For those of (the very few) you, who have been following my blog, would probably remember me mentioning having these awesomelly sinful apple cider donuts at an apple orchard that we went during the pumpkin picking festival. Since then, I have been dreaming of trying my own version at home. Finally, on Friday I got the opportunity.
Every Friday is coffee morning. A bunch of us ladies (stuck in this god forsaken town with nothing much to do) get together at someone’s place for coffee and general chit chat. This Friday was coffee at my place and the perfect time to try making apple cider donuts.
Cider donuts are cake doughnuts, unlike the yeast doughnuts I have made in the past and have been generally good at making. I got the recipe off Smitten Kitchen’s site (my regular go to site). Deb uses shortening for frying. I found it a novel idea, plus it was the best way to use the Crisco that had been lying in my fridge for weeks (or was it months?). And the best part, frying in Crisco makes the donuts less greasy than frying in oil. Of course, most shortenings have trans fats which clog your arteries but luckily, I had, lying in my refrigerator, the zero trans fat Crisco. Lo and behold!
The donuts turned out awesome, very very close to the ones I had at the Orchard. They are definitely best freshly fried, but can be successfully reheated in the oven too. The donuts are very delicate, thanks to being cake like. So treat them with care. The dough is very sticky so be sure to freeze the dough before cutting the circles and flour generously!
Though sweet just the way they are, I prefer mine topped with a little cinnamon sugar. I glazed the donut holes with apple cider. Everyone at the coffee loved them- I got the tag of being a good cook that day. I am a happy baker!
APPLE CIDER DONUTS
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s website
Makes 18 doughnuts + 18 doughnut holes (suggested yield for a 3-inch cutter)
1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil or shortening for frying
Glaze (1 cup confectioners’ sugar + 2 tablespoons apple cider)
Cinnamon sugar (1 cup granulated sugar + 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon)
In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes.
Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch or 3 1/2-inch donut cutter— or a 3 1/2-inch round cutter for the outer shape and a 1-inch round cutter for the hole — cut out doughnut shapes. (Neither did I have a donut cutter nor a cookie cutter on hand. Instead I used a glass which had a 3 inch diameter rim and the cap from a sherbet bottle, which was 1 inch diameter. So the purpose was served!)
Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)
Add enough oil or shortening to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F*. Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.
Make your toppings (if using): While the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth; make the cinnamon sugar by mixing the two together. Set aside.
Fry and top the doughnuts: Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels for a minute after the doughnuts are fried. Dip the top of the warm doughnuts into the glaze or cinnamon sugar mixture (if using) and serve immediately.
Gluten free version: This recipe can be adjusted for those allergic to gluten by swapping the flour for: 1.5cups rice flour + 1/2cup potato starch + 1/4cup tapioca starch + 1tsp xanthum gum. (I haven’t tried this version but those who have found them awesome!)