baking · Easy recipe · Fall

Cider Donuts

When I was a child, we would make trips to a cider mill near us. The highlight for me was getting to enjoy a doughnut and a little cup of cider while there. Maybe this is where my love for a cake doughnuts began. Oh my! It was such a treat! I recently made a Cider Donut recipe that took me back to that childhood memory!

These Cider Donuts from Sally’s Baking Addiction have a lovely apple flavor that is enhanced by the addition of the cider, of course, but also the apple pie spices in the dough and in the sugar topping. These are baked, so they’re more healthy than the fried versions. Okay, the butter they’re dipped in might add some calories and fat, but every fall needs an occasional treat, right?!

Here’s the simple recipe with my additional notes and improvisions.

Apple Cider Donuts – These make about 18

  • 1 and 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over low heat until you’re left with about 1/2 cup. Start checking at every five minutes, etc until you have 1/2 cup. (Mine took about 30 minutes.) If there are any spices or solids on top of your reduced apple cider, leave them. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  3. Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the dry ingredients, add the reduced apple cider, and whisk everything together until smooth and combined. Batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Spoon the batter into the donut pan—I highly used a large zipped-top bag and cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and piped the batter into each donut cup, filling about halfway.
  6. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned. To test, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut bounces back, they’re done. Cool donuts for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Re-grease the pan and bake the remaining donut batter.
  7. Coat the donuts: Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice together in a medium bowl. Once cool enough to handle, dunk both sides of each donut in the melted butter, then generously in the apple spice topping.
  8. Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I only baked up one dozen, then put the bag with the batter into the fridge overnight. The next day I baked off the next pan of six, and they did great! Then I froze them uncoated. A couple days later I pulled them out and dipped them in the butter and sugar coating. Yum! This was a great way to have a homemade donut at a moment’s notice!

If you don’t have apple pie spice (like me!), you can mix up your own using this recipe:

  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom – I didn’t have this and left it out. It was still great!

All these need is a cold glass of milk, a cup of coffee…or of course a glass of cider to make the perfect fall treat!

If you’re a cake donut fan, you’re going to love these!

Some other donut suggestions – Have you tried these light donuts I posted a while back? Also if you don’t have a donut pan, you could bake up these muffins that have a very similar taste as the Cider donuts!

Charcuterie Boards · Fall · picnic food · The Scenic Route

Charcuterie Board Meets Scenic Route

These fall days will pass quickly and we’ll be experiencing cold weather that will push us indoors faster than garlic burns! Therefore, we are trying to enjoy these gorgeous days by taking some drives on the Scenic Route!

We met some dear friends up on a mountain last weekend and my husband and his buddy Rick decided we’d have a charcuterie snack board! You see, these two hike together and it’s become Rick’s new creation to use his bandanna as his “charcuterie board!” Dale has also become quite a good hand at creating great spreads on a board!

I keep a tablecloth in my picnic basket so when we want to eat a meal out somewhere, I already have a cover for the table.

Dale gathered the items he wanted to take and I helped with the presentation. I brought along one of my cutting boards and some cute napkins. I found those cute autumn favor cups at The Dollar Tree. I was impressed at how sturdy they are! They were perfect for the candy, pretzels and apple slices. The other additions to our board were a couple candy bars and muffins.

I failed to get a picture of Rick’s board, but he brought carrots, almonds, beef jerky, cookies, and cheese and as I said, he spreads his treats on a bandannas. His wise wife has purchased new bandannas strictly to use for his hiking charcuterie boards!

It was so much fun to sit at the picnic table and nibble off of the goods on the boards as we chatted and enjoyed the gorgeous views!

The Scenic Route is full of fun adventures and this kind of picnic was easy to pull together and fun to enjoy! The possibilities are endless. Consider:

  • Grapes
  • Cheeses
  • Chips & Salsa
  • Lunch meats
  • Crusty bread and Olive oil for dipping
  • Veggies
  • Hummus
  • Crackers
  • Olives
  • Nuts

Why not pack up goodies for a Scenic Route picnic and enjoy a charcuterie lunch or snack on the road? Make a special fall memory before the snow flies.

Refresh your picnics with something fun!

Fall · seasonal decor

Cozy Fall Decor for All the Senses

After reading The Cozy Minimalist Book a few years back, I have taken a whole different approach to decorating for fall. I have only a few “fall only” pieces in my home. Now I try to use real leaves, real pumpkins, and things from my yard. I pull out my fall-colored dishes and candles. I attempt to incorporate all five senses to find fall touches all through my home. Let me give you a few glimpses of what I mean.

In my kitchen I have a cookbook on a book stand, opened to a fall cake. The pumpkin plate on the stove is one of the few pieces I mentioned. I’ll use it September – November as my spoon rest as I cook.

The lazy Susan on my island holds a candle that I try to keep lit. It is a Wood wick that crackles. It gives a great aroma of fall scents, but also the sense that a fire is crackling somewhere. The tiered stand has a couple snack plates and a fall leaf spreader on one side.

The other side holds an orange Fiesta cup used as my salt pillar, a succulent and a couple pumpkin napkin holders.

My Southern Living Magazine is opened to a page of fall scenery and a tall pillar candle rests on top. Here there are both fall visuals and scents.

For the mantle I put branches from trees in the backyard into a white pitcher. They last a long time in water! I like it so much better than a stem of fake leaves!

Twinkly lights in a bowl filled with moss balls and wooden decorative balls add a little more sparkle and warm glow in the living room.

Cozy layers rest on my leather ottoman in our family room. Leaves from my yard are my florals and a magazine picturing a yummy stew is there on the tray.

Dried leaves and wheat stalks are in a tall vase on the armoire. I love those turquoise candle sticks in the brass holders. I learned that you should always burn the wicks of your candles. A little drippy wax down the side of the candle adds to the coziness.

Another fall picture is on display and ready for reading in the comfy chair.

One thing you can’t see is my Alexa that plays the Autumn playlist I’ve made up. It has songs like, Autumn Leaves and songs from Little Women. Cozy music is so-o-o inviting!

It’s all the little appeals to the five senses that make a house feel like fall is slipping inside. I have also added my fuzzy pillow slipcovers and some soft throws on the couches. Yep, it feels, looks, smells and even sounds like fall in my house.

Do you consider all five senses when you decorate for the seasons? What else do you add?

Refresh the senses for fall!

baking · Comfort Food · Fall

Link to Favorite Fall Foods

Would someone explain to me why when fall rolls around I get this insatiable desire to bake everything delicious? The temps drop, and I seriously want to make Cinnamon Rolls, Apple Cake, Donuts, Muffins of every sort, and a whole assortment of cookies! I need to join a support group.

If you’re like me, then I’m going to help you. I wrote a post last year about my Roll Call of Favorite Fall Foods. I recently added a BUNCH more of my favorite recipes to that post! To make it easy to find, I have added a “Seasonal Foods” category to my recipe index. Scroll down below 30-minute recipes and you’ll find Fall Favorites there.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

This is an example of one recipe in my line-up of fall favorites – I’m pretty sure I post this recipe for Pumpkin Crunch Cake every year, but it’s with good reason! It’s the BEST pumpkin recipe I’ve ever made. Everyone loves this cake and it’s so easy it’s crazy!

The list of fall foods is complete with main dishes, breads, soups, all my favorite pumpkin recipes and more! I hope you’ll avail yourself to my list and cook and bake up a storm this fall!

Who else gets the urge to bake when it turns cool outside?

With love from my country kitchen,

entertaining · Fall · Outside decor

Outdoor Decor For Fall

Happy Fall, Y’all!

We love being outside when we’re home. For that reason, I wanted to add some nice fall decor to enjoy out there. I’m not finished yet, but here is where we are so far.

I can’t wait to build a fire and have friends/family sitting with us around it!
This swing is my favorite piece of outdoor furniture! Who doesn’t love to swing? But it also lays down flat, creating the perfect place for a nap!
Blankets are ready for cool nights.
Here’s a peek at the front with my GIANT mum that has come back for several years now.

I look forward to entertaining outdoors this fall. Fires in the fire pit on cool evenings are just so cozy and inviting. I’m praying about planning an event so we can invite our neighbors over.

A simple menu of

  • Hot dogs
  • Donuts
  • Cider
  • Marshmallows to roast

would be so easy to pull together! What could you do simply that would pull people into your backyard or home? Popcorn? Pizza? Donuts from Dunkin or these easy homemade ones? Pray about it, then put it on your calendar! Use it to encourage others, pray for the hurting and be a blessing to your own family.

From my cozy backyard,