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Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes

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Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes are a delicious 2-bite treat with a taste of Fall. Reducing the cider intensifies the flavor, and the cinnamon sugar coating adds a touch of sweet. Perfect as a snack or dessert, an appetizer for entertaining or on your tailgate spread.

overhead shot of apple cider donut holes on a white platter

I go in and out of phases with apples. When I’m in the zone I’ll eat an apple every single day. Next thing you know, I’ll go weeks without buying them.

I’ve never been a huge fan of apple cider on its own. Then last Fall I created a delicious Apple Cinnamon Rum Punch that was a hit with my friends. I had all kinds of plans to make more recipes with both apple and cider but of course, that never happened.

Fast forward to this Fall, and I’m on a mission. So I decided to start with an easy snack that would be great for a crowd, Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  • Reducing the apple cider adds such a great depth of flavor
  • These are great snacks for kids and adults alike
  • They’re baked, so they are healthier than traditional fried donuts
close up shot of finished apple cider donut holes on a white platter with apples in the background

Oh, these Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes are so good! I took a batch to April’s house for football Saturday, and by the time I left they were almost all gone.

INGREDIENT TIPS FOR BAKED APPLE CIDER DONUT HOLES

Use 100% apple cider. In the Fall you can find it in nearly every grocery store, at farmers markets or apple orchards. Yes, you could make your own. Nope, I have no plans to do that.

Simmer the apple cider for 15-20 minutes in a saucepan with Whole Cloves. This reduces the cider by half, intensifying the flavor.

Buttermilk is commonly used to add moisture, but I like to use Greek yogurt. Either one adds a slight tangy bite that complements the other flavors. I also use Unsweetened Applesauce for a little more moisture and apple flavor.

Buy Whole Nutmeg and grate it yourself. It lasts much longer than buying ground, and you get much more flavor.

PRO TIPS

Use a Pastry Bag to fill the muffin pan. I tried it with a spoon the first time and it did work, but it is much easier with the bag.

How to easily fill the pastry bag:

  • Place the bag in a tall, wide-mouthed cup. If you have a Cocktail Shaker it’s the perfect size
  • Fold the top edge of the bag over the lip of the cup
  • Pour the batter into the bag

Easy way to transfer everything from the baking pan at once

  • Place a Cooling Rack face down on top of the pan
  • Using pot holders, firmly grasp both the rack and pan at each end
  • In one motion flip pan upside down so now rack is on the bottom and put it down on the counter
  • Carefully tap the pan against the rack and then lift the pan

If you’re like me, you don’t have a Donut Hole Pan and don’t make them often enough to justify buying one. Not to worry, a Mini Muffin Pan does the trick!

close up shot of apple cider donut holes on a white platter, with one donut hole in half
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray the cavities of the mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring apple cider and 2 whole cloves to a low boil for 15-20 minutes, until reduced to 1/2 cup

Remove cloves, transfer the cider to a heat-proof container, and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

While the cider reduces, combine flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk lightly to combine.

In another large bowl add cooled cider, egg, melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, applesauce, and Greek yogurt. Mix until fully combined.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Scrape the edges of the bowl with a spatula, add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

overhead process shot: all donut hole ingredients combined, in a glass bowl

Place a piping bag into a large, wide-mouthed cup, and fold the edges of the bag over the lip of the cup. Pour half of the batter into the piping bag.

Remove the bag, and cut a small piece off the end of the bag.

Pipe the batter into the cavities of the pan

NOTE: For a whole batch I recommend using 2 pastry bags because they are hard to refill with the sticky batter

overhead process shot: piping batter into mini muffin pan

Bake the donut holes for 12-14 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for 2 minutes. Transfer donut holes from the muffin pan to the cooling rack.

process shot: finished donut holes on a cooling rack

While the donut holes bake, combine granulated sugar and ground cinnamon in a large, shallow plate. Also, melt butter in a heat-proof bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Dip each donut hole into the butter, turning to fully coat. Transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and toss to coat

overhead process shot: coating finished donut holes with cinnamon sugar mixture
SERVING, MAKE-AHEAD, AND LEFTOVERS

The only thing I recommend you do ahead is to reduce the cider. You could do that the day before and keep it in the fridge until it’s needed.

I recommend serving Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes within 1-2 days.

Keep any leftovers stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

close up shot of finished apple cider donut holes on a white platter with apples in the background
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Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes

Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes

Yield: 24 donut holes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes are a delicious 2-bite treat with a taste of Fall. Reducing the cider intensifies the flavor, and the cinnamon sugar coating adds a touch of sweet. Perfect as a snack or dessert, an appetizer for entertaining or on your tailgate spread.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CINNAMON SUGAR COATING

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the cavities of a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring apple cider and 2 whole cloves to a low boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, until reduced to 1/2 cup
  3. Remove cloves, transfer cider to a heat-proof container, and allow to cool for 15 minutes
  4. WHILE CIDER SIMMERS: In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Whisk lightly to combine
  5. In another large bowl add cooled cider, egg, melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, applesauce, and Greek yogurt. Mix until combined
  6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Scrape the edges of the bowl with a spatula, add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  7. Pour batter into a pastry bag (SEE NOTES FOR EASY INSTRUCTIONS)
  8. Pipe the batter into the cavities of the muffin pan
  9. Bake the donut holes for 12-14 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for 2 minutes. Transfer donut holes from the muffin pan to the cooling rack (SEE NOTES FOR EASY INSTRUCTIONS)
  10. WHILE DONUT HOLES BAKE: In a large, shallow plate, add granulated sugar and ground cinnamon, and stir together. Set aside.
  11. Melt butter in a heat-proof bowl
  12. Dip each donut hole into the butter, turning to fully coat. Transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and toss to coat

Notes

Use 100% apple cider. In the Fall you can find it in nearly every grocery store, at farmers markets or apple orchards.

Buy whole nutmeg and grate it yourself. It lasts much longer than buying ground, and you get much more flavor.

For a whole batch, I recommend using 2 pastry bags because they are hard to refill with the sticky batter

HOW TO EASILY FILL THE PASTRY BAG

  • Place the bag in a tall, wide-mouthed cup. If you have a Cocktail Shaker it’s the perfect size
  • Fold the top edge of the bag over the lip of the cup
  • Pour the batter into the bag

HOW TO EASILY TRANSFER DONUT HOLES FROM PAN TO COOLING RACK

  • Place a Cooling Rack face down on top of the pan
  • Using pot holders, firmly grasp both the rack and pan at each end
  • In one motion flip pan upside down so now rack is on the bottom and put it down on the counter
  • Carefully tap the pan against the rack and then lift the pan

SERVING, MAKE-AHEAD, AND LEFTOVERS

The only thing I recommend you do ahead is to reduce the cider. You could do that the day before and keep it in the fridge until it’s needed.

I recommend serving Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes within 1-2 days.

Keep any leftovers stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 59mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 1g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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