Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Glazed Apple Cider Doughnuts

Sometimes, I feel like I am doing a disservice to my family and friends (and even myself at times) by baking so many treats like alllll the time, and then having to actually EAT the things I make, and then subsequently forcing other people around me to help me out with the eating bit, since I can't actually eat everything I make. That was a long sentence, but it's ok.  I've also decided that baking large quantities of things, regardless about how healthy (or as it always is in my case, NOT healthy...), is totally ok too.  What I usually do is tell myself that this is a treat, not to worry about it, and that I will just have to go extra-hard during that day's workout.  This is then what I repeat to everyone else that I give baked goods to, and encourage them to do the same. 

Aside from this helpful little advice, I tell myself that making unhealthy treats once in a while is ok, as long as it's done in moderation.  Take these glazed apple cider doughnuts.  The last time I made doughnuts was for my sister's birthday, and that was wayyyy back in March (remember these Birthday Chocolate Glazed-Doughnuts?).  Since that was like SEVEN months ago, I figured enough time had passed that frying up a batch of doughnuts was not only justified, but also necessary.  Leave it to my sister to once again suggest a delicious and doughnut-related idea.  Glazed apple-cider doughnuts were her request, and I once again, had to oblige. Spiced cake doughnuts with an apple cider glaze seemed too delicious to even consider passing up, regardless of how many calories they had or how not-healthy they actually are.

Ok, I'm done trying to rationalize my baking addiction/unhealthy-but-delicious baking habits now.  Let's just be honest with each other now.  Fried doughnuts are bad for you.  Fried doughnuts are also really yummy.  Make them, eat one, and be happy. Yeay!

I had never made cake doughnuts before these glazed apple cider doughnuts, as I only made yeast doughnuts before (ok, to be fair, I only made yeast doughnuts once before; doughnut frying isn't really something I do very often, regardless of of whether they are of the cake or yeast variety).  I always thought I was more of a yeast doughnut kinda person, thinking that cake doughnuts were always dense and just really heavy.  When I started researching apple cider doughnuts and realized that they were almost always cake doughnuts, I'll admit that I got a little bummed out, because I was so convinced that yeast doughnuts were superior to cake doughnuts because of their fluffiness.  I decided to give this recipe a try anyway, and I was SO glad I did.  Cake doughnuts don't have to be super dense; they can be light and fluffy, just like a yeast doughnut!  

These doughnuts, since they're cake doughnuts, came together really quickly, which I was happy about. They're the perfect kind of doughnut that you can mix up whenever you get a craving for fresh doughnuts. They don't require anything you wouldn't normally have in your kitchen, except maybe the apple cider, although given that it's fall, apple cider is definitely something I'd keep in my fridge all the time!  I really loved the way these doughnuts came out.  Like I said before, they were light and fluffy, and had a delicious flavor to them.  They weren't overwhelmingly spiced or apple-y, but did have a nice subtle spiced flavor at the end. Since the doughnuts aren't too sweet on their own, covering them in an apple cider glaze was the perfect way to add some extra apple flavor and a little more sweetness.  If you don't like glazes, I think covering them in cinnamon sugar or dusting them with a little powdered sugar would make them just as delicious!  The doughnuts are easy to prepare, and once you get the hang of deep frying, there's really nothing difficult about them!  The trick is to make sure to use a candy thermometer to help gauge the temperature of the oil, and to not overcrowd the pan.  

Making a batch of glazed apple cider doughnuts is the perfect way to spend a lazy fall afternoon.  I sure enjoyed myself when I made them!  Enjoy!

Glazed Apple Cider Doughnuts
recipe from the Washington Post


For the doughnuts: 

1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups all purpose 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) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk

vegetable oil, for frying

For the glaze

1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider (may vary depending on thickness of glaze)


To begin preparing the doughnuts, add the apple cider to a small saucepan and gently reduce the apple cider over medium or medium-low heat to about 1/4 cup, about 20- 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl, and whisk together.  Set aside.  In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg has been incorporated.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the reduced apple cider and butter milk, mixing only until just combined.  Add the flour mixture to the batter, and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.  Take care not to overmix!

Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and sprinkle it generously with flour.  Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet, and sprinkle the top with more flour.  Flatten the dough with your hands until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick.  The dough might be sticky, so just use more flour if necessary. Transfer the baking sheet with the dough to the freezer until it has hardened slightly, about 30 minutes.  Pull the dough out of the freezer, and with a doughnut cutter (I just used two circle cutters), cut out the doughnut shapes and doughnut holes, and transfer them to a second baking sheet.  The dough can be re-rolled in order to cut out additional doughnuts.  Simply refrigerate the dough if it becomes too hard to work with before continuing to cut out doughnuts.  Refrigerate the cut out doughnuts for about 20 minutes.

Add enough oil to a deep sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches.  With a candy thermometer, heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees F, and have a plate or another baking sheet lined with paper towels ready.  

While the oil is heating up, prepare the apple cider glaze.  Whisk together the confectioner's sugar and apple cider in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth, and set aside. You may have to add a little more apple cider if the glaze is too thick.  If you accidentally add too much cider, just add a little more sugar.  Play around with it until you get the consistency just right!

When the oil has reached 350 degrees F, carefully add a few doughnuts at a time to the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, as this would lower the temperature of the oil too much (I fried three doughnuts at a time).  

Fry the doughnuts on the first side until they are golden brown, about 1 minute, and then carefully flip over and fry the other side until golden, about 1 more minute.  Remove the doughnuts from the oil and immediately transfer to the baking sheet with paper towels to drain.  Dip the warm doughnuts into the glaze, and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Makes about 14 doughnuts (with doughnut holes)


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