Baked Apple Cider Donuts

I remember that the only time I was able to get Apple Cider Donuts was when I would go apple picking in upstate NY. I used to look forward to that 2-hour car trip, not only for the apples, but because I knew on the 2+ – hour (thanks to the inevitable traffic) car ride home I would be enjoying some freshly made warm donuts. Nowadays, it seems like you can get Apple Cider Donuts just about anywhere. Practically every apple orchard and farm I have visited sells them. Thankfully there are two places not terribly far from me that sell them year-round and both are quite delicious. There are some other places that sell them and they are, well, to be kind, I will say not so delicious.

While the Apple Cider Donuts I have had are deep-fried, I have attempted to make my own baked Apple Cider Donuts at home and until recently haven’t been that successful. The recipes I tried usually involved reducing the apple cider and I am not sure if I wasn’t reducing it enough or what, but, they were always a fail. Recently though I came across a recipe that didn’t involve reducing the apple cider and included olive oil that produced a delicious donut that actually stayed fresh & moist for a few days – thanks to said olive oil. I wouldn’t say that these are a perfect substitution to the delicious ones I get upstate, but, they are pretty close.

If you are looking for something bite-sized so you don’t feel as guilty (granted, they are fried though!), check out these Apple Cider Fritters I posted last year.

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

  • Servings: 18-21 Donuts
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Ingredients:

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg*

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice*

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup apple cider

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Topping:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar**

2 tablespoons cinnamon**

 

*If you have apple spice, use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon & 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice and omit the nutmeg & allspice.

**If you have cinnamon sugar you can use that in place of mixing together cinnamon & sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray donut pans with baking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a second large bowl whisk together the sugar, apple cider, olive oil, applesauce, vanilla and eggs. Once well combined, add in the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Transfer the batter to the prepared donut pan, filling each cavity three-quarters full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Let the donuts cool for a few minutes in the pan and then invert onto a wire rack.

In a small bowl whisk together the sugar & cinnamon. Brush each donut with the melted butter and the sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on to the donut.

Store the donuts in an air tight container.

Recipe from Inspired By Charm

Pumpkin Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

So, what happens when you bake a cake late at night and then frost it early the next morning? You don’t take pictures! But, that’s okay. I don’t need pictures to tell you how delicious this cake is. I do have this lovely final picture though…

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With Thanksgiving this week this Pumpkin Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting is my final pumpkin dessert of the season. I can’t say it’s the best as that title goes to the Pumpkin Tiramisu I posted about last month, but, it’s definitely a close second, and I am sure would be a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table. I actually made it for a Friendsgiving celebration I had with some wonderful friends last weekend. If you’ve never had your own Friendsgiving celebration I strongly advise you to have one next year. There’s absolutely no drama and you get to spend some time with people who are just as important or in some cases more important to you than your own family!

Here are some quick notes about this cake though… Definitely go with the freshly grated nutmeg and don’t try to substitute ground ginger for the freshly grated ginger, trust me, these two things make a huge difference in the flavor. I speak from experience. Make your own buttermilk by combining vinegar (or lemon juice) and milk (for this cake, I used 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1/2 cup 2% milk to make the buttermilk.) And finally, if you’re not a fan of goat cheese go with a simple cream cheese frosting. You can never go wrong with cream cheese frosting.

So, however you’re spending your Thanksgiving I hope it’s one with delicious food, sweet desserts and great company. And remember, no matter what has happened in life there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for!

 

Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups light-brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups solid-pack pumpkin

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1/2 cup buttermilk*

*To make your own combine 1/2 tablespoon vinegar (or lemon juice) with 1/2 cup milk – I used 2%. Let stand for 5-10 minutes at room temperature. When the milk is ready it will have thickened and you will see small curdled bits.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prep two 8-inch round pans, either by spraying them with baking spray (what I did) or brush the pans with butter, line the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the parchment paper then dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

With an electric mixer (or stand mixer) beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Then beat in the pumpkin and finally the vanilla and ginger. Reduce the speed to medium and add the flour in the batches alternating with 2 batches of the buttermilk, beating until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are golden brown, the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tested comes out clean, about 30 -35 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto the racks to cool completely.

Place the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand (or board) and spread half of your desired frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second layer and evenly spread the remaining frosting over the cake.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

 

Goat Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 pound (2 – 8oz bars) cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Beat cheese until combined, then gradually add sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Día De Los Muertos Cupcakes

Happy Halloween! This year instead of a Halloween inspired treat I opted to go with a Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) one instead. So, what is Día De Los Muertos you may ask? Well, it’s a three-day Mexican holiday where one remembers and celebrates friends and family members who have died. And while pumpkins and ghosts are symbolic of Halloween, sugar skulls are the symbol associated with this holiday. These are skulls that are colorfully decorated. The biggest difference I would say between the two holidays is how one celebrates death and the other fears death. With Día De Los Muertos people set-up altars to celebrate the dead, bring food and/or beverages, among other gifts, to their loved one’s grave site. While with Halloween, children wear masks and costumes as protection and jack-o-lanterns are meant to ward off evil spirits. So, whichever you choose to celebrate, or if you are among those who did not celebrate at all, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with candy! One of the reasons I decided to go with this theme was because I was giving these cupcakes as part of a birthday gift to a friend who really likes the décor of the holiday and she’s probably a bigger pumpkin spice fan than me.

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I began these cupcakes by making the sugar skull toppers. I melted Wilton White Candy Melts and poured them into skull molds and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could set.

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The following day using an array of sparkle gel…

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I decorated the skulls to mimic sugar skulls and then placed them back in the refrigerator.

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A few days later I made the cupcakes. To make the batter I began by whisking together melted butter, oil and milk. Once that was well combined I added in brown sugar and continued whisking until it was smooth. And then finally I added in vanilla extract and eggs. In another bowl I combined the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt) and then added them to the wet ingredients. Next I folded in pumpkin puree and chocolate chips.

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I then filled Día De Los Muertos themed cupcake liners about 3/4 full and baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

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After letting them cool completely I made a cream cheese frosting to top them off.

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So the sugar skulls would pop a little I opted to stripe the inside of the decorator bag with green before adding the frosting to pipe. And there you have it… Día De Los Muertos Pumpkin Cupcakes.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup vegetable oil

5 tablespoons milk*, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

14 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree

3/4 cup chocolate chips

*I used 2%

Cupcake Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and lined a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the butter, oil and milk until smooth. Add in the brown sugar and continue mixing until smooth and finally add in the vanilla and eggs, continuing to whisk until smooth.

In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix it until smooth.

Fold in the pumpkin puree and then the chocolate chips until well combined.

Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full and bake for about 21-23 minutes, until a cake inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Ingredients for Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups Confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 cups vanilla extract

Frosting Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and mix together until smooth.

Add half of the sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla extract and continue mixing. Finally add the remaining sugar and continue mixing until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes.

Recipe from The Cake Blog

Pumpkin Tiramisu

So, here’s one of those pumpkin recipes I wanted to try that I mentioned in my Pumpkin Bread post… A Pumpkin Tiramisu. About a month or so ago I started thinking about different Pumpkin desserts, not just the typical pie or loaf bread or a variation of them but something more outside the box. Hence the Pumpkin Tiramisu. You may not think it’s not too out of the box, but, how many times have you gone to a restaurant or bakery and they had a different type of tiramisu?

I began by making a pumpkin mousse. In a large bowl I whisked together the pumpkin puree along with brown sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon & nutmeg, salt and sugar. Once that was well combined I added in mascarpone cheese and heavy cream and beat it with my hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks formed. I must say, this pumpkin mousse is delicious on its own. I actually had some leftover after assembling the tiramisu and it’s the perfect fall dessert with not as much guilt.

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Next, it was time to assemble. Prior to making the mousse I brewed coffee (I really didn’t brew it, I just made instant – I’m not a coffee drinker) and whisked in sugar and a few tablespoons of Kahlua. After letting it cool, I soaked ladyfinger cookies in it for a few seconds and arranged them on the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish. I then spread the mousse over the cookies and repeated these two steps one more time.

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And voila… I covered it with wax paper and aluminum foil and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day I shaved chocolate over it and enjoyed it!

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Pumpkin Tiramisu

Ingredients:

15-ounce can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups mascarpone chees

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups brewed coffee, cooled

2 tablespoons Kahlua*

2 7-ounce packages (about 20) dry ladyfingers

Chocolate shavings, for garnish

*Optional

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree with the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese and the heavy cream. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form. Be sure not to overbeat.

In a medium bowl combine the coffee, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the Kahlua and whisk together until the sugar dissolves. Dip half the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture and arrange them on the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish. Spread a generous amount of the pumpkin mousse over the ladyfingers. Repeat these two steps cover and refrigerate overnight. You will have some mousse leftover.

Prior to serving garnish the tiramisu with the chocolate shavings.

This recipe was slightly modified from Food & Wine

Pumpkin Bread

It’s finally Fall and you know what that means – well, it’s already in full effect – Pumpkin Spice everything! It really is amazing how many different things come in Pumpkin Spice. I actually picked up a box of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios last week while grocery shopping. I haven’t tried them yet though. And while at Target the other day I saw Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn, but, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. There has to be a line drawn somewhere… LOL!

So, in honor of Fall finally arriving I bring you my first pumpkin treat of the season… Pumpkin Bread. A simple yet delicious treat that I was quite surprised I hadn’t made before. I opted to halve the recipe and use the remaining pumpkin puree to make Pumpkin Pancakes, unfortunately they didn’t come out that great – there wasn’t much pumpkin flavor. Hopefully I’ll attempt them again before the end of the season, if not, there are some other pumpkin recipes that I can’t wait to try and share. But for now back to the… Pumpkin Bread!

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Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

3 (1 1/2) cups sugar

1 (1/2) cup vegetable oil

4 (2) eggs, lightly beaten

16 ounces (1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin

3 1/2 (1 3/4) cups flour

2 (1) teaspoons kosher salt

2 (1) teaspoons baking soda

1 (1/2) teaspoon baking powder

1 (1/2) teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 (1/2) teaspoon ground allspice

1 (1/2) teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 (1/4) teaspoon ground cloves

2/3 (1/3) cup water

*Please note the amounts in parenthesis are for 1 loaf

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9 x 5 loaf pans (I opted to use baking spray which contains butter and flour.)

Stir together the sugar and oil and then add in the eggs and pumpkin. You could also use a hand or stand mixer on the lowest setting.

In a separate bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, the flour to the ground cloves.

Blend the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture, alternating with the water.

Divide the batter among the loaf pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes and then remove from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe from Food Network

Pumpkin Spice Molasses Cookies

Here it is… Another pumpkin recipe! I have a dear friend who loves pumpkin flavored items as much – or maybe more – than I do. We actually text each other pictures of the different pumpkin items we purchase during our grocery or Target runs. Imagine if we lived closer to one another; we would probably have pumpkin flavored taste testing get-togethers for all the different things that have hit the shelves over the past couple of years. She let me know about Pumpkin Spice Milanos – if you haven’t tried them, they are a must – and I told her about Chobani’s Pumpkin Harvest Crisp flip yogurt – once again a must try for anyone who is a fan of pumpkin. So, with all this love of pumpkin it should be of no surprise that when I saw Nestle Toll House’s Pumpkin Spice Morsels in a supermarket circular I knew I had to have them. I got ahead of myself before even trying them and bought a package or two (okay, it was three.) Luckily though, those three bags will be put to good use as the morsels are good enough to eat as candy but are even better when baked into a cookie. Specifically the cookie recipe that was included right on the bag. So, in actuality I am now down to two bags. I have had these morsels for a few weeks now but waited until now to use them as I planned (and did) to send some of them to said friend.

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To make the batter for the cookies I began by creaming together butter and sugar in the bowl of my stand mixer. I then added in pumpkin, molasses, an egg and vanilla extract and continued mixing until the ingredients were blended together. In another bowl I combined flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Once the pumpkin mixture was well blended I gradually added in the flour mixture and finally stirred in the pumpkin chocolate chips. I then covered the dough and refrigerated it for at least an hour.

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Next I used a cookie scoop to scoop out the dough. I shaped the dough into a ball and then rolled it in sugar and then placed it on a parchment lined baking sheet.

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After baking them in a 350 F oven for eleven minutes, until the tops began to crack and the edges were set, I let them cool on the baking sheets and then transferred them to a wire rack so they could cool completely.

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I then packed some up to send to my pumpkin-loving friend as part of her birthday gift and of course kept a few for myself. And how do they taste? Delicious! They sort of reminded me of a gingerbread cookie, I am sure that’s due to the addition of molasses. And in case you are wondering, rolling the cookie dough in sugar prior to baking them doesn’t make them overly sweet. I was a little concerned about that while making them.

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Pumpkin Spice Molasses Cookies

  • Servings: 36 cookies
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Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree

1/4 cup molasses

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 10oz. bag Nestle Toll House Pumpkin Spice Morsels

Directions:

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat 1 cup of the sugar with the butter until creamy. Add in the pumpkin, molasses, egg and vanilla extract, continue beating until well combined. Gradually add in the flour mixture and then stir in the morsels. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease.

Use a cookie scoop (or scoop tablespoonfuls of dough) to scoop out of the dough and then shape them in a ball and roll in the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool on the cookie sheets for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Nestle

Quick & Easy Apple Tarts

Do you sometimes want an apple pie, but, you don’t really want to go through all the trouble to make one? Even if you are using a store-bought crust – I have no qualms in saying that’s usually my go-to way of “making” pie crust – it can still be a bit time and labor consuming. So, if you are ever feeling like that or you are feeling like that right now I have the remedy for you. A pair of Apple Tarts that take just about an hour to make – that includes prep and bake time – and only requires six ingredients!

To begin thaw out a puff pastry sheet for about 20-30 minutes. You don’t want it to become warm and mushy, but, you also don’t want it to be partially frozen. Once you are able to unfold it, it’s ready to be used. Slice it in half – a pizza cutter works best – and place both pieces on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

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While the puff pastry is defrosting make your apple filling. Core three apples…

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Then thinly slice them. It’s important to slice the apples as thin as possible this way they will cook (i.e. soften) during the short baking time.

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Next add in lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Let the apples sit until the puff pastry is ready to be filled.

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Once the puff pastry is ready and you have sliced it in half arrange the apples in a single line.

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Bake in a 415 F preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until the pastry has puffed and is lightly golden.

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Remove the tarts from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board to cool.

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Or, immediately cut off a piece and enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. There’s nothing like a warm apple treat with a scoop of ice cream on top of it.

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Overall these were incredibly easy to make and wonderfully delicious, but, there’s one thing I think I would change when I make these again… I’ll peel the apples this way it’ll be easier to take a bit out of them. The peel holds you back a little from taking clean bites… At least it does for me.

Baked Apple Tarts

Ingredients:

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed and cut in half

3 apples, cored and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of lemon juice (approximately juice from half a lemon)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 415 F.

While the puff pastry is thawing prepare the apple filling by coring and slicing the apples then tossing them with the lemon juice, sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Once the puff pastry has thawed slice it half and place it on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Arrange the apples on the puff pastry in a thin overlapping line.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until the pastry is lightly golden and puffed. Transfer the tarts to a cutting board or serving platter immediately.

Recipe slightly modified from The Pioneer Woman