Apple Cider Donuts

Tis’ the season for cold weather, comfy sweaters, pumpkin picking, and my favorite..apple cider! Just a couple weeks ago I was walking through Union Square Park’s farmers market where I was greeted with a cup of warm apple cider which was so fresh and delicious I couldn’t wait to incorporate it into my baking. This product is seasonal so I always over dose a bit on this stuff, but hey, no harm there!

This week was an excruciatingly cold one and my intake of hot apple cider in the mornings has been pretty excessive. So of course I decided to keep my food theme of the week and went with apple cider donuts as my baking task. Now, I’ve tried to make donuts in the past, and those failed miserably. They turned into these hard biscuit like donut rings with absolutely no flavor. Needless to say, they were trashed. Although I was significantly younger and less experienced, the idea of trying to make donuts again was a bit intimidating.

The first couple of donut holes I fried up were definitely a trial and error. But after getting the hang of frying them, it became much easier to determine the feel of a fully cooked fried donut. Definitely give these bad boys a whirl! They are so delicious and store wonderfully for a couple days. Just writing up about them gives me a craving for a cinnamon-sugar rolled donut hole and glass of cider, but I shall try to refrain for now! Try this recipe out and it will sure to become a fall favorite.

Apple Cider Donuts

Yields: 20 Donuts and Donut holes

Ingredients:

Donuts:

  • 1 cup apple cider (plain or spiced)
  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Canola/Corn/Safflower/Vegetable oil for frying

Coating:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer apple cider until it has reduced to about 1/4 cup. This will take about 45 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer (with a paddle attachment if available) beat the butter and sugars together until smooth. Add the eggs one t a time, beating until each is well incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed. Add buttermilk, and the 1/4 cup of reduced apple cider, and continue to mix until the dough just comes together. If the dough is extremely sticky to the touch, add around a 1/4 cup more flour.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured piece of parchment paper. Press the dough out until it is 1/2-inch thick. Transfer the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, just until slightly firm.
  5. Meanwhile, start warming up your oil. Use enough oil to measure about 2-inches to 2 1/2-inches deep. Attach a thermometer to the side of the pot and heat over medium until the oil reaches 350°F. Line a cookie sheet or plate with paper towels and set aside.
  6. Using a 3-inch rough cutter and a 1-inch round cutter, cut out the donuts. Place the donuts and donut holes onto a separate sheet of parchment paper. DO NOT stack the donut dough, place on the parchment paper as one single layer.
  7. In a shallow dish, mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the coating. Set aside.
  8. Fry only a few donuts at a time. Adding too many at once may cause them to steam each other, and will also lower the oil temperature too quickly. Keep an eye on the thermometer to be sure the oil returns to 350°F.
  9. Fry the donuts for approximately 50-60 seconds, or until a dark golden brown. Carefully flip the donuts (chopsticks are a good choice here) and fry the other side for 30-50 seconds.
  10. Drain the donuts on the paper towel before rolling in the cinnamon sugar topping.
  11. Serve fresh with a mug of hot apple cider, coffee, or tea! Enjoy!

Recipe Note:

Making donuts is quite tricky because frying is a difficult medium to work with. If this is your first attempt donut making, I suggest making all donut holes. It is much easier to determine of they are fully cooked, and equally delicious! To test, fry one donut hole and cool completely. When you pick it up it should be decently light and not too dense, then cut it open to ensure it is fully cooked. If so, continue with the rest of the batch.

Also, make sure that between each batch of frying that the temperature of the oil returns to 350°F.

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