When I was growing up, my grandmother was friendly with another farming family who had orchards full of apples, pears, and stone fruits. It was a rite of fall for my mother and I to go to Schenks’ to buy apples, cider, and Italian plums for plum dumplings. We would walk past their farm stand to the apple cooler; its giant, maple-fronted steel door opened slowly, like a bank vault. Inside, the metallic fragrance of cold apples enveloped us, as we chose from the best of their produce – a professional courtesy among the local farmers. The cider was strong and sweet, and my grandmother always fried a batch of doughnuts made with apple cider and sprinkled them with powdered sugar.
As much as I love fried doughnuts, I’ve adapted her old recipe to be baked (after more failed attempts than I care to recall). It’s healthier, less messy, faster – and I added crushed walnuts on top of the cider glaze, because the apple flavor in a cider doughnut is subtle. The ingredient that made the dough work was honey (with thanks to thefauxmartha.com for the idea). This is an apple-ish, cinnamon-y, honeyed doughnut with a walnut crunch. Yum!
Baked Walnut Apple Cider Doughnuts
Serves: Makes a dozen baked doughnuts
Prep time: 25 minutes
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup apple cider plus 2 tablespoons for the glaze
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
- Mix eggs and honey until well combined and add to dry ingredients.
- Add cider, stirring in until dough is the consistency of muffin dough.
- Do not overmix, or dough will become tough.
- Spoon dough into an oiled doughnut pan and bake for 6-8 minutes.
- Allow doughnuts to cool.
- They should be springy and cakelike.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of cider and the powdered sugar to make the glaze, using a butter knife to lightly frost the top of the doughnuts.
- Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and serve.