An autumn classic, this apple cider donut recipe will be your go-to every fall. They’re crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. The maple sugar and maple glaze are just the cherry on top!
In a saucepan, boil 3 cups of apple cider for 25-35 minutes, until reduced to about 1/3 cup.
Remove the apple cider from heat, and measure 1/3 cup of it out immediately. Place in a medium sized bowl. Add in the apple butter, butter milk, and maple extract. Whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
In a KitchenAid mixer, beat the sugar, brown sugar, and unsalted butter, which should be at room temperature. Add in eggs one at a time, not adding the second one until the first is fully incorporated. Once mixed, set aside.
In a separate, large mixing bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple pie spice. Set aside.
Take the apple cider mixture and add it to the sugar mixture in your KitchenAid. Beat well. Then, add in the flour mixture, starting off at a low speed so that the flour does not fly everywhere. Once the flour begins to incorporate, work up to medium and then high speed until you have a smooth dough.
Rip off a piece of wax paper, about a foot and a half long, and set it out on a clean counter. Generously flour the wax paper. Scoop the apple cider donut dough onto the wax paper and sprinkle with more flour. Once floured, wrap the dough up in the wax paper, almost like a present. Place on a plate and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
When you take the dough out of the fridge and unwrap it, it will likely be sticky. Generously flour a clean surface and scoop the dough onto the counter. Sprinkle the dough with more flour. Turn it over and do the same thing. Once the dough is dry enough that it won’t stick to a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s about ¾-1 inch thick.
Put a couple of plates nearby and sprinkle them with flour. Then, with the donut cutter, begin to cut the donuts. Combine the dough from the donut holes as you go so that they can be combined to make more dough for more donuts. As you cut the donuts, set them on the floured plates. This is very similar to making sugar cookies. Keep cutting until you don’t have enough space in the dough to cut anymore, then roll it back up, flour it again, roll it back out, and cut some more. Repeat until you don’t have any dough left.
Fill a dutch oven 3” deep with vegetable oil and put over medium to high heat (if you have a fryer, then you can of course use that instead.) Insert a cooking thermometer into the oil to measure its temperature. You want the oil to be at 360 degrees when you fry the donuts. Set a couple of plates to the side of your stove and cover them with two paper towels each.
Once the oil is heated to the right temperature, gently drop the donuts into the oil two or three at a time. Cook on one side 1 ½-2 minutes and then flip them over and cook the other side 1 ½-2 minutes. Set the hot donuts on the paper-towel lined plates. Fry all of the donuts and let them cool for about 10 minutes.
In a small mixing bowl, use a spoon to combine the sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice. As you mix the ingredients together, break up the chunks of brown sugar as small as you can. Then, use a sifter to make the sugar very fine. Shake the mixture through the sifter until nothing is left in it except chunks of brown sugar (which is to be expected.) Set aside for a moment.
In a medium mixing bowl, melt the butter (about 35 seconds in the microwave.) Then, add the powdered sugar, half and half, maple syrup, and maple extract to the bowl. Whisk together until you have a delicious glaze.
One-by-one, place the donuts in the small bowl containing the sugar and spin the donut until it is covered in sugar. Turn over and do the same thing on the other side. Place the donuts on a plate once they’re sugar coated. Last, using a spoon, drip the maple icing over the donuts. Serve right away while they’re still warm and sticky!