That excellent question comes from reader Troy. The answer is: I don’t know. Sure, there are a few cider-based recipes in the baking world — cider doughnuts spring to mind — but by and large cider isn’t something bakers use very much. Mix it into a dough or batter instead of say, water or milk, and you’ll barely notice the flavor at all. The thing that makes a cider doughnut taste like cider is usually a) a little bit of cooked apple or apple sauce mixed into the batter, but mostly, b) a strong cider reduction made into a glaze or an icing. Otherwise it’s generally the warmth and crispiness of a freshly-fried farm stand cider doughnut that makes one so memorable.
To make a cider doughnut glaze, reduce one cup of apple cider down to about 1/4 cup, then stir in about two cups of powdered (confectioner’s) sugar.
Alternately, cider can also be made into a syrup to garnish a wide variety of fall desserts, from ice cream to tarts, crisps and pies. To do that, combine two cups of apple cider with 6 ounces of light brown sugar, 1 1/2 ounces of butter, two teaspoons of cider vinegar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce it down to one cup. Cool and apply as you see fit. And should you feel like using hard cider instead of sweet to make your syrup, well, who am I to stop you?