Thursday, October 7, 2010

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year! Especially being a New Englander, the fall season can have a variety of different meanings.  Everything from the food, to the smells, the changing of the leaves and even the changing of weather mean that fall is well underway and the holidays are fast approaching.


My favorite things about fall include coming home to the smell of a pumpkin spice candle burning and freshly picked apples.  My top favorite though, would be having the knowledge that once fall arrives, so do the cider doughnuts! Although not the healthiest of treats (what good tasting item really is healthy???), apple cider doughnuts have the ability to make my mouth water! The doughnuts of course, should not be eaten alone - they should be accompanied by warm apple cider.  Mmmm...


Therefore, in celebration of my favorite season, I will be making all types of fall foods during the upcoming month.  And of course, I shall start with my favorite: doughnuts and cider!
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Ingredients: 
2 apples
1 Cup apple cider
3 1/2 Cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tbsp shortening
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
1/2 Cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil for frying


Glaze:
1 Cup apple cider
1 Cup confectioner's sugar


Topping:
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon


Directions:
Go apple picking! Nothing beats the fun fall activity or the freshness of the apples.  Of course, if you do not have time, then just pick up some Macintosh or Cortland apples from the store.  Core and chop the apples.  Do not peel the skins off.  Place in a saucepan over medium heat and add 1-cup apple cider.
Simmer with the cover on for about 8-10 minutes or until the apples are soft.  Take the cover off and simmer for a few more minutes until all the apple cider is nearly reduced. 
Pour the apples into a blender and puree them until smooth. Once blended, you should have 1 cup of applesauce.  If you have more, then place the applesauce back into the saucepan and heat until reduced to one cup.  Set aside and let the mixture cool slightly.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, blend the sugar and shortening together.  Add the egg and egg yolk, and gradually mix in the applesauce.  Then, mix in half of the flour mixture and the buttermilk, and then the remaining flour mixture.  Make sure not to over mix.  The dough should be very sticky.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat pan and smooth the dough out on top.  Cover in plastic wrap and let chill for at least two hours.  I find the dough to still be too sticky for my liking, so I usually chill it for even longer or up to overnight.  

When you are ready to make the doughnuts, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium - high heat.  Oil should reach about 350 degrees.  If the oil gets too hot then just reduce the heat so the doughnuts will not burn.  

While the oil is heating up, make the glaze and topping.  For the glaze, heat one cup of apple cider and mix in the confectioner's sugar over low heat.  For the topping, mix the sugar and cinnamon in a large, flat plate.  

Once you have made the glaze and the topping, and the oil is ready to go, it is time to take out the dough! Use doughnut cutters (or a 3 inch round cutter and a 1 inch round cutter) to cut out the doughnut shapes.  Place them onto a skimmer or spatula to slide into the oil.  Be very careful or otherwise you will burn yourself with the oil like I managed to do! 

The doughnuts will only take about 2 minutes or less on both sides.  Place them onto paper towels to drain.  You will also have all the little middle cutouts from the dough, so use them to make munchkins! Once all the doughnuts are made, dip them into the glaze and then roll them around in the sugar/cinnamon mix. 
As soon as the doughnuts are all done, eat them up! They are absolutely delicious when served fresh and warm.  Of course, I do always like to save a few so I can eat them for breakfast for a few days! :)

Now, if you want to curl up on the couch and enjoy your doughnuts with a nice cup of warm apple cider, then the following recipe is for you! Warm apple cider is so simple and easy to make, and the taste so satisfying and comforting! 
Warm Apple Cider

Ingredients: 
Half gallon of apple cider
1/4 C brown sugar 
Pinch of nutmeg and ground cloves
Orange zest (optional)
3-4 cinnamon sticks

Directions: 
Pour the apple cider into a saucepan or crock-pot over low-medium heat.  Add the brown sugar, spices, zest (if using), and cinnamon sticks.  I personally like it without the zest but many prefer to have the zest included in the cider. 

Simmer over low heat until the cider is nice and warm.  I like to let the smell fill my home so I leave the cover off of the pan and simmer the cider for at least 2 hours.  That way, the flavors really blend into the cider.  When ready to serve, use a ladle to pour the cider into mugs and stick a cinnamon stick in as a garnish.  Enjoy!

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1 comment:

  1. Oh yum, I so want to go and find and orchard and make both of these. Apples and autumn, the perfect combination.

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