Ginger Beer Apple Donuts

Tis' the season, people. No, not that one. Not yet. Thank God. It's ginger beer season.

I know this the same way I knew when it was pumpkin season. Because Trader Joe's said so.

I walked in last week and they had cases of their incredible Triple Ginger Brew on sale. And who on earth can pass that up? Definitely not me.

I love the warm spiciness of ginger, but it's especially appealing in the fall. The rest of the soccer Moms can keep their pumpkin spice lattes. I'll take a chai and a good book and just hole myself up in this corner over here until next spring. There's just one thing I'll emerge from hibernation for. These donuts.

If you've never had a homemade doughnut, you've never lived. (Yes, they should be spelled doughnut. But since we all became lazy and let Google finish our sentences for us, donut has entered into common usage. And now your recipe can't win the internet unless it's spelled donut. #firstworldproblems).

Store-bought donuts are as different from homemade ones as your kid's preschool scribbles are to a million-dollar Monet. There's just no comparison.

These doughnuts are plump with the spicy tang of ginger beer and the sweet and tart profile of two different types of apples. They are dunked in a ginger beer glaze and rolled in cinnamon sugar to create a sweet, crispy exterior and a soft, fragrant inner dough.


These donuts begin as both granny smith and honey crisp apples, boiled in ginger beer. Once you've got these fellas pretty soft and the liquid mostly boiled away, you'll want to pulse them in the food processor.

Next you'll begin mixing the dough. And like most good things in life, this dough starts with fat and sugar.

Add in the dry ingredients, alternating with the applesauce, and you'll emerge with something that resembles a sticky, spice infused bread dough.

Play a little patty cake, roll the dough out, and put it in a pan. I popped mine into the freezer for about twenty minutes just to ensure I could roll the dough into balls without risking a disastrous mess on my hands. Literally.


You can cut out the donuts with a round cookie cutter or just roll them into balls. It depends on the look you're going for. I did a few batches of each to compare, but preferred the look of the hand rolled ones. You do you.

Before you give these balls a bath in oil, I recommend preparing the ginger brew glaze.

If you'd like, you can sprinkle in extra ginger in the glaze. I know- CRAZY talk.

Heat the ginger brew up on the stove, then whisk in confectioner's sugar. That's it. Keep adding sugar until you feel good about the consistency. Trust yourself- you'll know when it's right. Somewhere between drinkable and holds a spoon upright on its own.

Once your oil reaches temperature, hold these doughy beauties to the fire. Just a few minutes ought to do the trick.


Dip in glaze, roll in cinnamon sugar, and prepare to eat half a dozen. Yeah. You're gonna need a long hike in the woods to work these off. But it'll be so worth it.

Every soft, fragrant, crispy mouthful infused with ginger and apple. WORTH it.

Enjoy friends and kick the sweetness up a notch with your own case of ginger brew. #noregrets


Ginger Beer Apple Donuts

For the donuts:

2 red apples, such as Cortland or McIntosh, cored and chopped

1 1/2 cups ginger beer

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the ginger glaze:

1 cup ginger beer

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

For the cinnamon topping:

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon


Combine the apples with 1 1/2 cups ginger beer in a saucepan over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. 

Uncover and continue cooking until the apples are tender and the ginger beer is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the applesauce into a measuring cup.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, combine 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the shortening, and beat on medium speed until sandy. 

Beat in the egg and yolk, and then gradually mix in the applesauce, scraping the bowl. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix to make a sticky dough; do not over mix.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper laid on a sheet pan turned upside down, and pat into a 7-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. To speed things up, you can also pop this in the freezer for 20 minutes. Heat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees.

Glaze: Simmer 1 cup ginger beer in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar, and set the glaze aside. 

Topping: Toss sugar with cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Cut the chilled dough into rounds, using a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Cut out the centers of the doughnuts, using a 1-inch biscuit cutter. Or simply use the small biscuit cutter to cut all doughnut holes or roll dough into small balls. Using a spider or skimmer, slip 2 or 3 doughnuts or 4 or 5 doughnut holes at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. 

Transfer to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining dough. Check the oil temperature periodically, and adjust the heat as needed.

Dip one side of each doughnut or doughnut hole in the cider glaze, letting the excess drip off. Roll the doughnuts and doughnut holes in the cinnamon sugar. Serve warm.

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