I know, I know this was not on my list of Fall baking treats. But my friend Lindsay began telling me about these donuts that she used to eat in New York around fall time and how it was her favorite fall treat. Being the good friend I am and the fat kid that lives inside me, I began thinking about how delicious it would be to make these apple cider donuts. And delicious it was. Plus, I’ve never made donuts so it was a new experience.
Donuts aren’t as hard to make as I thought they would be. Because it is dough there is a lot of inactive waiting time. Also, don’t be scared off if you aren’t the biggest fan of apple. These donuts do not taste overly like apple. Instead it’s just a hint of apple and cinnamon. Exactly what fall is all about!
1 cup Apple Cider
3½ cup All-Purpose Flour + additional for work surface
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
1 cup Sugar
½ cup Buttermilk
1½-2 cups of Shortening (recommended) or vegetable oil
Glaze – 1 cup Powdered Sugar + 2 tablespoons Apple Cider
Cinnamon Sugar – 1 cup Sugar + 1½ tablespoons ground Cinnamon
(1) In a pan on medium heat, reduce the apple cider to about ¼ cup. This should take about 20 minutes. Set it aside and let it cool.
(2) In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. On medium speed, and in a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs in one at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the reduced cider and butter just until it’s combined. Add the flour mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. (It will still be soft and sticky. This is the consistency that you want.)
(3) Line two baking sheets with wax paper (or parchment paper) and sprinkle generously with the extra flour. Pour the dough onto one of the floured baking sheets. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough and your hands. Flatten the dough with you hands until it is about ½ inch thick. (If the dough is still sticky, use more flour). Transfer the dough to the freezer for about 20 minutes until it is slightly hardened.
(4) Take the dough out of the freezer. Using a donut cutter (I used this one from Williams-Sonoma, but if your Bed, Bath and Beyond has this one then it would work just as well for a better price. However, the Bed, Bath and Beyond one will make bigger, therefore less, donuts) cut out donut shapes. Place the cut donuts and donut holes onto the second floured baking sheet. Refrigerate the donuts for 20 – 30 minutes. Also re-roll the extra dough and place it back in the freezer to harden. Then repeat the next steps with the extra dough.
(5) While the donuts are refrigerating, you can begin to make your toppings. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and the two tablespoons of cider until smooth. For the cinnamon sugar, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon until well combined.
(6) Add enough shortening or oil to a deep-sided pan so that it measures about 3 inches. For me, It was about 1½ to 2 cups of shortening. (While I know that shortening has trans fats and isn’t good for you, if you fry the donuts in shortening it will be less greasy than with oil. Personally, greasy donuts do not sound appetizing, so shortening it is!). Heat the shortening or oil on medium heat. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the shortening or oil until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Have a plate lined with several paper towels.
(7) Reduce the heat to low or medium-low heat. Add a few donuts to the oil and fry until gold brown. I would fry each donut for a total of about 2 minutes. 30 seconds on one side, 30 seconds on the other and repeat. Remove donuts from the oil and place on the paper towels for a minute after the donuts are fried. Then dip the top of the warm donuts into the glaze or cinnamon sugar mixture (or my personal favorite glaze followed by cinnamon sugar). Serve immediately.*
* After the donuts have cooled and the topping has dried, if there are still some left over place them in a sealed Tupperware container. I know for sure that they can last till the next day. However, my donuts were all eaten by the second day. So past that I’m unsure. If someone knows, please let me know!
Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.