Donuts (or doughnuts depending on who you want to ask) are such simple, delicious pastries. In trying to think of a good Autumn variation, the best we could come up with were fantastic apple cider doughnuts.
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 quart canola or peanut oil
- 3/4 cups white sugar and 1 tbsp + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mixed for a topping
In a medium saucepan, bring the apple cider to a boil over high heat. Let it reduce for about 7-10 minutes, or until there is only 1/4 cup left. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the shortening and the sugar with an electric beater on high for 2-3 minutes, or until it's light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add the reduced, cooled cider and buttermilk until it's combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together th flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Add the flour to the mixture gradually. Once the dough is about the consistency of chocolate chip cookie dough, place it on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll it out with a floured rolling pin. You want the dough to be about 1/2-inch thick. Add another layer of plastic wrap to the top, then place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the freezer then cut with a round cookie cutter. Use a smaller cutter, a pastry cutter, or a paring knife to cute out the center holes. Reserve those holes to cook as well because who doesn't love donut holes?
Place the dough on a lightly floured cookie sheet, then place the sheet in the fridge for now.
In a deep saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 quart of oil over medium heat. Use a candy thermometer to make sure the soil is 325 degrees. Once the oil is hot enough, drop in a few of the dough circles. Once they have risen to the top, check to see if the bottom is golden brown. Once they are, flip and let cook for less time. All in all, donuts should take about 1 minute and a half to two minutes to cook.
Remove the donuts from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and transfer them to wire racks over paper towels. Repeat this with all of the donuts and donut holes, then add the sugar and pumpkin spice topping. A word of advice: donut holes cook VERY fast, so keep an eye especially on them)