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Taste of fall: Old-fashioned apple cider donuts

Oct 15th, 2013 | Category: Features

by Tina Hoban

Apple season is in full swing, and since we have a small orchard on our property, we always have plenty.  Baskets filled with apples sit on the porch, begging to be used. I make a respectable number of pies, jars of applesauce and jugs of cider, but there always seem to be more apples. So I try to find new ways to use them.

Old-fashioned apple cider donuts. PHOTO BY TINA HOBAN

This year I made apple cider doughnuts for the first time and I think that making them will be a new fall tradition. In past generations, doughnuts were a common treat to make at home, but these days, they are more often bought in the grocery store. That’s a shame, because the homemade version is much better than store-bought, and once you discover how simple they are to make, I think that you will be hooked too.

When I decided to test a few new doughnut recipes, I asked some of the students at Pioneer Meadows Montessori School in Ferndale to help. Cooking with kids is a lot of fun, and the kids were eager to help. With two recipes in hand, we set out mixing, patting, cutting out and frying  It was quite the production. And in the end, we made some changes and came up with our favorite recipe. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Another great recupe is the German Apple Skillet Pancake. The batter for this pancake is more like a  popover. It puffs up nicely in the oven, so serve it as soon as it comes out.

Lastly, Sausage with Apples can be made with many types of sausage. Breakfast sausages are great for the morning, or use a chicken and rosemary sausage for a simple dinner.

Old Fashioned Apple Cider Doughnuts



3 cups apple cider, divided

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons butter, room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 small apple, peeled

Vegetable oil, shortening or lard for frying



Simmer the apple cider in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until for 20 minutes or so, or until the cider is reduced to 3/4 cup of liquid.  Measure 1/2 cup of the concentrate and place in a medium sized bowl to use for the glaze. Save the rest for the doughnut batter.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, then add the remaining 1/4 cup of cider, along with the milk.  Beat until smooth.  Grate the apple into the batter (you should have about 1/2 cup) and mix in.  Add the dry ingredients and slowly mix until just combined.

Place the dough on a well-floured cutting board or sheet tray and use your hands to pat it out until it’s 1/2” thick.  If the dough seems too soft to work with, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes, then cut out doughnut shapes using a 3” ring for the outside and a 1” cutter for the center.  Refrigerate the doughnuts while the oil heats.

To fry the doughnuts, heat 2” to 3” of fat in a deep-sided pan until the temperature reaches 350º F.  Carefully place two or three doughnuts in the pan, fry until nicely browned, and then carefully turn the doughnut over and fry until the other side is browned.  Don’t forget to fry the doughnut holes too!  Drain on paper towels.

Cider Glaze

1/2 cup reduced cider (from above)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Stir together the cider and powdered sugar, and dip the warm doughnuts in glaze.

Makes 12 doughnuts

German Apple Skillet Pancake



3 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons butter

2 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2” thick

-Maple syrup


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in the milk. Sift the flour and salt together and add it to the bowl.  Whisk in the flour until smooth. Melt two tablespoons of the butter, and whisk it into the batter. Set the batter aside.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of the butter to the pan, along with the apple slices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to soften. Arrange the apple slices evenly in the pan, then pour the batter over the apples. Pop the pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes more. Cut into wedges and serve it warm with maple syrup.

Serves 4 to 6

Sausage with Apples



1 pound link sausages

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 large apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced

1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary


Cook the sausages in a large skillet until cooked through.  Transfer the sausages to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the onions to the pan, and cook over medium heat until they are soft. Add the apples and cook until they are cooked through, but still firm. Stir in the rosemary, and add the sausages back to the pan to heat through.


Serves 4 to 6

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