The cinnamon sugar melted against my tongue as I bit into the crisp exterior. The inside was reminiscent of an old fashioned buttermilk donut with the faintest hint of apple-y goodness.
That was the beginning of a love affair with cider donuts.
Fast forward to this fall. At the point that my beloved donuts were available, I had realized my sensitivity to dairy was pretty severe. I knew I would have to end things, but my heart would pang as we drove near the market. Something had to be done.
Today, I think I have not only replicated the recipe - I may have even improved it.
The kids occasionally ask for the frozen gluten-free donuts at the grocery store, but they're a tad expensive and a tad... not great.
After my first batch of donuts, I can safely say that I will never, ever buy them again! They were remarkably easy and taste amazing warm. I think you'll find that it's worth the bit of effort involved in making them from scratch.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Apple Cider Donuts
(pictured with maple glaze)
1 cup apple cider*
1 cinnamon stick
a few grates of fresh nutmeg
(*Sam's has honeycrisp cider - which, of course, is what I used!)
1/4 cup of soy-free earth balance
1 cup sugar
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 cup original almond milk
4 cups Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix / Flour (plus enough for dusting)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of ground allspice
dash of ground cloves
a few grates of fresh nutmeg
neutral oil for frying
Simmer the apple cider and spices until reduced by half. Your house will smell amazing now.
Mix together all the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a mixer, cream together the earth balance and sugar, then add eggs.
Slowly pour in the reduced spiced cider, apple cider vinegar, and almond milk.
Add a the dry ingredients about a cup at a time until incorporated.
The final batter will be very sticky.
A silpat-lined baking sheet dusted with flour will make your life easier.
Pat or roll out the dough to about a 3/4" thickness.
Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator, if possible, for a half hour.
Cut to desired shape, roll, cut, roll, cut until all the bits and pieces are used.
Bring an inch of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan up to about 350°
(that candy thermometer helps here)
Carefully lower 4-5 donuts into the hot oil, flipping once they are GBD*
*golden brown delicious ™Alton Brown
Remove to a cooling rack and let cool until you can handle them.
Top any way your heart desires. I made a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice since I had them out from the recipe. We rolled donut holes in that and they were delicious.
But, when I think of donuts - and I mean good donuts - I think maple bars. They're not popular in my area, and I didn't even taste a maple bar until well into my twenties.
But, they are, in my opinion, the best donut on earth.
And what could be more delicious than apples and maple together?
bacon and maple
Maybe next time.
I threw together a quick maple glaze for the rest.
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp karo light syrup
1 tsp maple extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
Add enough hot water to reach a pourable fondant consistency and you're done.
Whisk to be sure you have all those lumps out!
Dip. Drizzle. Devour