I live in Washington state, yet I’ve never been apple picking. Which is, basically, a total crime. Now that we have a couple of u-pick apple orchards on the western side of the mountains, I’ve put “apple picking” on my Fall 2015 bucket list. Except I hate the term “bucket list,” but in this case, I’ll use it, because I’m pretty sure we’ll be using buckets for our apples. I’ll just think of it as filling a bucket as opposed to kicking it.
You know what else I’d like to fill a bucket with? These Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts.
Full of apple flavor and warm fall spices and coated generously with cinnamon sugar, these moist and tender doughnuts are another of those happy recipes that just happens to be vegan, but you’d never know it. Win for the non-vegans and vegans alike. My guy could gobble down three in no time flat. Oh, who am I kidding – I could, too. My kid could lick the sugar off of all of them – I can’t claim I converted my picky eater with these, because they don’t have chocolate. But I sigh and digress.
If you’ve never made a baked doughnut, you’re in for a treat! This doughnut pan is a worthwhile investment – it makes making healthier doughnuts so easy. They just pop right out of the pan and sit there, cute as can be, until nosh time.
It took me awhile to get the apple flavor just right in these Vegan Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts. In fact, they started out as just plain spiced apple doughnuts, and I used applesauce. Not enough apple flavor. Then I used chunks of apple. Closer. Then I realized I needed to go full-on apple mode – boil down some cider and tart Granny Smith apples for some seriously concentrated apple flavor that leaves no doubt as to which season it is.
It takes a bit of time to cook down the apple cider and apples – about 15 minutes – plus some additional time to let the mixture cool. But then the batter comes together in a jiffy, and they bake up in about 10 minutes. So worth it.
This also actually started out as a non-vegan recipe – I used a chicken egg in place of the flax egg. But then, as I was perfecting the recipe, going through all of those eggs became a bit painful. So I swapped it for a flax egg instead, and I actually liked the result better. Why not keep it that way?!
I’m pretty excited to present these baked apple cider doughnuts to you. They might even be one for the bucket-filling list!
Vegan Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
- 1 cup apple cider
- 3/4 cup finely diced Granny Smith apple
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxmeal + 3 tablespoons water)
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch ground cloves
For the cinnamon-sugar topping:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- To a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the apple cider and apples. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2/3 cup total, about 10 minutes.
- Pour the apple mixture into a medium, heat-proof mixing bowl and add the coconut oil to help it melt. Cool until lukewarm, about 20 minutes.
- About 5 minutes before proceeding with the doughnut batter, make the flax egg and preheat the oven. To make the flax egg, mix the flaxmeal and water in a small bowl. It will need to sit for 5-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a doughnut pan by spraying with nonstick spray, an oil mister, or lightly greasing the cups with coconut oil. Set aside.
- When the apple mixture has cooled enough to proceed, add the flax egg, brown sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir again, just until combined.
- Spoon the batter into the cups of the doughnut pan, or scoop the batter into a gallon-size zipper bag, snip off the end, and pipe it into the pan. Fill the cups 2/3 full, dividing the batter evenly between all the cups.
- Bake until the tops spring back when you poke them, 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then carefully transfer the doughnuts to a wire rack. But don't walk away just yet! You'll want to dip the doughnuts in the cinnamon-sugar mix while they're still warm. Mix together the cinnamon-sugar topping by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a large zipper bag. One by one, gently place the still-warm doughnuts in the bag with the cinnamon sugar and very carefully toss the doughnut in the sugar mix until coated. Place back on the wire rack to cool completely.
- Doughnuts keep well at room temperature in a semi-airtight container for 2-3 days (I store them in a glass cookie jar).