Soaked Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts
Making homemade cider donuts is super easy! These Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts are soaked first (WAPF style) to make them nourishing and SO flavorful! This healthy, baked donut recipe will become a family favorite year after year.
I didn’t grow up in a donut family.
If we had donuts, they were the powdered sugar kind and only because they were from one of those deeply discounted bins where expiration dates are, uhhhh, negotiable…
Sometimes there were donuts in Sunday school, but honestly, I didn’t like them much. Even for a sugar-addicted kid like me, they were too sweet.
Now, my husband is another story. He grew up in a donut family.
His family still treats each other to frosted cherry donuts from their favorite shop whenever they visit one another. They even post about their donuts on social media. It’s pretty cute. 🙂
But, my guy married me — a non-donut-loving gal.
So, guess what we haven’t had a lot of in our house over the last 17 years…
Oh, by the way… I wasn’t planning for this recipe to go on the blog. I posted about these donuts on my Instagram Story, then polled my audience, and overwhelmingly, everyone was like, “Gimme the donut recipe!!!!!” See? There are perks to following me on the ‘gram. Like having a say in what goes on the blog! 😛
Until Now… And These Flavorful Gluten-Free Cider Donuts!
I think I finally figured out why I never liked store-bought donuts…
They’re all sweet and no flavor! (Unless the flavor is whatever artificial flavor the icing happens to be.) Or, sometimes the donuts with maple, brown sugar, apple, and nuts have flavor, but they’re still SO sweet to me.
But, one time…
I tried an apple cider donut. I can’t even remember where I was or why I had the urge to try one, but I LOVED it!
The lovely, apple-y, cinnamon-y, fall flavors danced in my mouth, making it a food experience I won’t forget.
As many years as that’s been, I still remembered those flavors… and yet, I found another obstacle in my way — the thought of making donuts intimidated me!
These donuts are my personal favorite… and the Hubs also ate his fair share. I won’t even tell you how over-the-moon my kids are about these! 🙂
Because they’re FLAVORFUL! Not too sweet, full of warm fall flavor and apple, perfect for a fall treat, breakfast, or dessert!
I’m normally a planner, but I confess: the making of these gluten-free apple cider donuts began with an impulse purchase… at Target. Gah, can Target ever get me into trouble! Anyone relate?
I passed by the loveliest donut pan and it was alllllll over. I went in for new kitchen towels and came out with a ride-or-die plan to improv some cider donuts as soon as I got home.
And I’ll confess something else to you: this donut pan is coated in non-stick stuff that’s probably leaching into my donuts and causing babies around the world to cry rivers of baby tears.
But ya know what else? I’m not making donuts every day, and by golly, if I don’t have a weakness for muted gold baking ware!
If you don’t get weak over gold bakeware and want to make better life choices than I, may I suggest a non-toxic, silicon donut pan?
Now that we’ve got that out of the way… let’s get down to the business of these soaked and gluten-free Apple Cider Donuts!
Wait, what? What’s this “soaking” all about?
All grains (and legumes and nuts, too) contain a compound known as phytic acid. Phytic acid is an “anti-nutrient”.
Basically, it serves to protect the seed (the grain, nut, legume) and all the magic that’s in the seed until the seed is planted and ready to grown into a new plant.
Because it’s protecting the seed’s stores of nutrients, it prohibits creatures who eat these seeds from absorbing those nutrients (it’s saving them for the plant, remember?).
As creatures who eat things like flour, oats, beans, nuts, and seeds, we don’t want to be consuming a bunch of phytic acid all the time. Phytic acid not only prohibits us from absorbing the nutrients in our food — which leads to nutrient and mineral deficiencies — it also messes with our gut health.
Eating foods high in phytic acid will, over time, compromise the gut and lead to, at best, uncomfortable digestive symptoms like gas or bloating, and at worst, food sensitivities and autoimmune issues.
Yet, our traditional ancestors instinctively knew this, so they had ways of neutralizing phytic acid in these agricultural foods so that they could consume them and still enjoy robust health. These methods are:
- soaking in an acidic medium
For these soaked and gluten-free apple cider donuts, I’m utilizing the soaking method of preparation for a whole grain, gluten-free flour (more below!). (Learn about soaking beans here and about soaking and cooking quinoa here.)
Kefir and cultured butter are my soaking mediums of choice here — see the recipe below for a yogurt option and dairy-free alternative.
What gluten-free flour should I use?
Technically, any gluten-free flour blend will work, so feel free to use your favorite.
My favorite gluten-free flour blend is Jovial’s Whole Grain Gluten-Free Pastry Blend — which I find at the best price from Azure Standard.
I prefer this blend because it is one of the few gluten-free blends that’s starch-free. That means it doesn’t contain potato starch, arrowroot, tapioca starch, or corn starch — making it easier on the blood sugar and more nutrient-dense… WHEN IT’S SOAKED.
And when you soak, you just stir the ingredients together, put a towel over the bowl, and let it sit out on your counter for 8 hours or overnight. I pinky promise the donut batter will not grow mold or turn bad while it’s soaking. (Unless you were to leave it for 48 or more hours and then it would likely be questionable. Proceed at your own risk. 😛 )
I even stir the egg in and leave it to sit during the soak, but I also trust where my eggs are from and that they’re not contaminated. If that makes you queasy, I’ve written the recipe to include adding the egg just before baking. You’re welcome. 😉
The remaining ingredients are pretty straightforward: warming fall spices, butter (or coconut oil if you’re dairy-free), molasses, and coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is my favorite brown sugar alternative that’s non-keto.
Coconut Sugar + A Sugar-Free Option
If you are good with gluten-free flour but not coconut sugar, you could sub 1/2 cup of Dietz Sweet + another teaspoon of molasses. Dietz Sweet is sweeter than coconut sugar, so you’ll want to use slightly less, thus 1/2 cup instead of 2/3 cup.
Even with the sugar-free sub, these gluten-free apple cider donuts still aren’t low-carb or keto because they’re made with gluten-free flour and not a grain-free flour like coconut flour or almond flour. But that is a sugar-free option for those who need it.
Otherwise, coconut sugar is my non-keto sweetener of choice. It’s much lower on the glycemic index than organic cane sugar and honey, contains lots of trace minerals, and has an outstanding rich flavor — not coconut-y at all!
In addition to being sweetened with coconut sugar, these soaked donuts are also coated in a cinnamon-coconut sugar mix as soon as they’re hot out of the oven.
Now, I haven’t tried a Dietz Sweet cinnamon “sugar”, but I can bet you that the cold, icy feeling many people get from erythritol will definitely be present if you use it as the coating. Again, I haven’t tried this, so I honestly don’t know if you’ll like it or not. The option is there for those who need it. 🙂
You’ll notice after a day that the cinnamon-coconut sugar coating sort of disappears. The moisture from the donut causes this, and the sugar basically absorbs into the donut.
Admittedly, the donuts are prettiest when eaten fresh or just a few hours old. However, leftover donuts without that coating showing are still as delicious as can be! You’re always welcome to overnight me your discards! 😉
How To Make Soaked & Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts
First, you start with apple cider — fresh-pressed is best, but store-bought is fine as long as it doesn’t have added sugar. A cup and a half of cider is reduced down to 2/3 cup, making a super-concentrated, apple-y liquid that makes these donuts come alive.
Once you have that magic apple liquid, you’re ready to soak!
Combine the reduced apple cider, gluten-free flour blend, kefir (or alternatives – see recipe), cultured butter, and fall spices in a bowl. Mix them together and cover with a towel.
Leave it to sit for at least 8 hours, but up to 24 is perfectly fine.
When you’re ready to bake, add the egg, coconut sugar (or alternative), and leavening. The batter becomes thick and viscous, so it needs to be piped into the donut pan. Trying to spoon it in will take you way too much time and effort.
Best to transfer the batter/dough to a gallon-size bag, squeeze all the air out, then snip a 3/4″ opening in one corner.
Pipe the batter into your donut wells, filling each well about half way. And then bake!
As soon as those beauties are golden brown, remove the from the oven and use a fork to carefully place them into a bag of cinnamon sugar. Two donuts at a time is plenty. Then gently shake until the donuts are coated in that lovely cinnamon sugar mix.
Set the donuts on a cooling rack, and keep working until you’ve used all your batter!
Here’s the full recipe for soaked, gluten-free apple cider donuts! They’re really easy and so flavorful!
Soaked & Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts
Making homemade donuts is super easy! These Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts are soaked first to make them nourishing and SO flavorful! This is such a special recipe... perfect for fall breakfast or treats or even Thanksgiving breakfast!
- 1-1/2cupsapple ciderreduced to 2/3 cup
- 1-1/2cupsJovial gluten-free whole grain pastry flour blend
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoonplain kefiror yogurt (can use coconut yogurt for dairy-free)
- 2tablespoonscultured butter, softeneduse coconut oil for dairy-free
- 1 teaspooncinnamon
- 1 teaspoonvanilla
- 1/2 teaspoonground nutmeg
- 1pastured egg
- 2/3cupcoconut sugar
- 1 teaspoonbaking powder
- 1 teaspoonbaking soda
- 1cupcoconut sugarfor coating
- 1teaspooncinnamonfor coating
First, simmer the apple cider on the stove in a small saucepan until it is reduced to 2/3 cup. Set aside.
To a medium-size glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, add the gluten-free flour, reduced apple cider, kefir, softened butter (or coconut oil), molasses, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, nutmeg, and salt and mix to combine.
Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm spot for 8 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uncover the soaked flour mixture and add the egg, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag or plastic bag with a the tip cut off.
Pipe into a donut pan, filling each well about 1/2 full.
Bake 13 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the donuts bake, combine the remaining 1 cup of coconut sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a gallon-size bag. You will coat each donut in this cinnamon sugar as soon as they come out of the oven.
When the donuts are baked, remove 2 at a time and put them in the bag of cinnamon sugar. Seal the bag and gently shake to coat the donuts.
Transfer each donut to a cooling rack and continue baking and coating until you've used all your batter.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. After that, refrigerate.
More Yummy Real Food Apple Recipes…
- Soaked Gluten-Free Apple Breakfast Cake
- 70+ Real Food Apple Recipes
- Instant Pot No-Peel Applesauce
- Low-Glycemic Apple Cinnamon Muffins (dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, egg-free)
- Paleo & Vegan Instant Pot Apple Crumble
- Maple Apple Cinnamon No-Bake Treats
- Instant Pot Apple Cider Sourdough Bread Pudding
- Homemade Sparkling Apple Cider
- Starbuck’s Copycat Caramel Apple Spice