Each fall I take a day trip to Oak Glen with my niece and nephews. We start our day at Snowline Orchards buying little bags of mini apple cider donuts. They are hot and we sit out on the bench and devour every one of them, It marks the beginning of another aunt adventure and this one has deep roots.
We literally start talking about it before they go back to school. We talk about and anticipate it for months. I grew up going to Oak Glen each year with my family, so it has been a fun tradition to carry on with them.
I decided to tackle what seemed like a daunting exercise to reproduce apple cider donuts. I have made baked donuts before but never actual, fried donuts. Mostly because frying seems so far from healthy and a bit messy. But, I gave it a try.
I was surprised at how easy these were to make. I used a recipe from Damn Delicious but then made a few tweaks. In researching recipes several mentioned Apple Spice. This was new to me. I made my own batch and worked it into the recipe. It adds an extra layer of flavor to the donuts.
What is Apple Spice Mix?
Apple Spice mix is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom. You can find it in stores, but save yourself a run back to the store and make it at home.
- 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cardamom
How To Get The Strong Apple CIder Flavor
One of the keys to this recipe is cooking down the apple cider to get a more concentrated flavor. I started with 3 cups and took it down to 1 cup. You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate.
Quality of apple cider is key too. You can use the apple cider in the juice aisle but if you can get fresh apple cider, it makes a huge difference, flavor-wise. Check-in your produce section, they sometimes feature it there.
I didn't have a donut cutter but used a circle cutter, and then a tiny circle cutter to create these.
Before you start cooking, making sure to have the apple spice sugar mix ready to go. You will want to serve these hot, just dipped into the Apple Spice sugar.
If you love apples you have to try my Pecan Crusted French Toast with Apples.
Apple Cider Donuts
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon divided
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon apple spice mix
- 6 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Heat apple cider in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 15-20 minutes; cool completely.
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and remaining 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and apple spice.
- In another bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, and apple cider.
- Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist; cover and place into the refrigerator until chilled, about 1 hour or overnight. Divide dough in half.
- Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into ½-inch thick rounds; cut out rounds with a 2 ½-inch cutter.
- Heat canola oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F.
- Working in batches, add donuts to the pot and cook until evenly golden and crispy, 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate for 30 seconds; then roll warm donuts in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.