How to make these apple cider donut muffins

"The Apple Lover's Cookbook" author Amy Traverso's unique fall recipe.

"The Apple Lover's Cookbook" author Amy Traverso combined two of her favorite pastries into one incredible confection that's perfect for fall!

Inspired by a nutmeg muffin brushed with butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar that she used to get from the Downtown Bakery & Creamery stall at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, Traverso thought to riff on the recipe with the cult Northeast favorite apple cider donut.

"You got the same crunchy, sugary exterior of a real donut, but with a nice hefty middle," she explained of the muffin. "While I love my recipe for actual cider donuts -- I know that deep frying can be a messy business. So why not make a cider donut muffin? And that’s just what I did."

Apple Cider Donut Muffins

Equipment Needed: 12-cup muffin tin of 1/3 cup capacity; 3- to 4-quart saucepan; stand or hand-held mixer; cake tester; pastry brush.
Yield: Makes 12 muffins
Total cook time: 55 minutes

2 cups fresh apple cider
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
For the topping
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (½ stick; 57 g) salted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set a rack to the middle position. Lightly grease the muffin tin.

In a saucepan, bring the apple cider to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Using a stand or hand-held mixer, cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each. Add the vanilla and blend.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add a third of this mixture to the butter mixture and beat just to combine. Add half of the reduced cider and beat to combine. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the rest of the cider, then the remaining flour mixture.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups and bake until the tops are firm and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, brush their tops and sides with the melted butter, then roll them in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipes & photographs reprinted from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook: Revised and Updated. Copyright (c) 2020 by Amy Traverso. Photographs copyright 2011 by Squire Fox. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.