The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.
One of the first things that comes to mind when you think of New England and Fall, it’s apple picking. And a day of apple picking is never complete without eating 1 (or 30) cider donuts. I mean, apple picking is pretty exhausting. It’s important to get one’s stamina back by consuming copious amounts of cider donuts and apple cider. Last fall Mr. Kitchen Misfit and I went to Russell Orchards located in Ipswich, MA. They are famous for their hot right-out-of-the-oven cider donuts. In fact, they tell you not to open the bag of donuts right away because the steam is so hot you could burn yourself. That’s just how fresh they are.
I knew that for this challenge I needed to make cider donuts. The New Englander in me just didn’t see it any other way. I initially was going to go the baked route but couldn’t find a recipe I liked that I could bake without procuring a baking pan. The recipe I ended up using was absolutely perfect and the taste of the apple cider was AMAZING.
Apple Cider Donuts
As found via the Washington Post
- 1 cup apple cider
- 3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat or nonfat work fine)
- Canola oil for frying
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 the paddle attachment on a stand mixer beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, 1 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 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto 1 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 doughnut cutter, cut out doughnut shapes. 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 to a deep-sided pan (I used a dutch oven) 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 degrees. Place paper towels on a plate. 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 after the doughnuts are fried. Side Note: While the donuts are frying, place the remaining dough in the refrigerator. I had a couple of misshapen donuts because the dough was warm and therefore stretched A LOT.
Option #1 – Apple cider glaze – Combine 1 cup confectioners sugar and 2 tbsp apple cider. When donuts are cool enough to handle dip the tops in the glaze.
Option #2 – Cinnamon sugar dusting – Combine 4 tbsp cinnamon with 4 tbsp sugar. When donuts are cool enough to handle mix the cinnamon sugar over the donuts until fully covered.