Apple Cider Doughnuts
These sweet treats are a must-have when visiting apple orchards in the fall. But far too often the apple flavor is lost. For our homemade version, we were able to cut out the time-consuming step of boiling cider by simply stirring tart, intensely flavorful apple juice concentrate right into the dough. A slightly higher ratio of flour to liquid ingredients helped us control the dough's wetness without refrigerating it for hours to tighten it up. Using acidic buttermilk activated the leaveners and gave the doughnuts extra lift and lightness. A bit of cinnamon and nutmeg gave the right fall flavors to complement the doughnuts' sweetness. After frying them, we gave our old-fashioned doughnuts a quick toss in cinnamon sugar seasoned with a touch of salt to add a final layer of flavor and a sugary crunch.
For the coating:
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch table salt
For the doughnuts:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup thawed apple juice concentrate, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
For the coating: Whisk sugar, cinnamon and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.
For the doughnuts: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in bowl. Whisk apple juice concentrate, sugar, buttermilk, melted butter and egg together in large bowl. Whisk half of flour mixture into apple juice concentrate mixture until smooth. Add remaining flour mixture; using rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix and press dough until all flour is hydrated and no dry bits remain. (Dough can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Dust counter heavily with flour. Turn out dough onto floured counter, then dust top of dough with additional flour. Using your floured hands, gently pat dough into 1/3-inch-thick round, 10 to 11 inches in diameter. Using floured 3-inch round cutter, cut out 9 to 10 doughnut rounds. Using 1-inch round cutter, cut hole in center of each round.
Lightly dust rimmed baking sheet with flour. Transfer doughnut rounds and holes to prepared sheet. Combine dough scraps, then knead into cohesive ball and pat into 1/3-inch-thick round. Cut out two or three more doughnut rounds and holes (you should have 12 of each). Transfer to sheet and refrigerate while heating oil.
Set wire rack in second rimmed baking sheet and line half of rack with triple layer of paper towels. Add oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 1 1/2 inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Add 6 doughnut rounds and cook, flipping every 30 seconds, until deep golden brown, about two minutes. Adjust burner as needed to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees.
Using spider skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towel–lined side of prepared rack and let sit while frying remaining doughnut rounds. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining doughnut rounds.
Return oil to 350 degrees and, using spider skimmer or slotted spoon, carefully add doughnut holes to hot oil. Cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown, about two minutes. Transfer to paper towel–lined side of wire rack. Lightly toss doughnuts and doughnut holes in coating and transfer to unlined side of wire rack. Serve.
- From Cook's Country