SUNDAE SUNDAY: Fall AF apple cider doughnut ice cream sandwiches


One might think that after spending an entire day teaching 16 students how to make doughnuts and then frying dozens and dozens of them, I might need a break…at least for a day. Most people aren’t me, however. For this week’s Sunday Sundae, I kept the doughnut train running today with yet another ‘nut recipe to serve as the base of an apple cider-centric sundae: the apple cider doughnut.

Apple fritters are aplenty in the Bay Area (looking at you, Bob’s), but I haven’t stumbled on too many quality apple cider doughnuts. Of those I’ve had, none has come close to reaching the level of deliciousness that Highland Orchard’s doughnuts reach. My solution to the abyss of apple cider doughnuts, given that I’m 2,800+ miles away from said Highland Orchards: make my own. Oh, and combine them with cinnamon + spice ice cream and apple cider salted caramel sauce.

Forgive my lack of humility here, but this is a damn good sundae.  My partner, E., has the blessing and curse of eating everything I make, and even he reacted by saying it was my best sundae yet.  Expect to see special posts highlighting this cider caramel and doughnuts, too...they deserve it.

SUNDAE SUNDAY: Fall AF apple cider doughnut ice cream sandwiches

By: Kathleen Hayes; adaptations and yields listed by component below


Cinnamon and spice ice cream - adapted from the humphry slocombe ice cream book; yield = 1 scant quart


  • 450g heavy cream

  • 227g whole milk

  • 4 pinches kosher salt

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 48g egg yolks (3 yolks)

  • 90g (organic) sugar

  • 80g (organic) brown sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • Create an ice bath for your final mixture to cool down in a large mixing bowl.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk, and salt.  Heat over medium or medium-high until it’s just at a soft boil, then remove from heat.

  • Add the two cinnamon sticks to the pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit (infuse) for 12-15 minutes.

  • Whisk together your sugars and egg yolks until combined. This will form a thick paste.

  • Temper your egg mixture by ladling (or carefully pouring straight from the pan) ¼  - ⅓ cup of your hot cream mixture into the bowl with your eggs+sugar, whisking constantly to start melding the two mixtures together.  Repeat with a few more ladles worth of the cream mixture, and then transfer the tempered mixture and your spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) back into your saucepan.

  • Over medium-high heat, heat your base and use a spatula to draw figure-8s shapes repeatedly through the mixture to keep everything moving so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  Do this until it thickens slightly and reaches a temperature of 170 - 172 F, then remove from heat. (You’ve made creme anglaise!)

  • Pour your creme anglaise mixture through a chinoise/fine-meshed strainer into a container over an ice bath.  (You’ll have a decent amount of the spice mixture that doesn’t make it through the chinoise, and that’s okay.)

  • Stir periodically and let mixture cool down to room temperature.  Then let mixture chill for at least an hour and up to 2 days in the refrigerator.  

  • Optional: preserve and clean off your cinnamon sticks and put them in with your chilling base.  Remove before spinning into ice cream.

  • Before you spin your ice cream: place a baking dish and spatula in the freezer (I use the smaller of these two dishes) so your finished ice cream will go into a chilled container and not melt.

  • Follow the instructions for your ice cream machine and spin your ice cream.  If your machine’s bowl isn’t your final storage container, transfer your finished ice cream from the machine to the chilled baking dish and let it set for a few hours.

Apple cider salted caramel sauce - inspired by The Spruce Eats; yield = ~1 ½ cups

*Note: you’ll use some of this caramel in the doughnuts themselves, so you need to make this before you start on your doughnuts.


  • 200g (organic) sugar

  • 100g apple cider

  • 112g butter, room temperature

  • 63g whole milk, room temperature

  • 4 large pinches flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)


  • Caramelize the sugar and apple cider in a medium saucepan: place sugar and top with apple cider, making sure all sugar granules are covered in liquid and that there aren’t any rogue sugar crystals on the side of the pan (remove those with a wet finger).  On high heat, cook until the mixture is a dark amber color.

  • Off heat, whisk in the butter until it’s incorporated.  Add the milk slowly, continuing to whisk.

  • Bring back on medium heat and whisk for 3-5 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly.  Add flaky sea salt to sauce.

  • Let cool before using, and store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Apple cider doughnuts - inspired by Tasting Table; yield = 10, 3” doughnuts and holes



  • 607g all purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon, 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • 150g whole milk

  • 70g apple cider

  • 30g apple cider salted caramel sauce (recipe above)

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

  • 85g butter, softened (¾ stick)

  • 50g (organic) sugar

  • 50g (organic) brown sugar

  • 105g eggs (~2 large eggs)

Cinnamon sugar, for finishing

  • 100g (organic) sugar

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon cardamom

For frying

  • Canola/grapeseed/safflower oil, enough to fill a Dutch oven with 2” of oil


  • Get 2” of oil heated to 350 degrees F in a Dutch oven (I use my Le Creuset for this).

  • If you haven’t already, make and cool the apple cider salted caramel sauce (recipe above). Set aside 30g of it.

  • Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

  • Whisk together the whole milk, cider, caramel, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.

  • Cream together the butter and sugars in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla paste.

  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low until combined.

  • Alternate between the dry and wet ingredients (dry/wet/dry/wet/dry) and mix into the batter, on low speed.

  • Flour a work surface and roll out dough until it’s 3/4” thick.

  • Using a doughnut cutter or two round cutters, cut out doughnuts and holes and place onto a floured sheet pan, flouring the edge of the cutter(s) in between each doughnut to prevent sticking.  Reroll the scraps and cut out more doughnuts.

  • Chill the dough in the fridge for 5 minutes, or however long it takes to do next step and get oil to right temperature.

  • Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom called for the final coating post-fry. Set aside.

  • Start with a test batch of 1 doughnut and fry for 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and test for doneness. Continue frying doughnuts and holes in batches, dismounting doughnuts from the fryer onto a cooling rack set on top of a sheet tray briefly and then coating in the cinnamon sugar mixture while the doughnuts are still hot.  

Special equipment - across all components



  • Slice your (cooled) doughnut in half, like a bagel.

  • Scoop 1-2 ice cream scoops onto the bottom half of the bagel and spread ice cream with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

  • Place other half of doughnut on top and drizzle liberally with apple cider caramel.\

  • Dig in!


  • Put the caramel in the middle of the sandwich instead of drizzled on top.

  • Create a more traditional sundae construction using a bowl, ice cream scoops, doughnut holes, and drizzled caramel.

  • Make your doughnuts a little smaller to yield more, tinier sundaes (this is a filling sundae as written)


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