I have never, in my life, made doughnuts before but with the weather getting cooler and the need to wear a sweatshirt two days ago I had a HUGE craving for apple cider donuts.  There’s a farm nearby that sells warm cider doughnuts with cinnamon sugar during the fall.  Unfortunately for me, they are not available quite yet so I had to take matters into my own hands.

Since this would be my first time EVER making a doughnut, I had to seek out some help in the form of a recipe.  And knowing that baking is, pretty much, an exact science I knew I had to follow any recipe as closely as possible. (Very hard for me to do….I did end up changing the recipe a bit.)

I went through many recipes before I found the one I wanted to try and it was definitely a winner. (Thank you, Smitten Kitchen!!!)  I made a few flubs along the way but I can promise you this…my next dabble in the doughnut world will be amazing.  I can feel it!

Some things to remember:

Don’t press the dough too thin, your doughnut will lack substance and fall apart when you flip it. (Yeah, this happened to me.)

Don’t fry too long or your doughnuts will form a very crispy exterior…not necessarily a bad thing but not quite doughnut material. (Yes, this, too, happened to me.)

Be patient and wait for your doughnuts to cool a bit before dipping them in the glaze or the glaze will just melt into the doughnut…becoming one with the doughnut and disappear. (Uh, yeah…you guessed it…it happened. But only to one doughnut and I ate the evidence.)

What to do with all those holes???  Fry them up and roll them around in the cinnamon sugar mixture!!!  Eat all of them before anyone realizes the holes are missing.

After I got the hang of it I realized….I may never need to buy another doughnut again!

Glazed Apple Cider Doughnuts

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes approximately 18 doughnuts and 18 holes depending upon the size of your doughnut cutter.

For the dough:

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

1/2 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

For the glaze:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 tablespoons apple cider

For the cinnamon sugar:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup in a small sauce pan, approximately 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and let cool.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth using an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are mixed in thoroughly being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to low and add the apple cider and buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix until the dough comes together.

Generously sprinkle two baking sheets lined with parchment or wax paper with flour and place the dough on one of the baking sheets. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and flatten with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick.  You can use  more flour if the dough is still sticky. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is firm, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the freezer and cut out the doughnuts using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter and a 1-inch round cutter for the hole. Place the doughnuts and holes onto the second baking sheet. “Freeze” the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the entire container of shortening into a deep-sided pan (I used a large cast iron dutch oven.) . Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F*. Line a plate with paper towels.

While the doughnut are in the freezer, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl and lighly whisk together.  Set aside.

Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, be careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Flip the doughnuts over with a fork or tongs and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels for a few minutes after frying and dip the entire doughnut into the glaze or cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve immediately.