Bear Makes Brunch: Apple Cider Doughnuts

As the holiday season continues and the weather outside becomes slightly more frightful, Bear has burrowed deeper and deeper into hibernation. Only a few things could convince him out from under the massive pile of blankets and these apple cider doughnuts are one of those things! Originally made for dessert at Thanksgiving dinner, these doughnuts are super easy to whip up, which saves you the trouble of ever going outside again.

As many of you Brunch with Bearees are already aware, dairy-free doughnuts are not easy to come by, even in the ever-growing market of vegan bakeries. The occasions on which I eat doughnuts are usually the occasions in which I make them with my dad. A doughnut is not only a treat in itself, but also a novelty to me, and therefore I always love the challenge and the chance to make them!

Although Brunch with Bear is not a vegan blog, one of our Brunch with Bear team members found this simple recipe for vegan apple cider doughnuts on My Darling Vegan while searching for dairy-free desserts. Previously friends and family members have told us how difficult it is to make things without dairy—no butter? no cheese? no milk?—because substituting ingredients always requires something strange, like soymilk or unicorn hair. Luckily this recipe uses ingredients that can be easily found in many households, and if you do have to buy something, it is likely that you’ll use that ingredient again!

apple cider doughnuts (ingredients)

The recipe from My Darling Vegan is as follows:

“For the doughnuts:
1 cup all purpose flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ cup apple cider
¼ cup apple sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoon apple cider

For the cinnamon sugar topping:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

“Preheat the oven to 350º F. Generously grease a doughnut pan and set aside. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together maple syrup, apple cider, apple sauce, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Spoon or pipe batter into the prepared doughnut pan, filling each mold about ¾ full. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until doughnuts springs back when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for a few minutes before transferring doughnuts onto a cooling rack to cool completely. To make glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and apple cider in a small shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients for cinnamon sugar topping. Once doughnuts have cooled, dip the tops of each doughnut into the glaze. Immediately sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Let glaze harden and enjoy!”

apple cider doughnuts (dry ingredients)

As promised, all of these ingredients are easy to find, and easy to repurpose for other recipes or just as snacks—applesauce, anyone?—so it should be pretty simple to pull it all together. As with most recipes, we combine all the dry ingredients first. It is best to sift the flour if you can, but if not, just try to loosen up the clumps with a fork.

apple cider doughnuts (wet ingredients)

In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together very well. The wet ingredients may look a little greasy when you combine them, but try to make a uniform solution.

apple cider doughnuts (mixing ingredients)

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, as the recipe states, mix them until they are just combined. Once the mixture seems dough-y and uniform, stop mixing, because the density of the dough is what gives us that cake doughnut texture, rather than just an odd shaped cupcake.

apple cider doughnuts (dough)

For the doughnut pans, we did not have any true doughnut cake pans on hand for this particular Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, we used idli pans from my friend’s kitchen, which were round and about the right shape. Idli is a kind of cake, made mostly of rice and lentils, that is traditional to South Indian cuisine.

apple cider doughnuts (pans)

The shape and size is similar to a madeleine, if you don’t have a doughnut pan, we suggest experimenting with an idli pan, a madeleine mold, or even a muffin tin if you feel confident about monitoring the heat. Because the idli pans were stainless steel, we adjusted the cooking time quite a bit. Just keep poking them until the knife comes clean!

apple cider doughnuts (cinnamon sugar)

For the cinnamon sugar topping, simply combine sugar and cinnamon, while the glaze is a sugar and cider mix. In fact, this entire recipe is mostly sugar, but that’s part of the appeal of doughnuts in the first place, is it not? The doughnuts themselves were spongy and soft, and tossed easily in glaze and cinnamon sugar. They were a two-bite treat (or a one chomp treat, if you’re a Bear) and were gone within minutes of serving them!

apple cider doughnuts (doughnuts)

In a season of slush and snow, feel free to hide and hibernate indoors with these delicious cinnamon sugar and apple cider morsels. Although they are great to share with friends, we won’t say anything if you choose to hoard them all to yourself, with the company a quality movie and a mug of hot cider!