Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Maple Bourbon Glaze

Fall is in the air and I LOVE IT!!!  The leaves are changing, the days are still warm enough that you really don’t need a jacket but you could get away with a light denim one or even long sleeves.  The evenings are cool and crisp where all you want to do is light a fire, snuggle up with your baby and be all lovey-dovey.  Saturdays are meant for college ball and Sundays are meant for Steelers games.  I can remember when I was little, we’re talking wee little Dad would pile us into the car, Mom would pack enough food for a week and we’d drive up towards Laurel Highlands and the mountains here (about an hour from Pittsburgh) right when the leaves were starting to change. We’d drive around using up almost an entire tank of gas (back when it didn’t require you to take out a 2nd mortgage to fill up your car!), hit up every backwoods country road and pretty much get lost for a day.

What I used to love about that is that Dad always made it my responsibility of which way we turned. He’d claim he was lost and that it was my job to get us out of there.  I had to decide to turn left or right at an intersection.  Often times we’d end up on a dead-end dirt road and Dad would look at me to help get us out of there.  I was scared but thrilled as well because that meant *I* was a big girl and could ‘save us’. We’d pull over in the middle of nowhere and Mom would set up a picnic table with her blue vinyl checkerboard table-cloth, paper plates, utensils and food.  It was always egg salad, pb&j for me, a bag or 2 of chips, soda, cold baked beans, potato salad and cake. I’d hurry up and eat my sammich and then go explore a bit in the woods.  Now my version of exploring is to not go too far, always keep them in my sight and no where near anything creepy or crawly.  I’d come back to the table with a folded over shirt full of pretty leaves, colored rocks and nuts from the ground. The one year I came running back to the table as fast as my chubby little legs would let me screaming “Daddy I found marbles!!!”  and as I pulled them out of my pocket he belly laughed so hard that it echoed through the mountains.  Here they weren’t marbles but um… bunny turds.  LOL shush, quit laughing!  HAHA  It kinda explained why they were kinda soft and well dirt colored.

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We’d get home all tired from our adventure and unpack. Dad would be tired and go take a nap while Mom would put the stuff away in the fridge.  I’d run to my room grab some plain paper and my ginormous gallon bucket of crayons (know those 1 gallon plastic buckets you can buy ice cream in?  Mine was FULL of crayons!). I run as fast as I could back to the kitchen table where all of my treasures were.

I’d line out all of my leaves on the table and then either try to draw them free-hand (which was never successful as I can barely draw a stick figure let alone something recognizable like an intricate leaf) or I’d lay theM under the paper and take one of my unwrapped crayons and rub it all over top of the paper making an outline.  Then I’d color it in.  Our poor fridge had 9 bajillion pictures on it. Do kids still do this?

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During our adventures we’d always stop at this one place that made homemade apple cider. While I’m not a big apple cider drinker theirs was amazing. For me Mom would heat it up and give me my own mug. But the best, BEST part of all of this was waking up the next day to have Mom & Dad make home-made donuts (deep-fried) dipped in sugar and a cup of warm apple cider. It’s funny as those were the only donuts I liked.  Any other donuts that either the stores sell or even bakeries I just never cared for.  But theirs.. there was always something special about them.

Now as I got older and trying to live a healthier life deep-fried donuts are a no-no.  Plus like I said I’m not a huge fan of them.  I will partake occasionally in a cake donut but again it’s so hard to find one that I like I don’t make it. Yeah I know, I’m a snob.
Apple Cider Donuts

Now Mr. Fantabulous is a donut SNOB!  I can remember where we used to live there was a Krispy Kreme place near it and I swear he had Spider-sense as to when that red light was on. We’d have to get in the car, drive to Krispy Kreme, get his free donut (and my free one which he ate) and then get him another dozen…for the trip home.  When we moved, that store closed down (I’m thinking because we no longer funded them!), he went without those donuts for the longest time. Sure they sell them in the grocery store but they aren’t the fresh from the oven ones that he likes.

But… when we went to our first All-Clad factory sale I spied a Krispy Kreme WITH the light on.  OMG if you would have seen his face you would have thought God came down from heaven and hugged him!  That day I bought a dozen for him ( plus the 2 free ones).  That dozen lasted 2 days.  Now I’ve been going this sale twice a year for years now and I’m easily buying him 2 dozen every trip and they last MAYBE 4 days.  MAYBE!
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So how does this story all tie to this recipe I’m sure you’re wondering?  Mr. Fantabulous had picked up some homemade apple cider and by some I mean 4 gallons.  He LOVES this stuff. I mean LOVES!  For me I tried it and yeah, it kills my stomach. It’s just too sweet. As I poured him a glass of this stuff the amazing smells hit me.  It immediately reminded me of those days when I was a kid with our day trips, that home-made cider and then them making donuts.  Then that’s when it hit me… Why not make apple cider donuts?  I mean I love the smell of it, it fits perfectly with the season and weather and I was bound and determined to make a donut that we both loved.

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Now I made a couple batches of these and while they were good, they didn’t have enough of the apple cider flavor.  It just tasted like a spice donut with a hint of apple. The trick I found was cooking down the apple cider to more of a concentrate.  By reducing it you’re left with such an intense apple cider flavor.  For the glaze I went to the TKW facebook family and asked for suggestions.  A good portion said maple and cinnamon which made sense.  But while I was making up the glaze and tasted it, it tasted too sweet.  It needed a kick.  By adding some bourbon to it, it totally balanced out the sweetness and left you with sweet warm taste.

Here’s a trick to making glazes.  I almost never use water or milk. I use heavy cream every time.  The cream keeps the glaze thicker and helps is form a great ‘crust’.

When Mr. Fantabulous came out for breakfast I had his standard 3 dippy eggs, 3 pieces of buttered toast, 3 pieces of crispy bacon, a cup of hot coffee, apple cider AND a fresh from the oven donut.  He inhaled his real breakfast and looked at the donut.  I got the ‘Hmph’ because it’s not the glazed krispy kreme.  I’m the cake donut person, not him. BUT one bite of this donut and he was HOOKED!

Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Maple Bourbon Glaze


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  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbl buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 Tbl butter, unsalted
  • 2 XL eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbl maple syrup
  • 1-2 tsp bourbon
  • 2 Tbl heavy cream
  1. Place the apple cider in a small pot and simmer over medium-low until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup. ~20-25 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat, add in the butter and stir until melted.
  3. Set aside to cool slightly. ~10 minutes
  4. Once the apple cider reduction is cool, preheat oven to 350F, rack in the middle.
  5. Spray 2 large Donut Pans .
  6. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, white and brown sugar, cinnamon, apple pie spice and salt.
  7. In another bowl combine the buttermilk and egg until blended.
  8. Slowly add in the reduced cider stirring constantly. You don’t want scrambled eggs so slowly add it in.
  9. Once combined add the wet mixture to the dry and mix with a whisk until just combined. Some small streaks of flour is ok. Do not overwork this as the donuts will be tough.
  10. Fill each Donut Pan well slightly over half-way up (closer to 3/4’s full). To make it easier put your batter in a squeeze bottle, cut the opening to a fatter hole and squeeze the batter in.
  11. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  12. Allow to rest 1 minute in the pan and then gently turn out on to a cooling rack.
  13. Cool the donuts completely before glazing.
  14. Once cooled in a bowl add the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, bourbon and cream.
  15. Whisk until thick and creamy. I let me sit just for a minute and then dip the donuts in. This way the glaze is super thick and doesn’t drip off as much.
I swear by these donut pans!!!

Donut Pan Set

Mini Donut Pan Set

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2 Responses to “Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Maple Bourbon Glaze”

  • Buffy says:

    I’m having friends for brunch on Sunday for our annual pumpkin picking and hayride and I’m thinking these should be part of the menu. Thanks!

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