It’s no lie that Portland is a donut town. We are completely spoiled with choices of where we can get our donut fix- Voodoo, Pip’s Original, Blue Star, Tonalli’s, Heavenly’s, and my personal favorite, Coco Donuts. As a child, going to the donut shop was one of those few and far between special occasions, but it was usually always a sweet-treat breakfast substitute and consisted of a dozen glazed donut holes (my absolute favorite) and a small carton of milk. Second choice was a maple bar. And every now and then, chocolate sprinkles. I’d have to say those were my top three donuts to turn to. Now? Holy cow. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would land in a town so spoiled with donut choices. There are even rosewater and lavender glazed donuts, Himalayan sea salt with chocolate hazelnut drizzle, blueberry basil bourbon…you could eat donuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner (I’ve tried it once before… key word = once). It’s kind of like you have to love donuts in order to live here. If you don’t, something is wrong with you.
My first ever Portland donut five years ago was Voodoo, of course. I remember ordering the Ole Dirty Bastard (chocolate peanut butter glaze topped with Oreo’s) and a PB stuffed jelly donut late one night. And it wasn’t the original downtown location–the line was all the way around the block, at 11 o’clock at night. So we went to the Sandy Blvd location which had 1/3 of the wait. And I finally figured out what all the hype was about. It wasn’t until I moved here that I finally appreciated the full spectrum of donutry… if that isn’t a word, I just made it one. I think I fully converted to donutism (you know, like a donut religion sort of thing) last Fall when my sweetie and I did a late night run to Voodoo due to a random donut craving (incase you didn’t know, Voodoo is open 24 hours a day. Dangerous. Very, very dangerous). We filled an entire pink box full of donuts when he said, “we need to start watching Twin Peaks”. We went home and immediately dove into the premiere episode. Little did I know, our donut dessert was the perfect sugar inauguration to begin my addiction to the series.
Around last Fall, making homemade baked donuts became really popular. Everyone had a donut pan. Bloggers were turning into magical donut-making geniuses. The possibilities were/are endless. It’s as satisfying as frosting a cake, yet 95% easier and quicker. Seriously, these are in and out of the oven in less than 10 minutes. So far I have made a pumpkin spice and chocolate chai version (in addition to these), and every time I make them, they get gobbled up in less than a day or two, because they are out-of-this-world good. It’s my somewhat healthier too lazy to go to the donut shop substitute.
I don’t think I have ever had a genuine, fried apple cider donut in my life, so I decided to try to create what I thought one would taste like. But with added whiskey, of course. You may already know I am a fan of Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey, I have used it in so many recipes, and I bake with it more than I drink it. It’s such an amazing baking liquor. And I didn’t skimp on it in this instance, either. Why is it that apples, cinnamon, ginger, maple and whiskey are the quintessential flavors of Fall? They just are. It’s a rule. If apples are involved, sweet and spicy whiskey better be too. It’s a logical equation. Next time I would love to try a simple cinnamon sugar coat on these, but the maple-whiskey glaze was ridiculous. It set very nicely also.
Until next time, I will be dreaming of new baked donut ideas… enjoy!
- For the Dough:
- 1¼ cups spiced apple cider
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla soy or almond milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup applesauce
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Maple-Whiskey Glaze:
- 1½ cups plus 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons maple-flavored whiskey
- 1 teaspoon Canadian maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
- Simmer the apple cider over medium-high heat in a small saucepan on the stove for 20-25 minutes. This is to reduce the apple cider so you get a strong apple cider flavor; you will need ½ cup total cider reduction. Allow the reduction to cool as you prepare the other ingredients.
- Combine the apple cider vinegar and the soy or almond milk in a measuring cup so that it equals ½ cup liquid. Set aside and allow to curdle to make "buttermilk".
- Preheat oven to 350º f. Spray your donut pan(s) with nonstick spray. Set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, applesauce, oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the "buttermilk", vanilla extract, and ½ cup of reduced apple cider.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and very gently mix together with a whisk. Be careful not to over mix, otherwise you will get a tough donut. Whisk until just combined. A few small lumps are ok.
- Pour the batter into the donut pans, filling ½ of the way full. My first batch filled up a 6-donut regular sized pan and a dozen in the mini pan. Then I baked 6 more in the regular sized pan because I ended up with more batter than I expected (yay!). Bake the donuts about 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes in the pan a few minutes then remove the donuts from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the icing, simply whisk together the powdered sugar, whiskey, maple syrup and heavy cream until you get a somewhat runny but almost-set drizzle. You may need to add more or less of the sugar and cream to thin or thicken. These ratios seemed to work perfectly well but weather and temperature can change the consistency a bit.
- To assemble, dip each donut into the glaze, twisting and turning to cover the top half of the donut. You may need to let the icing drip off into the bowl for a few seconds before you set it to rest. I let mine set on a wire rack with parchment paper underneath to catch the extra icing drips.