Apple Cider Doughnuts
Probably the only thing more autumnal than apple cider doughnuts is Thanksgiving itself. These two deserve each other, but seldom (if ever) get paired up because a) many of us think of doughnuts as breakfast instead of dessert, and b) frying our own doughnuts feels daunting enough on a normal day, let alone the busiest cooking day of the year. Nevertheless, they are such a treat, totally doable, and I’ve found that the post-turkey, pre-dessert, tryptophan-induced stupor is the perfect window to do the frying (once the oil is hot, it happens fast). Or, you know, give the job to someone else.
Makes: About 1 dozen
Time: About 1 hour
1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
About 8 cups neutral oil (like canola or vegetable) for frying, plus more for greasing
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Put the cider in a saucepan and boil over high heat until reduces to 1/3 cup. Let cool.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and 2/3 cup of the sugar until thick, then add the cooled cider, milk and melted butter. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing first with a whisk and then switching to your hands once it gets too thick. The dough should be sticky but hold together; if it’s too wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it comes together.
3. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead a few times. Roll it out to 1/2-inch thickness; if it contracts as you roll, let it rest for a few minutes, then try again. Dip a doughnut cutter, a 3-inch cookie cutter, or the rim of a sturdy glass in flour to cut out the doughnuts; cut out the holes with a smaller cookie cutter or shot glass (save them and fry along with the doughnuts). Knead any scraps together, being careful not to overwork, and repeat. Arrange the doughnuts on a floured or parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel while you heat the oil.
4. Place a candy thermometer inside a large heavy pot or Dutch oven and heat the oil to 375°F. Watch very carefully; too-hot oil is a fire hazard, and oil takes a while to cool down. Line racks or plates with paper towels.
5. Gently add the doughnuts to the oil, a few at a time. After 45 seconds to 1 minute, when the bottoms are deep golden, flip them with a slotted spoon and cook on the other side for another minute. Doughnut holes cook faster, less than 30 seconds per side. Transfer the doughnuts to the prepared racks and repeat with the rest of the dough, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the oil at 375°F.
6. Combine the cinnamon and remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a bowl. When the doughnuts are still hot but have cooled enough to handle, roll them in the cinnamon sugar. If you like, eat them while they’re still warm.