From living in New York City for so many years, I have a strong fondness for fall’s delicious apple crops that are abundant in that region. Apple cider is an amazing and traditional way of enjoying the apples which are specifically harvested for this special drink.
Of course, make it into a fried donut and it gets even better! This apple cider donut dough is made by first reducing non-alcoholic apple cider to increase its potency. As with anything, if you find an organic or sustainable apple cider that you love, use it and the flavor will be even better.
In a saucepan over medium high heat, cook apple cider until it has reduced to 1/2 a cup, monitoring it especially near the end so you have the correct volume. Let cool.
On a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Scrape the inside of the bowl to make sure any butter bits at the bottom are scraped up. Add eggs, mix well on medium speed to emulsify the mixture, and again scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
Whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and cider reduction, and stream into the bowl while mixing on low speed. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together, then add to the mixing bowl, blending on low speed until just combined and dough is smooth.
Remove bowl from mixer and transfer dough to a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until set enough to roll on a countertop.
Lightly flour a flat surface, and place the dough on it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll it out to 0.5-0.75” thickness. Dust off any excess flour. Then, using a small round pastry cutter, cut the small donut holes out and transfer to a clean tray, keeping away from heat.
You can press the scraps together at this point and re-roll and cut the dough, just make sure you do not use more than a tablespoon or two of flour to dust the tabletop or you risk making the donuts too floury and they may end up tough or dense.
Fill a large, heavy bottomed saucepot just under halfway with vegetable oil. I like to use canola or peanut oil to fry things in, but whatever your personal preference is works fine. Place the pot with oil over medium-high heat and bring to fry temperature, about 375 degrees F. You can use a thermometer here or test using the handle end of a wooden spoon– if you stick it into the oil and it creates bubbles, the oil is ready.
Fry donut holes at this temperature, 3-4 minutes each, using a slotted metal spoon to turn them if needed. Remove from the oil once evenly golden on all sides and transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to drain.
Once all donut holes are fried, whisk together powdered sugar, cream, and cinnamon for the glaze and dip each donut in the glaze. Set them aside for the glaze to set up for a moment before serving.