Saturday, October 1, 2011

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Last year, Boston, apple picking.  Alyssa and I decided to go apply picking on a beautiful, fall day.  We arrived at the orchard ready to eat freshly made apple cider doughnuts only to find that they were sold out, along with most of their other pastries.  We instead bought a pumpkin pie which Alyssa ended up eating by herself over the next week.  Yes, that is a true story.

This year, New Jersey, my uncle's house.  My uncle had gone apple picking in New Jersey and posted pictures saying that they ate apple cider doughnuts there.  Since, Alyssa and I were going to his house soon after, we had hoped to find some doughnuts left for us... But there weren't any there.

As you may be able to tell, Alyssa and I had been unable to satisfy our growing apple cider doughnut craving.  Since we had no plans to go apple picking any time soon, I decided to do the next best thing: make my own.  I hosted a dinner party last week and decided to make the doughnuts for the party.  I was a little bit nervous because I had never made doughnuts before and if they didn't taste good, I did not have a back up plan for dessert.  I found a recipe online and after reading through it and the debate over frying with oil versus shortening, I decided to use shortening, a product that I had never worked with before.

Although I overheated the shortening at first and burnt a few of the smaller holes, once I got used to it, the doughnuts were really easy and quick to cook.  Just a few seconds on each side until the doughnuts became golden brown, pour a mixture of confectioner's sugar and cider on top and that is all it takes.  The doughnuts were really good considering that I am a novice doughnut maker.  Soft and chewy on the inside, not greasy at all (a benefit of frying in shortening versus oil), and just fun!  I am really happy that I took a chance to make these, they were less work than I expected.

But is my apple cider doughnut cravings satisfied?

Hmmm, not sure, I may have to eat some more before I can decide.

Apple Cider Doughnuts
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 15-18 doughnuts and 15-18 doughnut hole, depending on the size of the doughnut

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
Shortening for frying

Toppings (optional)
Glaze 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons apple cider whisked together
Cinnamon sugar 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon mixed together

1. In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. Using an electric 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. Add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk and mix with a spatula just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix until the dough comes together.

4. 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 so that it is easy to work with and not sticking to your hands. Flatten the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

5. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes.

6. Using a round cookie cutter, cut the outer shape.  Then use a smaller cutter to cut out the hole. (I did not have the right size cutters so I used a glass container to get the shape).

7. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the other sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20-30 minutes, or until ready to use.

8.  Add enough shortening to a frying pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. If you have a candy thermometer, you want to wait until the oil reaches, 350 degrees.  I do not have a thermometer so I waited until the oil started bubbling.  I added the holes first and they burnt, so I added more shortening to cool down the temperature.

9. Place each doughnut into the pan and fry until golden brown and then turn over and fry the other side, for about 60 seconds on each side.  Place the doughnuts on a paper towel to drain.

10.  Sprinkle the doughnuts with your choice of topping (I made the apple cider glaze) and serve warm.

The doughnuts keep for a keep.  Just warm up with add glaze on top!


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