While I am a native Texan, I spent eight years of my youth in the northeast. My sisters and I all agree that this time spent in states with four whole seasons made a huge impact on our lives. We are oddly obsessed with this time of year. As we like to say, “Halloween is our Christmas.” Most people love the change of seasons, especially the change from summer to fall. The crisp air and the thought of NOT SWEATING makes everyone, especially us Texans, a bit giddy. But, my family sort of takes it to extreme. Houses get decorated, fall magazines lay on every surface, pumpkin spice candles are lit, the word Halloween is used in every other sentence, and our husbands do a lot of extra eye-rolling. Although, I think they secretly enjoy our obsession. I sent Craig on a mission the other night to find the fall-themed Hershey Kisses. He went to two stores looking for them, and while he was unsuccessful, he surprised me with a beautiful pumpkin and lots of cute little gourds. It made my whole day…no, my whole week!
So anyways, when we lived in the northeast we spent a lot of these late months of the year at huge pumpkin patches and apple orchards. I still remember standing in line with my big ‘ol pumpkin, getting ready to “guess it’s weight.” If you guessed right, you got it free. And then there were the apple orchards. Fresh cider and of course, apple cider donuts. We were crazy for those things. A couple of years ago I looked up the website for Delicious Orchards in New Jersey where we used to buy cider donuts and the best pies on the planet. I wanted, no NEEDED, those donuts again. Unfortunately, I didn’t want to pay the exorbitant shipping costs. For years I have been dreaming of those donuts, so this year I decided I would just make me own. Sometimes the most obvious answer is the hardest one to figure out! I felt like a little kid again biting into that donut. The cinammon and sweet cider sent me back to those fall days of raking and jumping into giant piles of leaves with my family. Such sweet memories…
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
Approximately 3 tablespoons sugar for preparing pans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup apple butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Specialty Pan: use a mini donut pan, mini bundt pan or regular sized donut pan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray donut pan with cooking spray, sprinkle with sugar, and shake out excess.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, apple butter, maple syrup, cider, yogurt, and oil. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined. Using a spoon or pastry bag, fill each cavity of the donut pan half-way. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched lightly. Let donuts cool for five minutes before turning them onto a rack. Clean the donut pan and re-coat it with oil and sugar for each batch. Yields roughly 36 mini donuts.
If you want to coat the donuts, fill a low bowl with equal amounts of cinnamon and sugar. Dredge each donut in mixture and place back on the rack to fully cool.