The Apple Cider Vinegar Companion, by Suzy Scherr (The Countryman Press, 2016), explores simple ways to use one of nature’s most versatile ingredients. From cleaning, to cooking, to keeping your hair shiny, apple cider vinegar is a cupboard staple. This recipe for doughnuts will allow you to taste the flavors of fall year-round.
Traditional apple cider doughnuts are a fall ritual in the northeast. They’re cake-style doughnuts and they get their distinct flavor from cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple cider used in the batter. They have a crisp exterior and a light interior, and are faintly spiced (I’m not a comic book expert, but I believe they are my kryptonite.) Alas, they are deep-fried and, much as I would like to eat them every day, I can’t pretend not to know a thing or two about nutrition, so I get my fill each fall when we visit our local apple orchards. Then I have to wait during the other three seasons on the calendar. There’s a happy ending to this tale, however. The following recipe turns out doughnuts that very closely approximate the real deal. They’re tender, tangy, and have a similar flavor without the messy, time-intensive, calorie-leaden frying, so I can get my fix more often. If you don’t own a doughnut pan, fear not: you can make “doughnut holes” in a mini muffin pan.
For the doughnuts:
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 cups apple cider
• 2 whole cloves
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 large egg
• 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
• 2/3 cup light brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons naturally sweetened applesauce (no sugar added)
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cinnamon sugar coating:
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1. In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a mini muffin pan or a doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider and whole cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to medium and boil vigorously for 15 to 20 minutes, until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove the cloves from the reduction and allow it to cool to room temperature.
4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
5. In another bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, and brown sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the applesauce, vanilla, milk-vinegar mixture, and apple cider reduction.
6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until the dough is smooth and well combined; do not overmix.
7. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups or doughnut wells. Bake until the muffins or doughnuts are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, 9 to 12 minutes.
8. When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, prepare the cinnamon sugar coating: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the tops of each muffin or doughnut into the melted butter, then coat with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
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Reprinted with permission from The Apple Cider Vinegar Companion, copyright 2016 by Suzy Scherr. Published by The Countryman Press.