Doughnuts are all about comfort. I think it’s safe to say that we all keep a special place in our hearts for fried dough — with extra points if it’s still warm and fresh out of the fryer. These cider doughnuts are extra comforting: They’re rich, dense and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. They evoke brisk fall days and remind me of going to the local apple orchard to get cider doughnuts when I was a kid.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablesppons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Confectioner's sugar and/or cinnamon sugar to coat doughnuts (optional)
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
For the doughnuts
Using the paddle attachment for your stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating a minute after each addition.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
Pour the buttermilk, cider and vanilla extract into the sugar/butter/egg mixture in the mixer. Thoroughly mix and then add the flour mixture. Combine gently until fully moistened.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and dust generously with flour. Turn the dough out onto one baking sheet and pat gently into ¾ inch (2 cm) thickness. Sprinkle the dough with additional flour, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to firm up.
To make the glaze, reduce the apple cider and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until it’s thick and can coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and salt until fully incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Pick out two ring molds, and use them to cut the dough into desired sizes. Place the cut doughnuts on your second baking sheet as you go, then transfer to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up again.
Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels and set it nearby. In a large pot, heat 3 inches (8 cm) of oil to 370°F (188°C). Drop 3 or 4 doughnuts into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until browned on one side, about 1 minute; then flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute longer. Repeat with the remaining dough — if you find that it’s getting too soft as you work your way through the batches, cool the dough in the refrigerator. When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle but still warm, sprinkle all over with cinnamon sugar or confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately with cider glaze.