Is there anything more Fall than apple picking?
Maybe that fundamental moment of coming home and realizing that a 1/2 bushel is in fact a lot of apples, and digging in to make some spectacular dishes with that incredible autumn bounty. This year, we put our apple harvest to work making some pretty killer AIP apple cider doughnuts, mulled cider, and a simple instant pot apple butter.
There’s something special about heading up into the mountains for the day and experiencing the incredible valley views and crisp air. It instantly transports us to a place that more closely resembles Autumn than our 100 degree Southern California weather could possibly conjure.
Last weekend we set out for our yearly apple picking excursion in Oak Glen (about 2 hours east of Los Angeles) and decided to skip our usual Riley’s trip to explore some of the lesser visited orchards and it paid off! The pumpkins weren’t quite ready, so you can bet we’ll be back for a second round later in the season.
Here are our three fave stops on the ‘Get into Fall’ Oak Glen tour.
Snow-Line Orchard – Pick your own raspberries, taste and buy apples, house-made hard cider tasting room, multiple varieties of fresh pressed cider (cherry cider!), jams, salsas, tzotchkes, and more, plus some serious gluten-full cider donuts for those who can eat them!
(For those who can’t, read on for our recipe!)
Stone Pantry Orchard – Pick your own apples and pears, fresh pressed cider, and other fun things!
Los Rios Rancho – Oak Glen Hard Cider Co. tasting, farm shop, picnicking, orchard hay rides, and paleo friendly BBQ
Oak Glen Pro Tip: Be sure to drive one way in and the other out. It’s a beautiful loop you’ll miss if you go the way you came!
Okay, on to the good stuff… the doughnuts.
[Side note – is it doughnuts? Or donuts? We went down a research rabbit hole and found that doughnut was the favored term until dunkin’ donuts launched. It appears that social media solidified our love for the new spelling, so it’s here to stay. So, if you prefer… ‘Apple Cider Donuts’, recipe below!]
Is there anything better than a freshly made doughnut? We think not.
These AIP friendly, Paleo Apple Cider Doughnuts (or Donuts, if you prefer!) feature fresh apples, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar– making them a perfect way to enjoy farm fresh apples… or an easy recipe to enjoy year-round when you’re craving a taste of Fall.
This recipe includes cassava flour, a green plantain, and coconut flour, and gelatin, all of which have proved indispensable in our AIP baking adventures. As with all recipes including these ingredients, proper mixing and long hydration is key! So be sure to allow time for your batter to sit and fully hydrate before portioning and baking.
These also freeze incredibly well, so we recommend making a few more than you think you need… just leave off the topping and see below for tips on doubling, freezing, etc.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Makes 6 full size doughnuts or 24 minis
2-1/2 cups flaked coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 green plantain, peeled and sliced
1 medium-large apple or 2 small
1/3 cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
1/3 cup apple cider (fresh is best!)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup cassava flour (we use Otto’s)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin dissolved in 1 tablespoon water (we use Vital Proteins)
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons apple cider
2 tablespoons cocoa butter
1/4 cup maple sugar or coconut sugar powdered in a food processor
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a medium-sized (6) doughnut pan or mini (12) doughnut pan with some coconut oil.
In a food processor, process the coconut flakes with the coconut oil until it turns into a course coconut butter.
Add the plantain and process until very smooth.
Add the apple(s) and process until smooth.
Add the sugar and apple cider and process again until very smooth.
Make the gelatin egg: Whisk the gelatin mixture into the hot water until frothy. Add to the food processor and mix again until smooth.
Add the baking soda, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, salt, cassava flour, and coconut flour, and process until smooth and mixed.
Scoop evenly into the greased doughnut pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the pan and let them cool completely.
Once doughnuts are cooled, melt the cocoa butter and apple cider.
Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish.
Lightly brush each doughnut with the melted cocoa butter mixture and dredge in the cinnamon sugar to coat.
These are paleo and AIP compliant and can easily be made vegan by replacing the gelatin egg with a flax egg.
Don’t worry about over processing this dough. Any extra mixing time will add air to the dough.
Don’t be afraid to let the mixture sit to hydrate. This is especially helpful when working with coconut flour (which absorbs liquid!) and grated apples which add liquid.
These are delicious warm but get better as they cool. You can also gently warm them a day or two later to soften them up a bit again.
Want to freeze a batch? Let them cool completely after baking, skip the topping, and pack them in parchment paper in an airtight container to freeze. Finish them up with the topping after you defrost.
This recipe can easily be doubled and the doughnuts can be frozen after baking and cooling. Save the topping steps until you defrost.
A double recipe will yield 12 full size doughnuts or 36 mini doughnuts.
If your dough is airier (from more mixing) you’ll get more doughnuts!
… … …
Mulled Cider is another one of those things we forget we love, until Fall rolls around and we want nothing else.
Here’s our simple ‘no recipe’ recipe for mulled cider. Play around with the spices, quantities, and timing to create a mixture that suits your tastebuds, there’s no wrong way!
2 pints Cider (no sugar added, fresh is best!)
1 small orange
whole spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice berries, green cardamom, nutmeg
a nob of ginger
maple syrup (optional)
Pour cider into a heavy saucepan or slowcooker.
Slice the orange with the peel on and add 5-7 slices to the pot. (Use more if you like!)
Add something like 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 2 allspice berries, 1 cardamom pod, and a few chunks of nutmeg. Play around here and don’t worry if you don’t have everything listed here. Use what you have and enjoy!
Slice the knob of ginger then smash each slice with the side of your knife like you would with a clove of garlic. Don’t worry about peeling it. just slice, smash, and toss it in.
Heat mixture on the stove or in your slow cooker on low-medium heat until wisps of steam come off of it and the ingredients start to move. Gently cook, covered, for 15 mins. Do not allow to boil.
Turn off heat and allow to steep for up to an hour. Remove spices. Taste and add maple syrup to taste, if needed.
Serve warm or over ice. Also great in cocktails, with chilled with sparking water, and instead of water as a poaching liquid or pan sauce for dishes like roasted pork.