on rim, start heating 3 - 4 inches of oil to  36o degrees.  It will take about 15 mins to heat up. 
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the firm dough to 1/2" thick.  Cut 2 1/2" circle with 1" center holes, or use a doughnut cutter.  The dough will be soft, which makes light, tender doughnuts when fried.  Let the cut doughnuts rest for 5 min on a cookie sheet.
Fry 3 or 4 doughnuts at a time for about 1 1/2 mins per side, or until golden brown.  Be sure to constantly maintain temperature of the oil by adjusting heat accordingly.  Flip doughnuts to other side, when golden on both sides remove to a rack with paper towels underneath to catch the oil.  While still warm roll doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Serve warm.  Makes about 20 doughnuts plus doughnut holes.
Recipe adapted from Sweet Home ~ over 100 Heritage Desserts and Ideas for Preserving Family Recipes

Doughnut cutter available in my store here:


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