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Apple Cider Doughnuts
I’ve begun this post again and again, and found that I just didn’t like what I had to say. What I was saying (and erasing) wasn’t properly or accurately expressing what I was feeling. First, I was going to apologize for my (clearing my throat) extended hiatus. I planned to explain what’s been going on around here for the past 3 months. Yes, 3 months. It’s been that long. I wanted you to know what I’ve been doing, and what’s new. But then, I decided against it. I was going to woo you with humor. Your funny-bone would have been in for the tickling of its life. You would have been gasping for air from all of the hard laughter. In fact, you would have needed recovery time after my awesome jokes. Trust me. I had my best jokes laid out. But then, I decided against it. More ideas ran through my head, and still…nothing. It was Sunday when all of this started. So I stopped and made a blender full of mint margarita. I drank it. ALL. Then the prose began to flow like hot lava. You know the kind of lava that flows every which’n where taking out everything in its path? The problem was that I was making absolutely no sense whatsoever – complete muddled thinking. I may have discovered a new language. I’ll call it “ancient gold rum”. Three bottles of water, a phone call to my Gramma, 10 purple-painted toes, and two rounds of karaoke later, I still had nothing.
Then, something occurred to me. This post is a boat-load of irony. I don’t have to wear my Hemingway hat today. It speaks volumes of its own. It’s January – the month before February. Anything with flavor is cast out for this month, and resumed February 14th in the form of any and all things covered in chocolate (check out The New. The Bold…). Despite the tenacious dieting habits that come with the first month of every year, my life without dessert would not only be agonizing, but absolutely unacceptable. After all, I’m a Dessertist, and a daily dose of the sweet stuff is cardinal.
That said, I bring to you on this January day delicious, tummy yummy, smile-inducing apple cider doughnuts. You can let the dough rise while you hit the treadmill. I’m sure your butt and gut-busting is well underway, and that’s fine for your butt and gut, and all. But you just remember, your taste buds need some attention, too. After you indulge, commit to 6 more jumping jacks. Yeah. That’ll do it.
Let’s get started.
Stuff ya need:
1 cup apple cider
3-1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1⁄4 tsp. fine sea salt (kosher salt will do)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
2⁄3 cup room temperature buttermilk (70°F to 78°F)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Cinnamon sugar – 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Bring the apple cider to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil until it is reduced to a little less than 1⁄4 cup. This can take anywhere from 6 to 11 minutes. When it’s done, pour it into a glass measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature.
Lightly oil a medium or large bowl.
Prepare the cinnamon sugar.
Combine the flour, yeast, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Cream/Beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well-combined. About 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Add the egg yolks and beat, scraping as necessary, until smooth. Add the cooled cider and buttermilk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Careful. Don’t overmix or you will have apple cider rubber rings.
Move the dough to that lightly oiled bowl from earlier or a dough-rising container if you’re fancy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough stand at room temperature until it it’s puffy and slightly risen, about 1-1⁄2 hours. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough out onto one of them and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour – keeps the stickies away.
Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1⁄2 inch thick. Sprinkle on more flour if you feel a case of the stickies coming on. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the freezer and use a a doughnut cutter (3-inch doughnut cutters are recommended) to cut as many doughnuts as you can. You’ll need a much smaller cutter for the holes of the doughnuts. Place the cut doughnuts and the doughnut holes on the second baking sheet. Re-roll and cut the scraps. Refrigerate the cut doughnuts and holes for 20 to 30 minutes before frying.
In the meantime, add 3-4 inches of oil to a deep pot. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F. Line a large plate or even another baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.
Carefully add a few doughnuts to the pot, leaving floating space (about an inch) between each. Fry until golden brown on one side, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip and continue to fry until the doughnuts are golden on both sides, another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain them on the paper towels, and repeat with the remaining doughnuts. Keep an eye on the thermometer to make sure the oil stays at a steady 350°F . Make adjustments where necessary.
Roll the warm doughnuts in cinnamon sugar and devour.