Makes 10 servings
Apple cider donuts are a fall staple, best enjoyed at a farm stand on a crisp morning. For a taste of the orchard at home, this bread is inspired by the original, with the addition of sticky-sweet caramel. No frying needed! The bulk of the recipe can be finished a day ahead, for an easy hot-from-the-oven treat the next morning.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, yeast, granulated sugar, and salt. Add the cider, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and milk, and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Meanwhile, liberally butter a bundt or tube pan; set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the apple chips in the bowl of a small food processor, and pulse until finely ground. Sift through a fine mesh strainer (you should have about 1/4 cup ground), and combine with the cinnamon and brown sugar and a medium-sized bowl.
- Place the remaining 1 cup of melted butter in a separate bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto floured surface and gently pat into an 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 64 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls in melted butter, and roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer the balls in the prepared pan. Don’t worry about precision or fitting each piece in tightly.
- Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and rest in a warm place until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from the top of pan, about an hour. Alternately, you can refrigerate the dough overnight and bake from the refrigerator.
- Remove the plastic and bake until top is golden brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges, about 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out on a plate and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.