We have gone to an apple orchard every year since we moved to Minnesota, including last year, with little Annie in tow at only a week or two old. This year we went to Apple Jack Orchards in Delano, Minnesota, and may have just stubbled across a new family favorite. There was plenty to do and to see, and we left with bags of apples and bellies full of apple cider bratwurst with apple-onion relish, homemade mac-n-cheese, and hot apple cider doughnuts.
We planted two apple trees in our backyard this spring, so while we patiently wait for them to grow old enough to get a harvest, we enjoy dreaming as we stroll through aisles of apple trees heavy laden with fruit. Matt, of course, had visions of his own apple orchard, and inevitably there was a lot of talk of "someday." In the meantime, I picked up a couple of books from the library for him to keep his farmer daydreams alive: Apples of Uncommon Character: 123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics, & Little Known Wonders by Rowan Jacobsen and Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, The American Story by Howard Means.
Lately, I have been loving the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard as well as the recipes on her Instagram account @halfbakedharvest. Everything I have tried has been delicious, so I've come to trust her recipes and her genius with flavors. So when I came across her Pumpkin Coffee Cake Muffins with Cinnamon Honey Butter, I had no doubt that they would be as good as they their title suggests and perfectly suited for the season.
And with two bags of apples from the apple orchard and fresh apple cider from some friends with an antique cider press, I also didn't look anywhere else for a recipe for Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts.
As I've come to expect, her recipes were DELICIOUS and will be fall favorites for years to come. The pumpkin muffins were absolutely dessert (hardly) disguised as breakfast food, and the doughnuts turned out with a perfect, cakey bake and a strong punch of apple flavor with every bite. I heartily recommend that you try both this season. And check out her website. And get your hands on her book. She is the queen of flavor!