Amy Traverso’s Cider Donut Muffins

W. W. Norton & Company
4 min readSep 8, 2020

First published a decade ago, now newly revised and updated, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook is your lifetime go-to book for apples. It’s a celebration of apples in all their incredible diversity, as well as an illustrated guide to 70 popular (and rare-but-worth-the-search) apple varieties. Amy Traverso organizes these 70 varieties into four categories and includes a one-page cheat sheet that you can refer to when making any of her recipes. More than 100 scrumptious, easy-to-make recipes follow, from breakfast dishes all the way to desserts. On the sweet side, Amy serves up crisps, cobblers, pies, and cakes, including these delicious Cider Donut Muffins.

When I lived in San Francisco, our weekly shopping trip to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market often began with a donut muffin from the Downtown Bakery & Creamery stall. The muffin was scented with nutmeg, brushed with butter, and rolled in cinnamon-sugar. You got the same crunchy, sugary exterior of a real donut, but with a nice hefty “middle.” And even though these muffins were loaded with butter, it somehow felt nice to tell myself that I wasn’t eating fried food.

Then I moved back to New England, where cider donuts reign supreme, and not just in the fall. 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 (the recipe first ran in Yankee and was an instant hit).

Equipment: 12-cup muffin tin of ⅓ cup capacity; 3- to 4-quart saucepan; stand or hand-held mixer; cake tester; pastry brush

Makes: 12 muffins • active time: 20 minutes • total time: 55 minutes

For the muffins

2 cups (473 ml) fresh apple cider

8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan

¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2¼ cups (315 g) all-purpose flour

1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

For the topping

¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons (½ stick; 57 g) salted butter, melted

1• Preheat the oven to 375ºF 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.

2• 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.

3• 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.

4• 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.

Reprinted from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook. Copyright © 2020, 2011 by Amy Traverso. Photographs by Squire Fox copyright © 2011 by Squire Fox. Photographs by Charan Devereaux copyright © 2011 by Charan Devereaux. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Winner of the IACP Cookbook Award (Best American Cookbook)
Finalist for the Julia Child First Book Award

“The perfect apple primer.” — Splendid Table

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