Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homemade Apple Doughnuts

Normally at this time of year, we make a trip to visit family in Oregon. We're not going this year, and apart from missing grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts, and a few friends thrown in, we're also missing our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. There's an orchard near my mother's, that has a beautiful patch plus hayrides, a corn maze, petting zoo, bouncy castles, and our favorite - fresh apple doughnuts and steamy hot apple cider.

We're really missing those doughnuts (and our family too, of course). I thought maybe I could lessen the disappointment of not going this fall, by making apple doughnuts here at home. I'm really not sure if the doughnuts done at the orchard are a cake, or yeast variety, quite frankly they're always devoured so quickly, I've never had a chance to think about it. But, most of the apple doughnut recipes online are the deep fried variety.

The thought of six children in the kitchen with a pot of hot oil, was a little too frightening for me. So I searched around until I found a recipe for yeast doughnuts, that calls for baking instead of dipping in oil, and claims to be as good, if slightly different from, the deep fried variety. I modified it a bit, in an attempt to make them apple doughnuts. I would have preferred to use hot cider, in place of milk, but we don't currently have anything but the powdered mix-type cider on hand, and we're trying not to run to the grocery store every time we need some little ingredient, so I opted to replace part of the milk with warmed applesauce.

Here's what we ended up with:

  • 1/3 cup warm milk , 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit

  • 1 packet active dry yeast

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup warm applesauce

  • 5 cups flour

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup melted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Proof the yeast in the milk. Then, mix it in with the rest of the ingredients, adding the flour last, a little at a time. Don't over mix.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface, and knead a few times. Place the dough into a buttered mixing bowl, cover, and let rise, for about an hour, until double.

Punch the dough down. Turn it out onto a floured surface, roll it out about 1/2 inch thick, and cut it into doughnut shapes. Place the doughnuts onto a greased cookie sheet, cover, and allow to rise for another 45 minutes. Since we wanted to have doughnuts for the children, for breakfast, we put the doughnuts into the fridge overnight, and then allowed them about an hour to warm back up on the counter this morning before baking. We did however, bake the doughnut holes up last night (as a test batch).

Bake the doughnuts at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 8 minutes - just until the bottoms are browned. The tops may not look brown, but don't over bake. While they are baking, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl, and melt the butter.

Take the doughnuts from the oven. Dip them quickly into the butter, give them a toss in the sugar mixture, and serve while still warm.

While the taste is more reminiscent of a trip to the Cinnabon, than a trip to the orchard farm store, served with hot cider (sadly, still the powdered variety), as breakfast before Sunday school, they still made for a special fall treat. Our quest for the apple doughnuts we remember, can continue another day, after we've had time to go for a long walk, and burn off a few of the calories we consumed this morning.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Anonymous said...

This is our favorite donut recipe:

Apple Cider Donuts
For the doughnuts:
1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat or nonfat work fine)
Vegetable oil for frying
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider

For the doughnuts: In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto 1 of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnut shapes.
Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches and heat to 350 degrees. Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.
Make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners' sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
To fry and assemble: Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels after the doughnuts are fried. Dip the top of the warm doughnuts into the glaze and serve immediately

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Looks like a good recipe. I'm still a little afraid of working with hot oil.