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I love fried dough … especially the pieces of fried delight known as doughnuts. So each Fall when someone suggests a trip to get apple cider doughnuts, I am all in!
Fall is more than just a range of dates on a calendar. It is a season filled with inspiring colors, cool, crisp mornings, traditional flavors and my personal favorite taste sensation, apple cider. Combine apple cider with the comforting qualities of a spice cake and you have a marriage made in heaven and Louisburg, Kansas. I suggest you mapquest directions, fire up the GPS or just follow the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and apples to Louisburg Cider Mill and enjoy their traditional fall apple cider doughnuts.
Keep in mind that these doughnuts, just like the apples used to make them, are a seasonal taste treat you need to savor while you can – unless, of course, you can make them yourself, in your own kitchen, whenever you want!
Baked and not fried is the theme for my take on this fall classic. You will not have to haul out the fryer, purchase multiple tubs of shortening or have a fire extinguisher at the ready. The worst you will have to do is dig out your muffin pan. For me, this can be quite an ordeal. “Cabinet Diving” (a technical kitchen term used quite frequently in my household) refers to the act of locating that elusive pan or bowl that, without fail, ends up buried under everything else in the cabinet. Due to the extreme noise level associated with this task, I strongly advise that during high television viewing times it be performed only during a commercial break.
My Apple Cider Doughnut Puffs are airy and cake-y with a coating of sugar and cinnamon that clings to your fingers and sticks to your lips. Do not expect an over-powering flavor of apples or cider, but instead enjoy the subtle sweetness and slight tang.
APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUT PUFFS
makes 12 regular size “muffin puffs”
2 cups apple cider
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coating: 4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 cup regular-sized muffin pan. (Cooking spray with flour added works great!)
In a saucepan, over medium to medium low heat ( I set my electric stove to a number 3 – 4), gently reduce the apple cider to 1/4 cup. Be patient, this requires about one hour. Stir occasionally during this process. The concentrated apple cider will be the background flavor in your doughnut puffs. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, beat the sugar and egg plus the egg yolk until light and fluffy. I used an electric hand mixer.
In small bowl, combine together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. (I like to use a whisk and give it a good mix.) Pour these dry ingredients into the sugar/egg mixture and stir by hand until well combined. (At this stage the mixture will be stiff until you add the liquid ingredients. That’s why I use a wooden spoon to combine.) Add in vegetable oil, 1/4 cup of reduced apple cider, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix well using an electric hand mixer.
Pour into muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full. (If you over fill the muffins you will lose the nice rounded top.) Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Ovens vary … do not over bake.
Coating: Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir together sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl. When the muffins are done allow to cool just until you are able to handle them easily. With a pastry brush, lightly coat each muffin with butter and gently roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. (Be very gentle when rolling the warm puffs in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Once completely cooled, store in an air tight container. They are wonderful at room temperature. You can heat in the microwave for 5-7 seconds if you like them warm.)
Debbie says: Even though these Apple Cider Doughnuts are very easy to make, why not package one or more batches of the dry ingredients (NOW) before the holidays and store them in sealed zip-lock bags. Make sure you label and date each bag!