Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins

These muffins were incredibly moist, tender, and delicious. Perfect for a special autumn breakfast. 🙂 I divided the batter between standard muffin and mini-muffin pans. Mini-muffins are such a perfect after school or lunch box snack.

The recipe was adapted from The View from Great Island.com. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour and halved the amount of cinnamon-sugar topping. Amazing!

Yield: 20 standard muffins or 15 standard muffins plus 24 mini-muffins

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (or 1 cup oat flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3/4 cup applesauce or apple butter
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (corn, canola, safflower)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Topping:
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. Lightly butter muffins pans or coat with cooking oil spray. (I used standard and mini-muffin pans.)
  3. Place the rolled oats in the bowl of a food processor and process until the oats resemble flour. (Alternatively, use oat flour.)
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients together to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
  7. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 19 minutes for standard muffins or about 10 minutes for mini-muffins.
  8. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping.
  9. Let the muffins cool for about 5 to 10 minutes, then remove from the pan.
  10. Brush the muffin tops with melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat really well. If necessary, coat twice to get a good coverage.

Note: Muffins keep at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Slaw

I have made slow-cooker pulled chicken sandwiches in the past but felt like they would be improved with slaw. This version fulfilled that wish! We ate them on soft potato rolls with chips. It was a wonderful, casual dinner that we enjoyed outside on a beautiful night.

This recipe was adapted from Just Cook It! 145 Built-to-be-Easy Recipes that are Totally Delicious by Justin Chapple. I used broccoli slaw as a base for the cole slaw topping and opted to not toast the rolls. With minimal preparation required in the morning, it’s a great dish to serve after a busy day.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Pulled Chicken:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (about 8 to 10)
  • potato sandwich rolls, split, toasted if desired, for serving
  • slaw (recipe below), for serving

For the Slaw:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp celery seeds
  • 12 ounces broccoli slaw (Trader Joe’s) or Brussels sprouts or shredded cabbage
  • 1 large Ruby Frost or Granny Smith apple, cored and julienned
  • 1 very firm Anjou or Bartlett pear, cored and juilienned
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Chicken:

  1. In a slow cooker, whisk together the apple cider, ketchup, sugar, vinegar, garlic, 2 tsp coarse salt, and 1 tsp pepper.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and mix well.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours or High for 3 to 4 hours, until the chicken is very tender.
  4. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken in the sauce and then season generously with salt and pepper.

To Make the Slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and celery seeds.
  2. Using a mandoline set to 1/8″, julienne the apple and pear. Slice the Brussels sprouts lengthwise by hand, if using.
  3. Add the fruit to the mayonnaise mixture, followed by the shredded cabbage/broccoli/Brussels sprouts.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and mix.
  5. Chill until ready to serve.

To Serve:

  1. Pile the pulled chicken on soft or toasted potato buns, top with slaw, and serve.

Note: The pulled chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Apple-Cider Doughnut Cake

I had my first apple-cider doughnut this past fall at a beautiful farm on the East end of Long Island. It was freshly made, hot, and delicious. Naturally, this recipe caught my eye. It is a giant version of fabulousness- even incorporating whole wheat flour and olive oil.

This cake was magnificent. I will make it again in the fall, although I think it is truly season-less. The olive oil and applesauce made it incredibly moist as well. This recipe was adapted from A New Way to Bake, via Martha Stewart Living. I reduced the baking temperature because my Bundt pan has a dark non-stick coating. I also reduced the amount of cinnamon sugar topping. We enjoyed it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Yield: One 10-inch Bundt Cake
For the Cake:
  • room temperature unsalted butter, or melted butter, for the pan
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups natural cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 cup fresh apple cider
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream, for serving, optional

For the Topping:

  • 2 T natural cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees if using a dark pan, or 350 degrees in a standard pan, preferably on convection.
  2. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. (This step in incredibly important in a Bundt pan- make sure all of the crevices are coated.)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups sugar, cider, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; whisk until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  5. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet; let cool 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, mix together 2 T sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
  7. Invert warm cake onto rack. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar.
  8. Let cool completely before serving. Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature up to 2 days.

French Apple Cake

I’ve had baking a French Apple Cake on my bucket list for a long time. A celebratory Valentine’s Day dessert was my excuse! ❤ This version was custardy and absolutely wonderful. We ate it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream but it could also served with a dollop of softly whipped cream.

This recipe was adapted from Marie-Hélène Brunet-Lhotse, a top editor of Louis Vuitton City Guides (and a restaurant critic for the Paris edition), published in Around my French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, via Epicurious.com.

Greenspan emphasized the importance of using diverse fruit in the cake to include crisp, soft, sweet, and tart apples for the best result. I used a combination of Fuji, Granny Smith, Envy, and Opal apples. I also increased the vanilla, and substituted apple cider for the rum. Delicious!

Yield: Serves 8

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum or fresh apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • whipped cream of ice cream, for serving
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  4. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy.
  6. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend.
  7. Whisk in the rum/apple cider and vanilla.
  8. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter.
  9. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter.
  10. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s evenish.
  11. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  12. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren’t any apples stuck to it.)
  13. Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
  14. To Serve: The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène’s served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination.

Note: The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature. (The flavor may even improve with time!) The cake is too moist to cover completely; leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces.

One Year Ago:

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Four Years Ago:

Luscious Apple Pie

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This is a gold standard apple pie with a little bit of a twist. The apples’  juices in the filling are concentrated prior to baking and thickened apple cider is also added to the filling- both add a deeper flavor to the filling- making it luscious. I do have one regret- not doing a lattice top. I always do a lattice top on my apple pie… but I didn’t want to deviate from the Baking Bible!! Next time! I think it would have been okay. 😉 This recipe is from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Pie Crust For the Standard Double Crust 9-inch Pie:

  • 12 T (1 1/2 sticks/6 oz/170 g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 1 T (10.2 oz/290 g) pastry flour or bleached all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 3 g (1/2 plus teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 1.1 g (1/4 teaspoon) aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (4.5 oz/128 g) cream cheese, cold
  • 3 T (44 ml/1.5 oz/43 g) heavy cream
  • 1 T (15 ml) cider vinegar
  1. Cut the butter into small (about 1/2 inch) cubes. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it until frozen solid, at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a gallon-size reclosable freezer bag, place the flour, salt, and baking powder and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place the flour mixture in a food processor.
  4. Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Process for about 20 seconds, or until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  5. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the cubes is larger than the size of peas. (Toss with a fork to see the size better.)
  6. Remove the cover and add the cream and vinegar. Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together.
  7. Divide the dough in half (about 11 oz/312 g each). Spoon into two plastic bags. Hold either side of the bag opening and alternate using the heel of your hand and your knuckles to knead and press the mixture, from the outside of the bad, until most of the mixture holds together in one piece. Repeat for the second crust.
  8. Cut open each bag and empty the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap.
  9. Use the plastic wrap to finish kneading together the dough just until it feels slightly stretchy when pulled.
  10. Flatten each dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
  11. Remove the dough for the bottom crust from the refrigerator. If necessary, let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it is malleable enough to roll.
  12. Starting from the center and moving outward, roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick on two overlapping pieces of plastic wrap, 12 inches in diameter, or large enough to line the bottom of the pie plate and extend slightly past the edge of the rim. (I used a tapered rolling pin to prevent the edges from becoming too thin.) Two or three times during rolling, flip the dough over and lift off of the plastic wrap to prevent it from creasing the dough.
  13. Transfer the dough to the pie plate, easing it into place. If necessary, trim the edge almost even with the edge of the plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

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For the Apple Filling:

  • 2 1/2 pounds baking apples (about 6 medium/8 cups sliced/2 pounds sliced/ 907 g sliced) such as Macoun, Cortland, Jonathan, Winesap, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith (I love to use a blend of different types)
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup, firmly packed (1.9 oz/54 g) light brown Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1.8 oz/50 g) granulated sugar (can add up to an additional 1/4 cup if apples are very tart)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (can add 1/4 tsp to 3/4 tsp if using strong specialty cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml/4.3 oz/122 g) unpasteurized apple cider, unsweetened
  • 1/2 T (5 g) cornstarch (for the apple cider)
  • 2 T (1 oz/28 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp (12 g) cornstarch (for the apples)
  1.  Peel the apples and slice them in half. Use a melon baller to remove the cores and a small short knife to cut away any remaining peel. Slice the apples 1/4 inch thick. Toss them with the lemon juice.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the apple and toss to coat them with the sugar mixture. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
  3. In a small saucepan, stir together the apple cider and the 1/2 T of cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. It will become very thick. Scrape it into a small bowl, cover tightly, and set it aside.
  4. Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over a bowl to capture the liquid. The mixture will release at least 1/2 cup of liquid.
  5. Transfer this liquid to a 4+ cup microwavable measure with a spout that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add the butter and microwave for about 6 to 7 minutes until reduced to about 1/3 cup (3.1 oz/88 g). It will be syrupy and lightly caramelized. Watch carefully to prevent burning. (Alternatively, reduce the liquid in a saucepan, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Swirl but do not stir it.)
  6. Transfer the apples to a large bowl and toss them with the 1 T plus 1 tsp of cornstarch until all traces of it have disappeared.
  7. Pour the reduced syrup over the apples, tossing gently. (Do not be concerned if the syrup hardens on contact with the apples; it will dissolve during baking.)
  8. Scrape in the thickened apple cider and again toss gently to mix it in.
  9. Spoon the apples into the dough-lined pie plate.

To Complete the Pie:

  1. Moisten the border of the bottom crust by brushing it lightly with water.
  2. Roll out the dough for the top crust to a diameter of 12 inches.
  3. Place the top crust over the apple filling. Tuck the overhang under the bottom crust border and press down all around the top to seal it. Crimp the border using your forefinger and thumb or a fork, and use a small sharp knife to make 5 evenly (I tried!) spaced 2-inch slashes in the top crust, starting about 1 inch from the center and radiating toward the edge.
  4. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking to chill and relax the dough.
  5. 45 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it. Cover with non-stick aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (convection).
  6. Place a foil or silicone ring over the edge of the pie crust to protect from over browning. Set the pie on the foil-covered baking stone or sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pie.
  7. Continue baking for 20 to 35 minutes, or until juices bubble through the slashes and the apples feel tender but not mushy when a cake tester or small knife is inserted through a slash.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  9. Store at room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 4 days.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Apple Cider Barbecue Sauce

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Last summer I made North Carolina-Style pulled pork sandwiches with this apple cider barbecue sauce. I made TONS of sauce and we used the leftovers on grilled chicken thighs for the Fourth of July. They were so great that I made the barbecue sauce just for the Fourth of July chicken thighs this year! 🙂

This recipe is adapted from Martha’s American Food: A Celebration of Our Nation’s Most Treasured Dishes, from Coast to Coast by Martha Stewart. The chicken marinates in the sauce overnight. This recipe makes enough sauce to use on at least two occasions, and it keeps for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Makes 5 cups

  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  1. In a small stockpot, bring all the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.
  3. Sauce can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; let cool completely before transferring to airtight containers, and reheat over low before serving.

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