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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween! I give you DOUGHNUTS!!


For Halloween, I am sharing with you my very own recipe for Apple Cider Yeast Doughnuts. I used Thomas Keller's recipe from The French Laundry Cookbook as my 'jumping off' point but adapted it quite liberally, so it is definitely very, very different from the original (which I'm sure is wonderful in its own right).

Now, first off, I may as well tell you that these doughnuts, if made along the lines of Keller's process, are a real, well, process. I chose to think of it as a real labour of love. In the future, I plan to try making them again and try to figure out a good way to make them with a faster method, but I like to think that the longer method helped the flavors in this really meld and concentrate.


I almost hate to admit this, but I haven't ever had an Apple Cider Doughnut. Until a couple of weeks ago I didn't even know that we had any cider mills here in Utah. I did find one though and bought two half gallons of their extremely delicious and incredible cider and while we drank the pasturized one, I had great things in mind for the 'raw' half gallon. Anyway, when Mark (aka Manggy) entered this incredible dessert offering in the Art You Eat - Autumn! Event I was obsessed all over again with the idea of apple and doughnuts.


See, here's the thing. Someone says 'cider doughnuts' and I'm just filled with a severe craving... but, for what? I don't know what they are like. Sure, I've seen some other recipes around, but I haven't had them myself. Until I started doing some more research recently I didn't even know what kind of doughnuts they were.

So... now that you know that I really don't know anything at all about cider doughnuts, if this is sacred ground I am about to stomp all over, I hope you will keep in mind that this is just one girl's opinion and should be treated as such. Don't go getting all up-in-arms at me for not knowing. I am just coming in with my own craving and seeing if I can make something to satisfy it.


So. Did I? Satisfy that craving I mean? Well. Oh YES. The research I found looked like most cider doughnuts are fried cake doughnuts - which isn't that appealing to me, but I tried anyway. So, for research purposes I used this recipe and while they were very good, they weren't even close to what I wanted. This photo is proof that I made the original, without any fiddling before stomping on that sacred ground and tradition of cider mills. I did give it a chance.

The problem was that when I thought of cider doughnuts I envisioned light, but not too airy, tall yeast doughnuts, flavored liberally with spices and tasting of apple cider and having a sticky apple cider fragrant glaze and sugary crumbs. I basically wanted to smell and taste the cider and spices in a yeast raised doughnut.

So, since I didn't find that anywhere else (but if you know of another recipe - please share!) and set out to create something to fill that void for me.


These were insanely good. I couldn't stop eating them. They were tall, with great spice and flavor, a hint of apple, but the taste of sweet candy apple on the outside. These are not diet doughnuts. These are not baked. They don't apologize for being anything but what they are - really, really good and probably getting as far from being good for you as an apple can get.


So, that is why I am introducing my Apple Cider Yeast Doughnuts to you on Halloween. That traditional day of all things sugary. Think of all the trick or treating you miss out on now as an adult - how nice would it be to show up at your family's house and be handed some fresh, hot apple cider and a nice warm, sticky doughnut while watching all the kids in their costumes.


Doughnuts are always very kid friendly in our house, so here is proof that the kiddo at my house still loves doughnuts on a Kid-Friendly Friday - and hey, there is apple involved... oh, don't look at me like that!

Since these lovely doughnuts are absolutely beautiful in my opinion, well, they are my entry into my own Art You Eat - Autumn Event. You still have until next week - November 5th - to enter your Autumn entry. It can be something you make especially for the event, or something you have already posted. You can enter as many times as you want. Read here to find out all the details!

Apple Cider Yeast Doughnuts

Day 1:
- Reduce the cider, cool to room temperature
- Using the cider, start the sponge, allow to rest
- Combine the starter and make the dough, refrigerate overnight

Day 2:
- Remove from the refrigerator, allow to rest
- Roll, cut and proof doughnuts
- Fry the doughnuts, glaze or dip in cinnamon-sugar, or do both!
- Eat, enjoy and repeat

The Starter:
1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider, reduced to 2/3 cup by bringing to a boil and then simmering for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour

The Dough:
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
4 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Canola oil for deep-frying

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine in a small bowl and mix together well.

Apple Cider Glaze:
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
3 cups confectioners' sugar

Whisk together in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Whisk well, and simmer for 5 minutes or until golden, clear, thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow dish to allow to cool slightly before dipping the doughnuts.

For the Doughnuts:
Place the reduced cider at room temperature in the bowl of a mixer. Sprinkle the yeast into the cider and whisk to dissolve. Add the flour to the bowl and, using the dough hook, mix slowly until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Transfer this sponge to a bowl, cover, and let rest and proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, until it has doubled. (You could also place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight at this point if you want.)

Part 2: Combine the yeast into the milk in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve. Place 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, the spices and the salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mixing on low speed, pour in the milk and yeast mixture, followed by the egg yolks and butter. Mix for a minute to combine.

Add the proofed sponge and the remaining flour. Continue to beat at low speed until combined. Turn up the speed slightly and knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it has formed a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl. If the dough seems wet, it may be necessary to add 1 to 2 more tablespoons flour. Cover the bowl and let the dough proof overnight in the refrigerator.

To shape the doughnuts:
Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut out the doughnuts and place them and the doughnut holes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the doughnuts with a sheet of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

At this point, the doughnuts can be frozen for several days, refrigerated, or allowed to rise at room temperature. If they're frozen, defrost them and then allow them to rise at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. They can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight, to rise slowly. When you remove them from the refrigerator, uncover them and let them finish proofing in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes. If they have not been refrigerated or frozen, they should rise at room temperature in about 15 minutes. Once proofed, they will have risen to approximately 1 inch.

To cook the doughnuts:
In a deep heavy large saucepan, heat canola oil for deep-frying to 325 degrees F. Add a couple of the doughnuts and holes to the oil - don't crowd them in - and cook for approximately 30 seconds on the first side. Flip the doughnuts and fry for 1 minute on the second side, then turn back to the first side to cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until a deep golden brown. Remove the doughnuts, drain them briefly on paper towels, and toss them in a bowl with the cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.

Dip the doughnuts while still warm directly in your choice of the glaze, the cinnamon-sugar, or both and place on a cooling rack to set for a minute. Serve while still warm.


Manggy said...

Oh, wow! That picture of them stacked together, and the ones of the perfect, perfect shimmering glaze are killing me! Send some right over-- I hate food that has to apologize! :P

Peabody said...

Yum, I love me a good apple cider doughnut!

chocolatechic said...

They look wonderful.

I think I will just purchase mine at the local grocery store.

I am the only one who will eat them, and I am not going to go to so much trouble just for myself.

The Food Librarian said...

Happy Halloween! These look so delicious! And your sons must have been in heaven!

Shari said...

That's one happy kid! I love homemade donuts, but haven't made them yet! Will have to... thanks for inspiring me.

Gabi said...

WOW! Holly I am drooling- and I am not even usually a donut fan :) See how you change my mind!
These are beautiful- I would love to get together and bake for any one of the events we share- anytime!
:) xoxo

Melanie said...

Holly, you continually amaze me! These doughnuts look terribly awesome - and I'm so impressed you gave it two rounds to perfect them. I love apple cider doughnuts - yours look better than any I have EVER had!

Aussiemuminthekitchen said...

Holl, those look INCREDIBLE! So glad to see a happy picture of Aidan too! Apple cider doughnuts sound very interesting. I've certainly never tried one of those before. I'm adding it to my list! :)

Deborah said...

I've never had an apple cider donut, either, but I've always wanted to try. I like your version better than the cake version!

kate said...

i could not be more impressed! nice. i have always wanted to make cider donuts. maybe next fall i'll actually do it!

Vanessa said...

oh my I will be sending this post to everyone I know. such a great post but its about donuts and apple cider how could you go wrong? K so I am going to make these!

Vanessa from

Jules Someone said...

Those look so amazing! Oh my.

AmyRuth said...

Sooooooo many lovely photos of lovingly made treats for the loved family! Wow You are amazing.
They look yummy even to a non-donut eater. I could certainly be tempted to partake.
Happy Baking

Kristin said...

I love apple cider doughnuts - it might be the best thing about moving to Michigan for me :) Thanks for the recipe, and thanks for your comment on You Got Served!

Madam Chow said...

I've never had a cider donut, either. Those pictures with the dripping glaze are definitely drool-worthy!

Maria said...

Love all of your photos! The doughnuts look oh so good!!

Libby said...

Oh my goodness, those glazed donuts are sheer food porn. My mouth is watering.

NKP said...

You have won my apple loving heart today. We drive up to the country sometimes, to hike with the pups. We like to stop at an old, working mill and get fresh, warm apple cider donuts. Sugary like the one your son is eating. They are soft and heavenly and wonderful.
It never occurred to me that one could make them at home. You rock!
(sorry, am I too old to say that?)
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

betty geek said...

You are my Donut Princess. Those look super duper good. OMG. *drools*

marae said...

WOW!!! you did that in your frying pan? you are my HERO!!! i have never had an apple cider donut, now i feel like i am missing out. does apple fritter count? :)

Half Baked said...

I've never made apple cider doughnuts but now I have to! These look sooo good I can almost smell them frying. yummm!!

vibi said...

Hello Holly!
Long time no hear, huh?
Listen, I'd really like to try out those donuts, but I need a little precision from you.
I am right in thinking that what Americans call "Fresh Apple Cider" is non alcoholic? Because here in Canada, cider always contains alcohol.
So are these made with unpasteurized apple juice?
Thanks for letting me know... I hope to be making those pretty soon!

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