Apple Cider Donuts... The Fall Fatness Begins

Have you noticed that when the cold weather rolls in, so do the pounds? At least in my world there is a definite correlation between hoodies and sweets. Yes psychology 101, correlation does not mean causation. I think that lesson needs to sit on the bench for this one. Can't resist them fall flavors! They are the best.

Usually I would order a small iced latte with 2 shots of espresso. Plain and simple. Sugar is for wimps- I like my cafe pure and angry. Even when it's chilly out. All cafe is frio. But what's this on the menu? Pumpkin spice latte please! Pump that sugary goodness in there! Oh, and can you throw in that muffin too?

That's why winter is for big baggy hoodies and jackets... right? I can eat all this stuff with a clear conscious...*clutches latte

Well. As that Depeche Mode song from highschool went: 'I give in to sin cuz you gotta make this life livable.' Now go curl up on the couch with these donuts and watch the leaves change colors. Eat them while they're hot and fresh so you can enjoy a taste of fall! I used the glaze to keep that warmy gooey feeling lasting even longer. They're a lil time consuming because you gotta keep the dough cold. Other than that, they're a sinch!

Courtesy to the pawn shop across the street from my office for having such a ridiculously cute plate. Only $1.00! (Oh, and thanks G Money for waiting- I had no idea you were outside as I took my time browsing after the lunch) Thank goodness for hand-me downs :D

Apple Cider Doughnuts
adapted by Smitten Kitchen

Makes 18 doughnuts (suggested yield for a 3-inch cutter)

1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil or shortening (see my explanation in the post) for frying

Toppings (optional)

Glaze (1 cup confectioners’ sugar + 2 tablespoons apple cider)
Cinnamon sugar (1 cup granulated sugar + 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon)

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 an electric mixer on medium speed (paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one 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 baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Make sure it's nice and together or else it will be shaggy when you cut it! Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes.

Line another baking sheet with parchment or was paper. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch or 3 1/2-inch doughnut cutter — or a 3 1/2-inch round cutter for the outer shape and a 1-inch round cutter for the hole from a set like this, as I did — cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)

Add enough oil or shortening to a deep-sided pan 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. Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.

Make your toppings (if using)... while the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth; make the cinnamon sugar by mixing the two together. Set aside.

Fry and top the doughnuts.... 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 for a minute after the doughnuts are fried. Dip the top of the warm doughnuts into the glaze or cinnamon sugar mixture (if using) and serve immediately.