A Breakfast Mixed Bag: Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts and Whipped Cream Scones

When my office organized a breakfast to welcome a law student intern, I volunteered to bring in some baked goods. I used two recipes from The New York Times: "Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts" and "Whipped Cream Scones with Chocolate and Cherries." The recipes are pretty simple and I was able to easily make both in one evening.

To make the doughnuts, you cream room temperature butter with brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs and vanilla; add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and freshly ground nutmeg); and slowly add apple cider. You're supposed to add half a cup of apple cider and I replaced two tablespoons of the regular cider with an equal amount of boiled cider (I always have a bottle in the fridge) to boost the apple flavor. I piped the batter into doughnut pans to bake. While the doughnuts were still warm from the oven, I brushed them with melted butter and put them in a bag with some cinnamon sugar, tossing them lightly to coat.
These doughnuts were fantastic. Even when eaten the morning after they were made, they were velvet-y soft and full of lovely cider and spice flavor. Actually, the spice level was a little aggressive, but I loved them. The doughnuts were so soft that they had to be handled with care -- some of them developed cracks when I was tossing them in the cinnamon-sugar. But I would absolutely make these again.

You make the dough for the scones by hand. You combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a bowl; add cold cubed butter and press the cubes flat with your fingers; add dried tart cherries and chopped bittersweet chocolate; and add whipped cream that has been whisked until it has the consistency of pancake batter. You mix everything with your fingers until the dry ingredients are moistened and the batter forms shaggy clumps.
I used a scoop (I can't remember which size, but it was probably a #12 or #16) to portion out the dough, sprinkled the scones with sanding sugar, and baked them until golden. I was a little disappointed with the scones. They were fine, but I like my scones to be crumbly and these had a cake-y texture. The texture shouldn't have been a surprise to me because the recipe headnote says that whipping the cream before incorporating it into the batter creates tiny air bubbles that result in something more like cake as opposed to bread, with a "melt-in-your-mouth creaminess." I also would suggest using chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate. I think that larger and more consistently-sized pieces of chocolate might have delivered more chocolate flavor. There are definitely many other scone recipes that I prefer.

Recipes: "Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts" and "Whipped Cream Scone with Chocolate and Cherries" from The New York Times.