I’ve spent the past week riding the baking bench. Not by choice but rather by need and on dentist’s orders. So, here I am, lighter by two wisdom teeth (I’d notice a huge difference on the scale because those chompers were huge, right?) and ready to bake. That said, I’m proceeding with caution as my remaining chompers aren’t completely up to speed. Soft, fluffy oven-baked donuts (muffins, really, just baked in cute donut shapes) flavored with apple cider and coated with a buttery, cinnamon-sugar topping are just the medicine I need to soothe my soul and break my baking drought.
These betties can be made ahead or, for out-of-the-oven goodness, reduce your cider (more on this in a second) and set it aside at room temp. along with the egg; measure your dry ingredients (please weigh your flour for best results) into bowl and prep your donut pan the night before. This way, you’ll put together the batter and the topping while the oven heats and you’ll be serving up warm, moist donuts in less than 20 minutes. What’s better than that?
A note about the reduced cider concentrate: I know, I know, it’s an extra step and your time is important but the apple flavor really intensifies with this step and your taste buds will thank you. That said, if you really don’t have the time, go ahead and use straight up apple cider – results are still comforting and delicious. Oh, and feel free to substitute pear cider if you like.
Bring on those healing powers and remember that Everyday is a great day for baking!
Apple Cider Donuts with Cinnamon-Toast Topping
Makes 6 small-ish donuts.
For the apple cider concentrate
1 cup apple cider
For the cinnamon toast topping:
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For the donuts:
1 cup (4 1/2 oz./128 g) unbleached, all purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz./50 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup reserved reduced apple cider concentrate, cooled
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 Tbs. (2 oz./57 g) unsalted butter, melted
Make the apple cider concentrate
Put the cider in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Boil until the cider is reduced to just a smidge over 1/3 cup, 8 to 12 minutes. Slide the pan off the heat and set aside to cool completely.
Make the cinnamon toast topping
Put the sugar and cinnamon in a large ramekin or small bowl and stir until well blended. Set aside along with the melted butter (you might need to re-melt when ready to coat the donuts).
Make the donuts
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 6-cup donut pan. Most of these pans are “non-stick” so the cups need only a very light sheen.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg until well blended. Put the reduced cider, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl or a 1-cup measuring cup and whisk until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients along with the melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold until just blended.
- Scrape the mixture into one corner of a quart-sized, heavy-duty zip-top bag. Snip off the corner and pipe the batter into the donut cups. No need to spread evenly or smooth the tops. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 11 to 13 minutes.
- Move the pan to a rack and let cool for about 3 minutes. Invert the pan onto a rack and lift off the pan. When they are still very warm but cool enough to handle, have the melted butter and cinnamon-sugar in small bowls and arrange on the counter along with a serving plate. Working with one donut at a time, dip the rounded side (top) in the butter then in the cinnamon-sugar and gently dredge until the sides and top are completely covered. Arrange topside up on a serving plate. (Any remaining cinnamon-sugar can be covered and stowed at room temperature for up to one week.) Serve immediately or cool completely, cover and stow at room temperature for up to 2 days.