As essential to fall as the changing leaves, these apple cider doughnuts are a warm, lightly crisp treat that capture the essence of the orchard in every bite. Reduced apple cider and apple butter are paired with cinnamon and apple pie spice to create a sweetly spiced dough that fries into delightfully tender, craggy-topped golden rings.
- 3 cups (720 grams) apple cider*
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
- 3½ cups (438 grams) all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons (20 grams) baking powder
- 2¼ teaspoons (4.5 grams) ground cinnamon, divided
- 1¾ teaspoons (3.5 grams) apple pie spice, divided
- 1⅛ teaspoons (3 grams) kosher salt, divided
- ¼ cup (60 grams) whole buttermilk, room temperature
- ¼ cup (70 grams) apple butter*
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
- 4 cups (908 grams) all-vegetable shortening
- 4 cups (896 grams) vegetable oil
- In a medium saucepan, bring cider to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until cider is reduced to ½ cup (135 grams), 20 to 35 minutes. (See Notes.) Pour mixture into a heatproof liquid-measuring cup; let cool completely. (Cider will change slightly in volume and weight as it cools; add additional room temperature cider to make ½ cup [135 grams], if needed.)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and ½ cup (100 grams) sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape sides of bowl. (Mixture may look a bit broken, but batter will come together.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, 1½ teaspoons (3 grams) cinnamon, 1¼ teaspoons (2.5 grams) pie spice, and 1 teaspoon (3 grams) salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together cooled cider, buttermilk, apple butter, and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cider mixture, beating just until combined after each addition and stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Transfer dough to a heavily floured surface; fold dough on itself once just to bring it together; pat or roll to ⅜- to ½-inch thickness. Using a 3½-inch doughnut cutter dipped in flour, cut dough. Gently transfer cut dough to prepared pan. Reroll and cut scraps, flouring surface again, as necessary.
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, place shortening and oil; heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°F (180°C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.
- Working in batches of 2, fry doughnuts until golden brown, 1 to 1½ minutes per side, adjusting heat as needed. (See Notes.) Using a spider strainer, transfer doughnuts to prepared pan. Let drain and cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, combine remaining ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar, remaining ¾ teaspoon (1.5 grams) cinnamon, remaining ½ teaspoon (1 gram) pie spice, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt. Coat warm doughnuts in sugar mixture. Serve warm. Best served same day.
Notes: Since stovetops can vary, apple cider may take less or more time to reduce. Keep an eye on it, especially as it gets closer to ½ cup.
For doughnuts that are done and not doughy, an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register at least 198°F (92°C) to 200°F (93°C).