Now that it's the end of September, that means I can drink apple cider all day long, right? Who am I kidding? I drink apple cider year-round. But now that the seasons are changing, it means I can share all of my apple cider and pumpkin recipes without looking like a crazy person. First off are these addicting cinnamon sugar donut holes with apple cider caramel. With no yeast, these donut holes come together in no time. Toss them in cinnamon sugar and serve with homemade apple cider caramel sauce for the perfect fall treat.
Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes with Apple Cider Caramel
Apple cider caramel
- 1 cup apple cider
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg ground
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice ground
- ⅛ teaspoon ginger ground
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry milk powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ground
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoon butter melted
- oil for frying
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Make the apple cider caramel. Bring 1 cup apple cider to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer until the cider has reduced to 2 tbsp.
- Combine reduced apple cider with ½ cup heavy cream, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup corn syrup, and 2 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and continue to cook until a candy thermometer reads 230 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon allspice, and ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger. Let cool.
- Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
- Make the batter for the donut holes. Combine 1 ½ cups flour with ¼ cup sugar, 2 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dry milk powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Beat 1 egg with ½ cup milk and add to the dry mixture along with 2 tablespoon melted butter. The batter will be thick.
- Combine 3 tablespoon sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
- Scoop about 1-2 tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove the donuts with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on a paper towel. Toss the donuts in the cinnamon sugar and repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve the donuts warm with apple cider caramel.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The first time I made apple cider caramel for apple cider caramel stuffed snickerdoodles, my life was changed. I could not for the life of me stop eating the caramel. It's like caramel took a dive into fall flavors and morphed into something incredible. So I took that caramel and incorporated it into another dessert, cinnamon sugar donut holes with apple cider caramel. I am a firm believer that one should not only have one apple cider caramel dessert.
To make the caramel, you have to first reduce apple cider. We want to make sure the caramel has a hefty amount of apple cider flavor so we're going to reduce the juice to concentrate the flavors. Simmer 1 cup apple cider until it's reduced to about 2 tbsp. It'll take some time but once the juice starts to reduce to about ¼ cup, keep a close eye on it. It can quickly burn if let on the stove a tad too long.
Combine the reduced apple cider with heavy cream, sugar, light corn syrup, and butter and bring it to a boil. Continue to heat the caramel until it reaches 230 degrees F. It's imperative to have a candy thermometer to help you know when the caramel is ready. If you cook the caramel for too long, it will start to become actual candies and not a caramel sauce.
Finish the sauce with warm spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, allspices, and ground ginger and let it cool completely. You can also make the apple cider caramel up to 1 week in advance.
Now it's time to make the donut holes. This donut hole recipe does not include yeast, making it similar to a fritter. On the plus side, the batter comes together in a matter of minutes.
Just mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add egg, milk, and melted butter, and mix until combined. The batter will be quite thick. If you don't have dry milk powder, you can simply omit it. I like adding dry milk powder to baked goods because it makes them more tender.
Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F and carefully drop dollops of the donut batter into the oil. The donuts will expand quite a bit while it's cooking so make sure not to make them too big.
Fry the donut holes until golden brown on all sides and remove them with a slotted spoon. Drain the excess oil on paper towels and toss them in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
Serve the cinnamon sugar donut holes with a healthy serving of warm apple cider caramel and get ready to loosen your belt. You can drizzle the sauce directly on top, serve it on the side or even pipe it into the donuts. Do what's easiest for you and don't hold back on the caramel! I think it's time for a third serving...
For more donut inspiration check out these chocolate tahini donuts!