Once upon a time, we moved from the land of corn mazes and fall cider mills to the middle of nowhere where there was no such thing as Cinnamon Sugar Cider Donuts. Womp, womp.
My dilemma was this: how would I turn my family’s favorite fall treat into a version that we could have at home (sans cider mills and all they entail), and how could I make it a less-guilty pleasure as well.
Coconut oil. As with my Buttermilk Fried Chicken, we find that any fried foods we make and LOVE can be fried in refined coconut oil for zero greasy after-effects and the most delicious food. Since we avoid any trans-fats in other nasty oils, we feel good about even eating donuts!
And we bought an apple cider press so we can press our own apple cider from our own wild orchards so it kinda seemed like we needed to honor that with perfect donuts. Done.
There are lots of steps (they’re easy steps!), but if you’ll be hanging around your house for an afternoon, I can promise that first bite of a warm, sugary, cinnamon-y, cider-y donut fresh from your kitchen might be one of the best things you’ve ever put into your mouth.
The first step takes awhile so plan this one ahead. Put 1 c. of apple cider in a small saucepan over medium heat (uncovered) and let it simmer for around a half hour or so. The goal is for it to reduce down to 1/4 c. of concentrated cider. Let cool before continuing.
Beat 4 T. butter,
1/2 c. white sugar,
and 1/2 c. brown sugar. Mix well.
Add in 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Scrape down the sides and add in 1/2 c. buttermilk,
as well as the 1/4 c. reduced cider.
In a separate bowl, mix the following dry ingredients:
3 1/2 c. flour,
2 tsp. baking powder,
1 tsp. baking soda,
1/2 tsp. salt,
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon,
1/4 tsp. nutmeg,
and 1/8 tsp. cloves.
Add the dry ingredients a little at a time to the mixture and mix until combined.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Press the dough onto the sheet until it is about 1/2″ thick. Dust the top with a bit of flour. Set the baking sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes to let it chill.
Remove the sheet from the freezer and cut into doughnut shapes. I use my 3 inch and 1 inch biscuit cutter. Place the donuts and holes back onto the parchment paper, and set them back in the freezer for another 20 minutes while you prepare to fry.
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat about 3 inches of coconut oil to 350 degrees with a thermometer on the side of your pan to maintain a consistent temperature while you fry.
Also, mix about 1 cup of sugar with at least 2 T. cinnamon (to your liking) in a shallow dish.
Line a platter with paper towels for draining.
When the oil has reached 350 degrees, set a few donuts or donut holes in to fry. Do not overcrowd the pan as it will affect the oil temp. Let them fry for between 30 and 60 seconds making sure to flip them when the reach a deep golden brown. Use a pancake turner to gently flip each donut and let the other side fry for about the same time. Remove to the paper towel lined plate to drain. Within about 30 seconds, set them into the cinnamon sugar and flip to coat both sides well.
I did find that the donut holes took longer to cook through to the middle so check the first one by cutting into it to make sure the middle gets cooked thoroughly.
Also, keep an eye on your oil temp. Lower or raise the temp as needed. If the oil temp is too high, the outside will get too dark and the inside will not cook through all the way.
- 1 c. apple cider
- 4 T. butter
- ½ c. brown sugar
- ½ c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ c. buttermilk (or ½ T. vinegar + milk to equal ½ cup -- let this sit for 5 minutes)
- 3½ c. flour,
- 2 tsp. baking powder,
- 1 tsp. baking soda,
- ½ tsp. salt,
- 1 heaping tsp. cinnamon,
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg,
- ⅛ tsp. cloves
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 T. cinnamon
- Several cups of Coconut oil for frying
- Flour for dusting
- Put 1 c. apple cider in a small heavy saucepan and simmer over medium heat for around 30 minutes to reduce to ¼ cup. Let cool thoroughly.
- Use a mixer to beat the butter and sugars.
- Add in eggs one at at time and mix well.
- Add in the buttermilk and cooled cider.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients, and then gradually add to the butter/egg mixture. Mix until the dough comes together.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour.
- Press the dough onto the pan to ½". Dust with a bit more flour.
- Place in freezer for 20 minutes to chill.
- Remove and cut into donuts and donut holes.
- Place the cut pieces back onto the parchment paper and back into the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Prepare oil by placing a thermometer into 3 inches of refined coconut oil in a heavy pan. Heat to 350 degrees.
- Line a platter with paper towel.
- In a shallow pan, mix 1 c. sugar with at least 2 T. cinnamon.
- Fry a few donuts/holes at a time until each side is just deep brown (30-60 seconds). Remove to lines platter and within 30 seconds, set into cinnamon sugar and flip to coat.
Many thanks to Will Cook for Friends for your fabulous recipe upon which I based mine!