SMiLes by Meg

Apple Cider Donut Holes

This weekend, I was reunited with my favorite sous chef, the one and only Laura Bakst! Despite living on the same coast, I visited her for the first time since law school (which is slightly embarrassing – I blame her work schedule), and had just the perfect weekend. We walked all around, baked, ate good food, drank good wine, stumbled upon a pickle festival and generally got to just catch up on each other’s lives.

I never realize how much I’m craving friend time until I get an uninterrupted weekend of it. When that friend time also includes frying donut holes, I’m especially grateful.

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know that I’m afraid of frying things. Fortunately, Laura was very patient with me, and it 100% paid off – I could make a million variations of these donut holes and be very happy about it. These ones, obviously, are apple cider. Because Fall.

First, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the coating. Set this aside.

Then, make the batter. Unlike baking with Erik, Laura has a stand mixer and basic bakeware. Beat the shortening and sugar together on medium speed until crumbly.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Here’s Laura!

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the apple cider to the mixer, beating after each addition until fully incorporated.

Meanwhile, heat the oil. Fill a large pan maybe 1.5 inches deep with oil, and heat to 350°F, or until a bit of dough thrown in the oil starts to sizzle.

Drop the dough by the tablespoon into the oil. Allow to cook 2 minutes on one side before using a slotted spoon to flip and cook two more minutes on the other side, and the outside should be golden brown. Here I am freaking out about frying!

And here are some satisfying pictures of frying donut holes.

Transfer them to a paper towel to drain/cool for a couple minutes before tossing in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

How easy are donut holes?? I was shocked that I didn’t set oil on fire and burn down Laura’s building, which is always my (irrational) fear. Fortunately, we succeeded on this frying adventure.

We ate these with some mint cookie ice cream, which was a great decision, but pumpkin ice cream would also be tasty. Store in an airtight container.


Apple Cider Donut Holes



  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Donut Holes

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • oil for frying


  1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the coating. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugar for the donut holes on medium speed until crumbly.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer in 3 parts, alternating with the apple cider, and beating after each addition until dough comes together.
  6. Heat the oil, about 1.5 inches deep, in a large pan to 350°F.
  7. Drop the dough into the oil by the tablespoon. Cook for 2 minutes on one side, then flip with a slotted spoon to cook 2 more minutes on the other side, until golden.
  8. Use slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel to cool for 2 minutes. Then toss in cinnamon sugar coating.