I have never made donuts before. Actually, not only have I not made donuts but I have not even considered making donuts. I am pretty sure I have told people that I am not much of a donut fan. However two things have changed:( 1) Side Car Donuts in Newport Beach, CA made me rethink the donut. The donuts at Side Car are truly worth eating. Flavors like Butter and Salt, Maple Bacon, Huckleberry and Chocolate Rye make we want to sample them all. Many of the donuts are made from flour sourced at Grist and Toll, an urban flour mill where a variety of heirloom grains are ground on a refurbished stone mill. (2) I started seeing recipes for Apple Cider Donuts with accompanying photos that haunt my dreams.
This is my first blog post since moving to Park City, Utah last August. I have been busy unpacking, decorating, designing a new kitchen, and beginning to learn something about gardening in the Rocky Mountain at approximately 6700 feet. I thought I would be living alone this first year while my husband finished work in Orange County. Plans changed! My son and his family are also relocating and came to live with me during transition. Several days a week I have the opportunity to care for my 3 year old grandson.
I really miss cooking and teaching classes plus keep dreaming about those Apple Cider Donuts. Yesterday morning I crept out of bed while the household slept. Out the window, I saw that during the night the mountains received a light dusting of snow and the back porch thermometer read 37 degrees. I pulled out the New York Times recipes for Apple Cider Donuts and got started. Baking at 6700 feet is different than baking at sea level in Laguna Beach. I now must modify recipes for high altitude baking and the super dry high mountain air. I decided the donuts recipe would not need modification since donuts are fried not baked and would therefore cook very quickly. No need for concern about premature rising in the oven. Frying alleviated my concern about the effect of the dry mountain air. I did have a problem with brown sugar - it was rock hard. Living at the beach for my entire adult life, I completely forgot how dry and hard brown sugar can get. Since the only quick fix required a microwave which I do not have, I decided to substitute the muscavado sugar in an unopened package. It was only just beginning to harden. I whizzed it in a blender and figured the extra ginger and molasses flavors would be a plus.
So the Apple Cider Donut adventure begins. First the ingredients.
1 cup apple cider, reduced to a 1/2 cup
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup muscavado sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 medium tart apple (I used Honeycrisp)cut in 1/4 inch cubes
Vegetable oil for frying
Reduce the cider and sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and set aside.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix together the butter, 1 cup granulated sugar & the muscavado sugar, until creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla, buttermilk and reduced cider.
Scape down the bowl and and add the sifted flour mixture. Mix just until blended with minimal handling. Remove from the mixer and add the apple chunks. Mix by hand and cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rough disk about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch think. Cut the dough with a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or one 2 1/2-inch cutter and a 1-inch cutter for the hole. Reserve the "holes."
Fill a wok or deep fryer with oil and heat to 300 degrees. Put 3-4 doughnuts in at a time and fry until deep golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes total. Fry the "holes" separately. Drain on a paper towel lined pate. Dust with the remaining sugar and cinnamon and serve warm.
I have a Breville deep fryer that works great. I could only fry 2 donuts at a time. It is important that the donuts are not forced to touch each other while cooking to allow them to get their maximum rise. The recipe suggests frying at 300 degrees which worked well however it is important to pause a bit between batches and let the oil come back to temperature.
Yumm! Perfect with coffee on a wintry morning!