What do you do when you awake with a donut craving that just-won’t-quit? Bake yo self some donuts! These brown butter apple cider donuts bake up in just 10 minutes. ← Faster than running to the bakery and way more fun.
Hi hi and howdy! Today we’re talking apple cider donuts and I couldn’t be more excited. I spent the better part of last weekend making (and eating…) batch after batch of these donuts and when I finally nailed the recipe, I knew I had to share this winner with you asap. I think you can see why, eh??? ↓↓↓
Important: These donuts, like most I make, are baked, so before we go on, let me ask you a question: do you own a donut pan? If you do, awesome sauce. If not, you’re going to need one for this recipe adventure. The good news is most donut pans are reasonably priced and quite durable! I’ve had my 10 dollar donut pan for 5 years now and it works just as well as the day I bought it. I’ve included a link to the exact one I own at the end of this post, just in case you’re in the market 😉
So let’s get down to details. These donuts are super easy to make, but there are two very important steps we need to quickly cover! Step one? Reducing the apple cider. I learned this little trick a few years ago when I made this Brown Butter Apple Bundt Cake with Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce. By reducing the cider we pack maximum apple flavor into the donuts with a small amount of liquid. If the idea of making a reduction makes you uneasy, let me squash your fear here and now; making a reduction simply means simmering the cider on your stove top for 20-25 minutes. It’s a one-step process and I know you can totally do this! You want a 1/2 cup of apple cider reduction, so keep an eye on it as it simmers. When the reduction is finished simmering, you’ll want to transfer it into a heatproof measuring cup and place it in the fridge so it can cool as you prepare the other ingredients. You can do this step up to a day in advance! Just keep the reduction covered in the fridge until needed.
The second step I want to address is browning the butter. As you may already know, I am a brown butter enthusiast, and use it in my baking as often as possible. If you’ve never browned butter before, don’t fret. It’s easy and requires just a touch of patience. You’ll start off melting the butter in a skillet; once the butter has completely melted you’ll continue to cook the butter, on medium heat (or medium-low if your stove top runs hot) until it’s turned a golden brown and smells slightly nutty. Just be sure you stay stove side once the butter has melted, as browned butter can turn into burnt butter very fast.
I know that was a lot of instruction, but I promise these donuts really are super easy and worth every single second of “work”. Once the cider is reduced and butter has browned, these donuts are only 15 minutes away!
Homemade apple cider donuts are richly spiced, super soft, and covered in crunchy cinnamon sugar. In other words, they are H-e-a-v-e-n on earth <— Take yourself there today!
Brown Butter Apple Cider Donuts
For the apple cider donuts:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 and 1/2 cups apple cider (making a 1/2 cup of apple cider reduction; see post for more on this)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted until browned (see post for more on this)
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
For the cinnamon sugar coating:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ***Make your apple cider reduction and brown butter first!***
To make the apple cider reduction:
- Place apple cider in a small saucepan and simmer over low-medium heat for 20-25 minutes. You want a 1/2 cup of apple cider reduction for this recipe. As mentioned in the post, reducing the cider allows you to get a more intense apple flavor. Transfer the reduction to a heatproof measuring cup and place it in the fridge to cool while you prepare the other ingredients. It should be room temperature when added to the batter.
For the brown butter:
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-heat. Whisking frequently, continue to cook the butter until it's golden brown and smells slightly nutty. Transfer butter to a small heatproof dish and place it in the fridge to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
For the apple cider donuts:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Generously grease two 6 mold doughnut pans; set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, dark brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices; set aside.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, apple cider reduction, apple sauce, and browned butter. Gently fold this wet mixture into the dry mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in the sour cream.
- Spoon mixture into prepared doughnut pans, and bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the donuts spring back when lightly pressed. Allow doughnuts to cool a few minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire wrack to cool for a few more minutes.
For the cinnamon sugar coating:
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-heat; once melted transfer to a wide shallow bowl; set aside. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a medium-sized bowl; set aside.
- Once the donuts are cool enough to handle, dip them in the melted butter, then roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture; repeat until all donuts have been covered.
- These donuts are best eaten the day they are made.
- The batter will be very thick. Spoon it into the pan, or pour the batter into a ziplock bag, snip off the end, and pipe the batter into the greases molds.
- Apple cider reduction may be made a day in advance
- If you don't own two donut pans, simply divide the batter in two and bake one batch at a time.