One of my favorite things to do is to spontaneously invite people over. I've done it the last two weekends so I'm seeing a trend happening here! We were visiting with friends one afternoon when the conversation turned to the game Apples to Apples and before I knew it, not only did we plan to play that evening, but I was also committing to making Apple Cider Doughnuts for a crowd of about twelve! Unawares to me, I signed up to host an Apple Party!
I first heard about Apple Cider Doughnuts on a trip to New York State to visit my friend. It was in the fall so we loaded up the kiddos and headed out to the apple orchard to pick apples. The little farm store had hot apple cider and matching doughnuts that were a welcome and tasty treat after trudging through the orchard. Shelli and I talked about recreating them by using a cake doughnut recipe and substituting apple cider for the liquid called for. I don't remember that I ever did try it and I'm not sure whether she did or not. This recipe calls for reducing the apple cider before using it in the recipe. It was almost like a syrup by the time I put it in the batter! So yummy.
I hadn't found a recipe since my NY trip many years ago, but one popped up in my Reader a few days ago and I knew that I wanted to try it. (Her recipe is adapted from the Hearth Restaurant and I didn't do much different to it except use a deep fat fryer as opposed to using a pot on the stove.)
I rarely eat doughnuts –never buy them, in fact—but if you give me a recipe, I'll probably be tempted to make them, especially if they are tied to a good memory. My mom always made homemade doughnuts and cinnamon rolls and I think it's one of the coziest things you can make homemade!
I so rarely make them that I couldn't even find my doughnut cutter! So I called Lori, my neighbor who rescues me from my lack of planning all the time, and of course, she had one I could borrow. Right at her fingertips. Well, 'right at her fingertips' after she rummaged through her cookie cutter drawer …
I was so puzzled over why I couldn't find mine that I made a huge search for it after I got the dough chilling. I figured if Lori found hers hanging with her cookie cutters, perhaps mine had the same idea. Sure enough! There it was!! Doughnuts are really just 'glorified cookies' anyway, right?!
Lori's made fatter doughnuts and smaller holes and mine made skinny doughnuts and fatter holes. I like the idea of skinny doughnuts. Fewer calories, you know! ;)
Don't worry if you don't have a doughnut cutter … just use a regular glass for the doughnut and maybe a shot glass (for whiskey OR espresso shots!) for the hole. In fact, in the end, I almost wished that I had just made the holes and no doughnuts!
After they are cut from the dough, you should let the dough refrigerate for a bit. I wondered why, but realized by the time I got to the end of the bunch of them and they were getting warmer, that the dough is really sticky if it isn't refrigerated. Sticky dough is much harder to drop into hot oil and you risk burned fingers! It does take quite a bit of oil for the frying, but don't fret much about that either. If you use vegetable shortening instead of oil, the dough becomes crispier and absorbs less. And if you drain the doughnuts on paper towels, there'll be less oil as well. It's really not that bad of a deal for a one-time-a-year experience.
We dipped the tops in Cinnamon Sugar and stacked them up, but that stack quickly disappeared!
They were declared fabulous!