The way we see it, if you drive out to an orchard and spend a wholesome afternoon picking apples, you've earned a doughnut at the end of the day. Besides apple cider doughnuts are as seasonal as the apples they're made from, so you should get them while you can - unless, of course, you make them yourself!
Our favorite cider donuts are dense, cake-y rounds that melt on our tongues. They're tangy and just slightly sweet, with an underlying caramel flavor.
Most of the recipes we found get that ephemeral apple flavor by boiling down cider until it's a concentrated syrup. Not only does this intensify the flavor, but it allows other liquids to come into the mix - like buttermilk, which helps get that tender crumb! Some recipes also add a little apple butter to the batter for some extra apple-y flavor and darker color.
Topping is a matter of personal preference, of course. We like them rolled in cinnamon and sugar like the doughnuts in the picture above. If you can find them super, hot-out-of-the-oil fresh, then try them plain. That's where the apple flavor really shines, we think.
• Apple Cider Donuts from the Washington Post
• Cider Donut Bread Pudding from Edible Boston - if you happen to find yourself with some leftover donuts! (Scroll to the bottom of the page)
Are you a fan of cider doughnuts?
Related: Waste Not! Five Ways to Use Mealy Apples
(Image: Flickr member Ann Gordon licensed under Creative Commons)