Gather friends, take a bite of fall with an apple cider doughnut, and then toast an apple cider mimosa to the season.
The Food: Whole-Wheat Apple Cider Doughnuts
These apple cider doughnuts taste like the country fair, or a trip to a festive pumpkin patch, but they’re a bit more wholesome with the use of whole-wheat flour and a better frying oil. I typically use avocado, peanut, or safflower oil for frying. I recommend a thermometer and a large slotted spoon or spatula for an optimal frying process. It’s challenging to keep the oil temperature consistent, so having that thermometer really helps.
These whole-wheat apple cider doughnuts taste the very best when they are fresh from the fryer and warm, but you probably won’t have any issue with leftovers. I served these as part of this fall brunch, and they disappeared with ease.
The Gathering: A Brunch in Celebration of Fall
This brunch started with a craving, then the brainstorming, then foraging for fall leaves, setting the table, working the dough, and friends arriving with more bounty until the table was full, et voila!
The craving was for the huge, buttery biscuits from local purveyor, Wise County Biscuits. They’re a farmers market favorite and their breakfast biscuit sandwiches have always been worth the long lines. However, once I discovered they sell frozen biscuits, I felt like I never needed to leave home.
I could have the best brunch right here, especially when I have friends with a freezer full of meats and smoked brisket. With the food efforts shared, I could spend more time on what I love the most – making something sweet and styling the table, and we’d have all afternoon to enjoy it. There’d be no rush to seat the next table.
Looking back on these photos fills me with warmth. I love my dining room the most when it comes alive with friends and conversation. It’s a reminder to set aside time, to plan, and to enjoy because each season is so fleeting.
This year, in particular, has felt like a whirlwind, but taking time to look up at the trees, and at the warm hues sweeping the mountainside, has helped me to feel more grounded and present. A warm bite of an apple cider doughnut would help too. Cinnamon-sugar mindfulness at its best.
The Drink: Apple Cider Mimosas
It’s not technically a mimosa, since it’s not citrus, but this is a combination you should serve all season long. Garnish with fresh sage, rosemary, and an adorable apple cider doughnut hole, which will lightly dust the drink with cinnamon and sugar.
You Might Also Like: Fried Pancake “Horns”
When you fold gluten-free, whole-grain pancakes like sweet empanadas, fry them to give them that country fair style crispness, and then dust them with powdered sugar, you’ve taken pancakes to a whole new level. Think of these as a sweet treat teaser for your brunch. You’ll find the recipe for these in my book, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook. The pancakes featured have a Lemon Curd, Ricotta, and Blueberry filling, but you change it up for the season. Give pumpkin, mascarpone, and spice a try and report back.
The Mint ‘n Maple Corner:
A favorite tree and my special girl, Julep. The park has been so beautiful this fall, I am constantly starting skyward in awe while Julep prefers to roll, on the ground, in the leaves.
Whole Wheat Apple Cider Doughnuts
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 6 Tablespoons salted butter
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cups AP flour
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- high heat natural oil for frying (such as peanut or safflower oil)
- Bring the apple cider and cinnamon to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to about 2/3 to 1 cup, for at least 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Add the cider to a large mixing bowl with the butter, maple syrup, apple butter, vanilla, and eggs. Beat to combine.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then add this dry mixture to the wet ingredients.
- Use the dough hook to knead the dough until a smooth ball forms, adding 1/4 cup additional flour, if needed to bring the dough together. Cover the bowl and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine the sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
- Heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F.
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out rounds (and the holes) of dough using doughnut, cookie, or biscuit cutters.
- Working in batches, use a slotted metal spoon or spatula to carefully place the doughnuts into the hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until light golden brown and puffed, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain onto a paper towel-lined plate.
- Coat the warm doughnuts in cinnamon sugar. These are best eaten fresh and warm. Enjoy!