Forget your calendar. Forget meteorology.
The biggest indicator that fall is here is the sudden onslaught of foliage-related profile pictures and Snapchats of some foreign, hauntingly beautiful phenomenon commonly known as “rain”. Which manages to be a nuisance 90% of the time, but in September? Crack out the tea and sad Ed Sheerhan music! It’s prime time for artsy photography!
Another indicator of the seasonal shift is undoubtedly the food. People rejoice in their disposal of frozen kale; real food is back. Butter is reintroduced into daily life. It’s great.
Since I am nothing if not a bandwagon blogger, I’m hopping on this train and bringing you the most autumn-y recipe I could think of: apple cider donuts.
Because what’s more fall than apple cider? Pumpkin Spice Lattes, probably, but since I don’t identify with the Lululemon-wielding cult formed by that abomination of a “coffee” drink, I will be skipping that this season and focussing on different things. The indie bands of fall cuisine.
Donuts are a daunting thing to make if you’re half as clumsy as I am and understand that a hot vat of oil is not something you should be anywhere near. But they’re surprisingly easy to make! As long as you haven’t abandoned caution and aren’t aimlessly tossing your pastries into the oil, you should emerge with all fingers intact and some delicious baked goods.
I found a recipe from Southern Living, made my own toppings, and went ham. My kitchen still smells like oil.
Word on the street is you can also bake donuts, but where’s the fun/cholesterol in that? Go all out! It’s fall! You can live in maternity clothes for the ensuing months and people will think it’s chic!
APPLE CIDER DONUTS
makes ~22 donuts
You Will Need
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup peeled grated apple
- 1/2 cup apple butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- vegetable oil for frying
- FOR THE MAPLE GLAZE: whisk together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. maple syrup, 1 tbsp. milk, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (makes about 1 cup of glaze)
- FOR THE SPICE TOPPING: whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tbsp. cinnamon, and 1 tsp. nutmeg
- Combine the apple cider and grated apple in a small saucepan and cook until it’s reduced to about 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally. Transfer it to a small bowl and let it cool completely.
- When it’s at room temperature, whisk in the apple butter, vinegar, and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg. Mix in the flour and apple mixtures alternately, starting and ending with the flour, until just combined.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter and a 1 inch round cutter, cut donut shapes.
- Pour 2 inches of oil into a large Dutch oven (which full disclosure, I just used a big pot) and heat over medium-high heat to 350F.
- Fry donuts on both sides evenly until they are golden brown (about 45 seconds-1 minute). If you’re using the maple glaze, let cool completely before topping. If you want to go for the spice topping, coat each warm donut in the mixture evenly.