Citizens, we are rapidly approaching the beginning of Autumn, and nothing screams Fall to me more than the availability of fresh apple cider, straight from the press!
In New England, cider has been enjoyed for centuries – these are a unique regional treat and are by no means difficult to make!
Cider doughnuts are a harvest tradition in autumn in the northeastern United States and are sometimes sold at cider mills. They are often paired with apple cider, and may be covered with cinnamon and/or granulated sugar. They are “cake doughnuts” and get their flavor from cinnamon, nutmeg and apple cider used in the batter.
As noted on smithsonianmag.com:
I don’t know exactly when cider donuts were invented, but they seem to have made their commercial debut in the United States in the 1950s. Using ProQuest, I found the following in a New York Times article from August 19, 1951:
A new type of product, the Sweet Cider Doughnut will be introduced by the Doughnut Corporation of America in its twenty-third annual campaign this fall to increase doughnut sales. The new item is a spicy round cake that is expected to have a natural fall appeal.
According to the 2008 book “Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut,” by Paul R. Mullins, the Doughnut Corporation of America (DCA) was founded in the 1920s by a Russian immigrant named Adolph Levitt who was quite the entrepreneur. He launched a chain of doughnut shops, developed a doughnut-making machine and a standardized a mix of ingredients to sell to other bakeries, and came up with National Donut Month and a host of other marketing gimmicks.
By the way, Levitt’s DCA no longer exists (it was bought out by Lyons in the 1970s), but its name does: In what Saveur magazine calls “a stroke of pure genius,” the brothers behind a small Seattle business called Top Pot Doughnuts bought the DCA trademark. Make that a “formerly small” business; Top Pot now sells its donuts in many Starbucks nationwide. Sadly—or perhaps happily for my arteries—their product line doesn’t include cider donuts.
Citizens, my version of these classic donuts is based closely on a seminal recipe from Yankee Magazine, but I have adjusted it to my taste, using vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract, adding cardamom and the use of the milder Ceylon cinnamon instead of the normal “regular” cinnamon. Since Ceylon cinnamon is known to lower blood sugar, it seems an appropriate addition to this sugary and autumnal treat!
Battle on – The Genralissimo