Consider the doughnut.
In the words of M.F.K. Fisher does it live, “a dreadful but exciting life”? Naw, probably more like a short and delicious life.
Who doesn’t love this fried confection? It is one of my favorites without a doubt. But, they are best eaten quickly after frying. It is indeed a brief and joyous time for us.
If you are planning a brunch for your friends this weekend or your tailgating starts early, might I suggest you wow them with some apple cider doughnuts? You won’t be sorry…
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Makes about 20 doughnuts and holes
Modified from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working with the dough
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
not small quantity of vegetable shortening (aka Crisco)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, reduce apple cider to about 1/4 cup. It took me about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until each is incorporated into dough.
On low speed, gradually add the apple cider and buttermilk, mixing until just combined.
Add the flour mixture, and continue to mix until dough just starts to come together.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour.
Turn the dough out onto one of those sheets and using your hands, flatten the dough until it is about 1/2-inch thick.
Add more flour, as necessary. Place the baking sheet of dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until it is slightly hardened.
Pull the dough out of the freezer, and cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnut onto the second baking sheet. Place the cut doughnuts in the refrigerator for another 20 minutes. If you need to re-roll the scraps, refrigerate them again for a while before cutting.
Add enough shortening to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 2 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side and heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F. Have a plate lined with paper towels ready to receive the fried dough.
While the shortening is heating, you can make your toppings, if you like. We made both cinnamon and sugar (self-explanatory) and a glaze of apple cider and powdered sugar. Set them aside until the doughnuts come out of the oil.
Once your frying oil is ready, carefully add just a few doughnuts at a time.
Don’t crowd the pan to ensure even frying. Fry until golden brown and gently flip to the other side. Drain on paper towels for a minute or so and then dip in toppings.
They are best if served immediately.