Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Apple Cider Donuts

My friend Haley recently got married in Vermont, and while I was there for the wedding I had my first-ever apple cider donut. I was instantly hooked, of course, and had to try making them myself as soon as I had time - which was yesterday. I think the best thing about these donuts is that they're as quick as biscuits or pancakes, but look soooo much more decadent.

Overall, the recipes I read online called for about a cup less flour than my recipe below. I found the dough impossible to work with without this added flour, very loose and wet. See how it goes for you, add the last cup gradually. The temperature of the oil is important, if too hot the outside of the donuts will be dark brown and the middles will still be doughy. If too cool, the dough gets oil-logged and crispy (which isn't such a bad thing, when it's only a little). If you don't have a thermometer (I don't), you can test the oil temperature using donut holes. The oil is the right temperature when a donut hole cooks slowly, taking a minute or two before getting gold around the edges.

Also, if you don't have a donut cutter, you can use a large cookie/biscuit cutter and a shot glass or jigger to cut out the middle. (I have this one, and it's great for donuts or for cutting the center out of sliced pineapple!)

Apple Cider Donuts

1 cup apple cider
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Apple Cider Glaze
1/2 cup apple cider
2 to 3 cups confectioners' sugar

Boil the apple cider in a small sauce pot until reduced by half, about 9 minutes. While it is cooling, whisk together the dry ingredients (minus one cup of flour!) in a bowl. Set aside. Start heating your frying oil to 375ยบ.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar and shortening until fluffy, then beat in the eggs, then the buttermilk, then the cooled reduced cider. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated, adding the additional cup of flour as needed. The dough should feel like loose biscuit dough, too tough is bad but you have to be able to handle it without it falling apart.

Move the dough to a floured surface and pat out to 1/2" thick. Cut into donuts & holes and fry a couple at a time. Donuts should be flipped when the sides are golden, holes should be rotated as needed to brown evenly. Remove from oil and drain over paper towels, then dip or drizzle with glaze.

To make the glaze: whisk cider and confectioners' sugar until smooth. That's it!

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