Whole Wheat Baked Apple Cider Donuts

I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life, and somehow, until last week, I had yet to come across an apple cider donut.  We were finishing up an afternoon of apple picking at a local orchard when I noticed a sign for fresh apple cider donuts over the concession stand door.  A quick look around at all of the people eating donuts was proof enough that I needed to try one.  Not only were these donuts fresh and full of apple flavor, but they were also served warm, with lots of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.  Pure heaven.  After eating a dozen or more of these apple delights (split among the six of us, mind you), it was decided that apple cider donuts should have a place on our fall breakfast menu.  

As much as I loved the donuts at the orchard, I wanted my version to be healthier.  So, I baked the donuts instead of frying them and included Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (protein and fiber) and Hodgson Mill Milled Flax Seed (Omega-3 essential fatty acids) in the batter.  The best part is that each whole grain bite tastes just like an indulgent donut, but with a little stealth health hidden inside. 

Dipping the baked donuts in a mixture of browned butter and apple cider adds extra flavor and gives the cinnamon sugar something more to cling to – an optional step, but one I highly recommend.   

The apple orchard closed for the season, but our fond memories remain, and so do the donuts.  Whole Wheat Baked Apple Cider Donuts is my healthier version of the donuts we had that day and they taste every bit as good.  A donut pan is necessary to create the proper shape with this recipe, but a muffin pan will work well as a substitute.  Even minus the hole in the middle, Whole Wheat Baked Apple Cider Donuts are a delicious addition to any fall breakfast- especially when served warm from the oven with plenty of cinnamon sugar.  Enjoy!



In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over medium-high heat until browned.  Immediately transfer browned butter to a small bowl and set aside.

Place the flour, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk well and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons brown butter, egg, vanilla, and buttermilk.  Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.  Fold in the apple.  Grease two, six portion donut pans or a 12-cup muffin pan with two tablespoons of browned butter.  Divide the batter evenly among the pans of choice and bake in a 400°F oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  A longer cooking time will be necessary for muffins.  Set aside to cool for five minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining four tablespoons of brown butter with the apple cider.  Set aside.  In another small bowl, whisk together two teaspoons cinnamon and granulated sugar.  Set aside.

Once the donuts are cool enough to touch, remove them from the pan and immediately dip in the brown butter mixture and then coat in cinnamon sugar.  Serve warm.  Donuts are best eaten the day they’re made but can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. 

Makes 12 donuts

Donuts adapted from Joy the Baker

You can find Whole Wheat Baked Apple Cider Donuts and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.