Reluctant to let summer go, we welcomed the season change with a quick trip out of the city to beautiful Warwick Valley, known for its sprawling farmland, orchards, and wineries. We picked apples, gorged on cider donuts, and drank hard cider and wine. Despite all that we feasted on, no trip to Warwick is complete without lugging home edible (or in our case, drinkable) souvenirs. For us, this was a bottle of local wine and a gallon of fresh cider made from quality apples. To complete our transition to fall, I baked apple cider donuts. This sweet treat is full of autumn spices–just what we needed to wash away any lasting remnants of those end of summer blues.
The how to…
Recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
For the apple cider concentrate
1 cup pure apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
For the batter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg, room temperature
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup skim milk plus 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar for homemade buttermilk
For cinnamon sugar topping
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp apple cider concentrate (see Step 1 below)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Reduce cider to intensify flavor. In a small sauce pan, combine apple cider, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, until liquid thickens. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
- Whisk wet ingredients. In another bowl, whisk egg, melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add homemade buttermilk and 1/2 cup of the apple cider concentrate and whisk until well combined.
- Combine. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture. Gently fold the batter until just combined. Do not over mix (small lumps in batter OK).
- Fill donut pans. Lightly spray two 6 cavity donut pans with cooking spray. Spoon the batter into a large ziplock bag and seal. Using a scissors, snip off one corner tip. Gently squeeze the bag to pipe the batter into the donut rounds, filling the wells 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 12-15 minutes, until tops are golden or a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove donuts from pan and cool completely.
- While donuts cool, make the sugar topping. In a bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon and set aside. In another bowl, add butter and 2 tsp apple cider concentrate. Microwave on low for 20 seconds, or until butter is completely melted and stir to combine. Working with one donut at a time, lightly brush with apple butter then dunk into the cinnamon sugar, turning to coat the entire donut. Repeat with all of the donuts and serve.
*Got leftover apple cider concentrate from Step 1? Save it! Combine a couple spoonfuls of concentrate w/oil, a splash of vinegar, salt, and black pepper for a delicious apple cider salad dressing.