In my life BGF (Before Gluten-Free), some of my favorite things to eat in the whole, wide world, were hot cider doughnuts sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. They are most often served at apple orchards and county fairs, fresh from the fryer, and passed through take-out windows in greasy paper sacks. I prefer the small doughnuts best, eaten in one or two delicious bites, leaving only a trace of sugar on the fingers.
Cider doughunts are, arguably, the most autumnal treat of all, especially when coupled with a visit to an apple orchard, a hayride, and a hot cup of something. Nowadays, I prefer my doughnuts baked instead of fried, and my gluten-free status has all but eliminated my ability to buy them fresh from the apple farm. So I make them at home, natch, thanks to a fantastic recipe by my friends Pete and Kelli Bronski from No Gluten, No Problem.
My favorite apple cider to use in this recipes isn’t really called cider at all–rather it’s the dark brown, unfiltered apple juice found in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s, but any unfiltered cider will do. When reduced, like all liquids, it becomes much thicker, richer an deeper in flavor. Cider syrup can be used to top ice cream (or to make it), poured over pancakes or waffles, stirred into cocktails or used as an ingredient in baked goods. The longer it simmers, the thicker it gets…until it eventually turns into sticky caramelized candy (that will pull out your teeth for sure). For this recipe two cups of cider is simmered until it reduces to 1/2 a cup. Watch it carefully! I suggest making twice as much cider reduction than the recipe calls for…because you never know when you’ll need the leftovers.
- 2 cups of unfiltered apple cider
- ½ cup of sugar
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk, shaken
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend contains it)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ½ cup sugar & 1 teaspoon cinnamon, whisked together in a bowl
- Heat the cider in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer until the cider has reduced to ½ cup. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a 2 mini-doughnut pans (or 2 regular doughnut pan) with gluten-free cooking spray. (Tip: if you need to bake the doughnuts in more than one batch, make sure to re-spray the pan with gluten-free cooking spray)
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and reduced cider until combined. Add the flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves and beat until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a large zip-top bag and snip about ½ inch off one corner. Carefully pipe mixture into your prepared doughnut pan, filling each well about ½ full. Do NOT overfill the doughnut wells or your doughnuts will come out looking more like leprechaun hats.
- Bake the doughnuts until they spring back when gently touched, about 8 minutes for the minis, 10 minutes for the larger ones.
- Dip or brush the doughnuts with the melted butter just as soon as they are cool enough to handle and gently toss with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
- Serve immediately!