Being a California girl, I have often fantasized about, though never tasted, apple cider doughnuts from apple farms on the East Coast. Inspired by these delicious-sounding morsels, I whipped up a batch of apple cinnamon beignets, studded with diced fresh apple that goes wonderfully soft during cooking, warm cinnamon and nutty brown butter. Although these beignets were fantastic with an ample dusting of confectioners’ sugar, when paired with a decadent apple cider caramel dipping sauce, they’re unreal.

For anyone who may have been put off by caramel recipes in the past – this one is foolproof – no thermometer or burnt sugar mishaps here – simply cook apple cider over medium high heat until it reduces significantly, and then swirl in some butter and a bit of salt. The result is a slightly tart, apple-flavored caramel sauce, which would be amazing drizzled over ice cream and apple pie, or packaged in simple Weck jars for the perfect holiday hostess gift. For more recipes, head on over to my blog Fleur de Sel!

Apple Cinnamon Beignets with Apple Cider Caramel Dipping SauceUnreal beignets dipped in a fail-proof caramel sauce
prep time
20 Minute/s
cook time
20 Minute/s
total time
40 Minute/s
Serves 4Ingredients
  • FOR THE BEIGNETS:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • Vegetable oil for frying {I used about 1 quart}
  • Confectioners' sugar {optional}
  • FOR THE APPLE CIDER CARAMEL SAUCE
  • 2 cups apple cider {I used Martinelli's}
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. FOR THE BEIGNETS:
  2. Place butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until butter turns brown and starts to smell nutty. Keep an eye on it as it can easily and quickly burn. Immediately pour into a separate small bowl to prevent overcooking. Set aside and let cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a fork, then add milk, brown butter, and vanilla. Gently fold dry and wet ingredients together until just combined {do not overmix}. Fold in apples.
  4. Heat a couple of inches of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once oil reaches 375ºF on an electric thermometer, drop teaspoons of batter into the hot oil, six or eight at a time. If you don't have an electronic thermometer, test the heat of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil; if it sizzles immediately and rises to the top, the oil is ready; if it burns quickly, lower the heat. Once the beignets are browned on one side, use a spider or a slotted spoon to flip them over. Cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes total.
  5. Remove the beignets from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Keep warm in a 200°F. oven. Once all beignets are finished, dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve with apple cider caramel sauce.
  6. FOR THE SAUCE:
  7. While beignets are cooking, boil cider in a medium saucepan over high heat until mixture reduces to 1/3 cup - about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn heat to medium low and swirl in butter and sea salt. Cook 2 minutes more and then remove from heat. Mixture will thicken as it cools.

Photography & Recipe: Fleur de Sel