These Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts are soft & fluffy brioche doughnuts that are finished with a perfectly sweet-tart apple cider glaze. It's the ultimate fall doughnut!
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Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts
These apple cider glazed doughnuts are oh so soft and fluffy, and the apple cider glaze they get dipped in is just unreal. It provides a sweet yet tart flavor that is simply amazing. Whether you serve these for breakfast, brunch, or as a fall dessert, they’re truly one of fall’s greatest pleasures.
Ingredients for Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts
We’re using a pretty straightforward brioche dough for today’s doughnuts and you only need a few ingredients to begin. Here's what you'll need:
- Milk: Whole milk is a must for the most tender dough. Lower fat and nondairy milks work as well, but the doughnuts won't be as flavorful or rich.
- Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. If using an instant yeast, your rise time will be a little shorter, which means you'll be eating doughnuts even faster!
- Granulated Sugar: Sugar sweetens the doughnuts and tenderizes the dough.
- Eggs: Eggs provide structure and flavor to the dough.
- Butter: Room temperature butter makes for a rich dough and promises an enhanced flavor.
- Salt & Vanilla Bean Paste: Both of these add flavor. You could also use vanilla extract if that's all you have on hand!
- Flour: All-purpose flour is the dough’s structure. You’ll be tempted to add more and more flour as you mix the dough, but don’t! You want a soft, pillowy dough for soft, pillowy doughnuts.
- Apple Cider: For the glaze, of course. Make sure it's apple cider and not apple juice!
- Powdered Sugar: For the glaze!
- Heavy Cream: In addition to whole milk, you'll need some heavy cream for the apple cider glaze.
- Cinnamon (optional): For sprinkling on top of the glazed doughnuts.
How to Make Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts
There are two key components to these apple cider glazed doughnuts: the brioche doughnuts and the apple cider glaze (obviously).
1. The Brioche Dough
Start by adding the milk, yeast, eggs, flour, salt, vanilla bean paste, and sugar to a large bowl and stir until just combined. Then you'll knead the dough until a firm, but slightly tacky ball is formed; resist the temptation of adding too much flour! Once the dough has formed, you'll slowly add the softened butter in a little at a time, allowing each bit to incorporate before you add the next. Once all the butter is incorporated, you'll knead for another 10 minutes or so.
Once the dough is kneaded and smooth, place it in a lightly greased bowl to rise for about 60-90 minutes. Note: Instead of using warm milk to mix the dough, you can use room temperature milk and refrigerate the dough immediately after mixing. Under refrigeration, the dough continues to rise, just much more slowly. This means you can mix the dough up to 12 hours ahead, let it rise slowly overnight, and wake up ready to fry in the morning.
To shape the doughnuts, you'll roll the dough out to about ½-inch (1.2-cm) thick. Using a round pastry cutter (we used a 2½-inch circle), cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, leaving room between each one. (You will need two baking sheets.) Cut holes from the middles of the circles using a 1” pastry cutter, and ta-da! You're ready to let your doughnuts proof.
2. The Apple Cider Glaze
The apple cider glaze is the star of the show here. And you only need 3 ingredients… could this be any easier?!
The first step to making the apple cider glaze is to reduce some apple cider in a saucepan. You might be annoyed with me for requiring the extra step of boiling the cider before you make the glaze; I was annoyed myself, honestly, but trust me when I say it’s necessary and worth it. The flavor concentrates and it’ll make your home smell like fall heaven. If you try making the apple cider glaze with non-reduced apple cider, you're going to be missing out on SO much flavor.
Once you have your reduced cider, you'll simply whisk powdered sugar, heavy cream, and the cider together until smooth. A fork or mini whisk is helpful since the mixture is so small. Give it a taste and add a pinch of salt if desired. (I usually add a small pinch.) Then you're ready to dip your doughnuts into it!
Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
APPLE CIDER GLAZED DOUGHNUTS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I halve this recipe?
Yes! You can easily halve the recipe and make these small batch. You can adjust the 'servings' slider from 14 to 7 in the recipe card to get the proper measurements. Just keep the amount of yeast the same.
Can I bake these doughnuts instead of frying them?
Unfortunately, no. This recipe was developed to be fried and if you attempt to bake them, you'll end up with something closer to a hamburger bun than a doughnut. I have some baked donut recipes here though.
Can I store these doughnuts in the fridge?
I wouldn’t recommend it. The doughnuts are best at room temperature and putting them in the fridge can dry them out. I would recommend eating them on the day they're made, however, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day. Any longer than that, and they'll start to dry out and get tough.
APPLE CIDER GLAZED DOUGHNUTS: TROUBLESHOOTING
Help! My doughnuts are oily! What did I do wrong?
It sounds like your oil wasn't hot enough! Many fearful fryers set the oil temperature too low thinking that it will make frying more forgiving. Frying at too low a temperature, however, will result in greasy doughnuts with a tough crust. Next time, watch the oil’s temperature carefully as you fry and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a temperature between 350°F (175°C) and 360°F (180°C). It’s better to add doughnuts to slightly warmer-than-desired oil, as the dough will bring the oil temperature down a few degrees, than too-cool oil.
If your oil temperature was fine, then it's possible you didn't properly drain the doughnuts. Drain the doughnuts over the pot of oil for at least 10 seconds (a gentle shake will force oil off the doughnut). Move the fried doughnuts to a paper towel-lined sheet pan, where the towels will wick away leftover oil. And then finally move the drained doughnuts to a cooling rack so that they aren’t sitting in a pool of their own oil before filling them.
Help! My doughnuts are dense! What did I do wrong?
Dense doughnuts that don't puff up much when fried are the result of under-proofing. To check if your doughnuts are ready to be fried, lightly poke/prod the first doughnut you cut/rolled. If the indentation immediately bounces back and disappears, the dough isn't ready yet. If it stays, however, it's ready to be fried!
Help! My doughnuts are raw in the middle! What did I do wrong?
The most common reason your doughnuts would be raw in the middle is from frying them in oil that is too hot. When the oil is too hot, the outside cooks much quicker before the inside has a chance to catch up. I'd recommend using a thermometer to monitor your oil temperature to avoid this problem!
Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts
For the Brioche Dough:
- 250 g milk lukewarm
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 565 g all-purpose flour
- 100 g unsalted butter diced and softened
For the Apple Cider Glaze:
- 185 g apple cider (reduced to 45g-see below)
- 180 g powdered sugar
- 30 g heavy cream
For the Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts:
- canola oil for frying
- ground cinnamon for sprinkling
To Make the Brioche Doughnuts:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, mix together the milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of the granulated sugar. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, flour, salt, and vanilla bean paste and mix until the ingredients are just barely combined.
- Using the hook attachment, beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes until a soft dough forms. With the mixer running slowly, add in the butter, a piece or two at a time, working it into the dough, then knead for a further 10–15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.*
- Tip the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the dough and allow it to rise overnight (The dough is much easier to handle when thoroughly chilled.)
Frying and Assembly:
- Shape the doughnuts: Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Roll the dough out to about ½” (1.2cm) thick. Using a round pastry cutter (we used a 2½” circle), cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, leaving room between each one. (You will need two baking sheets.) Cut holes from the middles of the circles using a 1” pastry cutter. Place the doughnut holes on the sheet to proof alongside the doughnuts. Cut the remainder of the dough into doughnut holes (you can re-roll and cut additional doughnuts if you want, but they will not be as neat). Then cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap.
- Allow the doughnuts to proof for 20 minutes (this will take longer if your dough is cold but just check after 20 minutes to see how they are doing). When you poke them lightly with your finger, it should leave a small indentation.
- While the doughnuts are proofing, heat the canola oil to 350°F (180°C) in a deep fryer or a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels for draining the doughnuts.
- Fry the doughnuts: Once the oil has come to temperature, gently lower the doughnuts (no more than 2-3 at a time) into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on the underside, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn the doughnuts over and fry for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the other side is golden brown as well. Using a slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to remove any excess oil, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts.
To Make the Apple Cider Glaze:
- Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over medium heat until you’re left with about 3-4 tbsp (~45g). Start checking at 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, reduced apple cider, and heavy cream until fully combined. If the glaze is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar; if it's too thick, add more cream (or apple cider). Dip each donut into the glaze and set (glaze-side up) on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle ground cinnamon on top of each donut.