I have made them twice now, and only made small changes. They aren't exactly what I remember at the orchard, but they are still pretty tasty. They require a bit of work, so make sure you are prepared to make a mess! Also, you can either coat them with cinnamon sugar or a cider glaze. We have done both and we much prefer the glaze.
For the cider glaze, just mix 1 cup powdered sugar, with 2 tablespoons of apple cider.
Please excuse the picture... daylight was fading fast!
Apple Cider Donuts
1 Cup Apple Cider
3 1/2 Cups Flour, + additional for working surface
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg, heaping
4 TBSP Butter, softened @ room temp.
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
Shortening or Vegetable Oil for frying
In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup (I did 1/3 and it worked fine). This should take about 20 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
In medium size bowl, mix the flour, soda's, salt, and spices. Set aside.
In electric mixer, beat the sugar & butter on medium/high until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat after each addition until batter is smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the apple cider and the buttermilk. Mix until just combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until just combined.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper & sprinkle generously with flour. Pour dough onto sheet sprinkle more flour on top. Flatten with your hand until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes.
Just before taking the dough out, start to melt your *shortening, or slowly heat up your vegetable oil to 350 degrees. When dough is ready to come out of oven, use a doughnut cutter and cut out (if you don't have a doughnut cutter, you can use regular circle cookie cutters. Just use a smaller size for the inner circle).
At this point, smittenkitchen tells you to put the dough in the fridge for 20 -30 minutes longer. I have done this step, but we found that the doughnuts look better and puff up better if you put them in the oil after the first freezer stint.
When the oil is ready, carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, making sure not to crowd them. Fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds per side. Drain on paper towels. Dip the top of the warm doughnuts in cider glaze, or cinnamon sugar topping. Eat and enjoy!
* you can use shortening or oil, but smittenkitchen suggests that the shortening actually causes less oil to seep into the doughnut. I don't know if there is any validity to that theory, but I cooked with the shortening anyway. It actually made for a much easier cleanup, so that was a plus.