Apple Cider Donuts

I cook for practicality. I bake for love. One motive is my endless appreciation for the magic of baking chemistry, whereby a cupboard full of boring, inedible powders plus some form of dairy stirs up into a bowl of sticky goo that transforms with heat application into fluffy, chewy, sweet goodness. Surprises me every time! Mostly, though, I just love sweets, and making them at home seems a lot more economical, not to mention that it can be done under the guise of sharing. Of course I made these cookies for the office! I just kept an extra dozen at home in the freezer, for guests or whatnot!

While certain health considerations in recent years have somewhat slowed production in my little den of mad-scientist baking, I still manage to sneak in the occasional flour-and-butter-and-sugar shazam. This week’s experiment was a daring one–and technically, a tricky combination of baking & cooking–but the season demanded it. Back in the Midwest, nothing says October like apple cider & their deep-fried donut compatriots. Here in the Pacific Northwest, where apples are actually grown in abundance, the cost of cider is prohibitive, and donuts are sticky sweet things from the chain-store grocery. So when the craving hit, two of my favorite lady cooks came through, as always. Smitten Kitchen’s Apple Cider Doughnuts (I just read an article on the history of donuts in the US, and evidently the shorter spelling gained traction early on for being easier to pronounce and a better fit on store signs) and the ladies at Our Best Bites have nearly the same recipe for Apple Cider Spice Doughnuts, with slight variations in spices & frying oils. I used pumpkin spice, and a combination of crisco and sunflower oil.

While they turned out yummy and satisfying, keeping the oil at the right temperature proved difficult; a few burned in the middle of the process. It also took about 3 hours all-told, dirtied every baking sheet in the house (not to mention fully floured kids & dog & kitchen), and quickly reminded me that deep frying not only makes the house smell like a fast food joint for 3 days, but creates a big, expensive mess of oil that must somehow be stored or safely disposed of. Definitely a once-a-year adventure, but now October feels complete (lucky, since it ended 12 days ago).

apple cider donuts

Photo courtesy of the 9 y/o who ate most of the would-be-donuts dough.

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