So, I’m going to jump right into complaining in this blog post. I would like to register my grievances about apple cider doughnuts. Who doesn’t look forward to these warm, cinnamony delights every autumn? I’ve been going to the same orchard since high school every fall to pick apples. It’s the most relaxed orchard in the world. It’s not touristy or crowded and they aren’t trying to sell you a million pre-packed “orchard fresh” items. You get there, you pile onto a big tractor, it drops you off in the middle of the orchard and you pick to your heart’s content in the peace and tranquility of nature. I’ve been taking the kids there since they were little. And when we are finished picking, we always stop into the tiny country store where they have a tiny bakery and we order our apple cider donuts. Walking out with a warm donut tucked into a paper bag is the best way to end a day of apple picking.
Yet still, as intoxicating as the doughnuts smell, they fall short of really delivering real apple flavor. Think about it – did the last apple cider doughnut you ate really taste like actual apple, or was it more of just a cinnamon sugar doughnut? I want more apple in my doughnut, people. And the only real reason I’m making these doughnuts now is because I made an impulse buy when I was in the kitchen store a few weeks ago – a doughnut pan. But it’s good motivation to try what I’ve been wanting to try for a long time – apple butter doughnuts. There is something about apple butter that just hits you in all the right places, and these Baked Apple Butter Doughnuts promise to deliver more apple-y goodness than you’ll know what to do with.
Let’s keep it real, though, because we all know that doughnuts are supposed to be fried. I’m sorry, it’s just the way it is. So, like oven-baked fries, these baked doughnuts are the best shot at the real thing. I’m not going to lie to you and say that these Baked Apple Butter Doughnuts taste as good as a fried doughnut. But what I will tell you honestly is that for a fraction of the fat and calories of a fried doughnut, you’re getting a moist, cakey, buttery and very apple-y pastry that’s perfect on a crisp fall morning with a hot cup of coffee. And not to worry if you don’t have a doughnut pan. You can use a muffin pan and they’ll be just as good.
And when I say a fraction of the fat and calories, I really mean it. There is no real butter or oil in this recipe. None. The only fat comes from a couple of eggs and some low fat buttermilk. And the flavor is off the charts.
Swapping apple butter in for apple cider adds lots of moisture and flavor. And this is the time of year when you can find apple butter in any major supermarket. Or, better, just make your own! The recipe is here.
Making these Baked Apple Butter Doughnuts sort of completes the apple picking lifecycle that you may be familiar with – first, you pick more apples at the orchard than you’ll ever be able to eat. Then, in an attempt to use up all of your apples after baking every type of pie, crisp and cobbler that you can think of, you decide to make a big ol’ batch of apple butter. Then, after gifting some jars to friends and spreading it onto your toast every morning for a month, it’s still staring at you every time you open the fridge. Enter these doughnuts. Problem solved. You’re welcome.
These Baked Apple Butter Doughnuts are one of the few lighter things I’ll be making during this season of indulgence, and I’ll be glad to have them when the waistline starts feeling tight later this month. I hope you’ll be glad too. Enjoy!
- 2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup apple butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a doughnut or muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk eggs together with apple butter, 1/2 cup sugar, buttermilk and brown sugar in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Batter will be sticky. Fill a doughnut or muffin pan 2/3 of the way with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes.
In a shallow bowl, mix the cinnamon and 1 cup sugar together. Allow the doughnuts to cool, then dip into the cinnamon/sugar mixture.