About this time of the year, I’m really missing Texas.  It’s finally cooling down and everybody is going out to the Texas State Fair to get their fried grub on!  The Texas State Fair is notorious for frying just about anything.  This year’s big draw is… wait for it…

FRIED BUBBLE GUM

Yep, we’ve seen it all now.  Gone are the days when all you consume at the fair is a corn dog and maybe a funnel cake.  No, that’s old news.  Now we’re gettin’ fancy with FRIED BUTTER and FRIED COKE.

Since I can’t go to the fair, I am channeling my inner Texan and decided to fry up some apple cider doughnuts.  You might remember that I went to the apple orchard last week to gather apples for my apple butter.  I kept a few extra apples to the side with these doughnuts in mind.

The process starts out similar to the butter.  Core and chop two apples.  No peeling needed though!  Throw them in a saucepan with some apple cider.

Let the apples cook, covered until they are soft.  Then take the lid off and let the cider reduce almost completely.

Then, use a blender or food processor to puree the apples to a sauce.  The sauce should measure out one cup.  You might have to further reduce it (I did).

Now, mix the dry ingredients.

Mix the sugar and shortening, eggs, applesauce, flour mixture, buttermilk, vanilla and there you have it.  A delicious dough.  Transfer the dough to a floured sheet and pat it out to a 7 by 11 rectangle.

Now you must practice patience.  It’s gotta chill for at least 2 hours.  Sorry people.  But good things come to those who wait.

Some of this time can be passed by making a cinnamon-sugar topping.

Phew… the 2 hours is over and not a moment too soon.  It’s time to make the donuts.  Pour some oil in a heavy pot.  Heat it up to 350 degrees.  Don’t do this on high heat…. that’s just plain dangerous.  Medium-high is good.  Cut your dough with a round cutter and use a smaller round to make the hole in the middle.

It’s time.  Gently drop the doughnuts (in batches) in the hot oil.  Fry about 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Transfer to a paper towel to drain.

After the doughnuts have drained for a minute or two, roll them all over in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Don’t forget those holes either.  Fry them, put the remaining topping in a paper bag, toss the holes in the bag, shake it up…. you know the rest.

Oh baby, oh baby.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

2 red apples
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vegetable oil, for frying

1.  Core and coarsely chop the apples.  Don’t peel.  Combine with cider in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cover and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Uncover and cook until the cider is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes more.  Puree the mixture until smooth.  Measure the sauce; you should have 1 cup.  Boil to reduce further if necessary.

2.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl.

3.  Beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the shortening in another bowl with a mixer until sandy.  Beat in the egg and yolk, gradually add the applesauce.  Beat in half of flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla then rest of flour mixture.  Mix to make a sticky dough.  DON’T OVERMIX.

4.  Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and pat into a 7-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/2 in. thick.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

5.  Meanwhile, mix remaining cup of sugar with 2 t. cinnamon in a shallow bowl for the topping.

6.  Heat 2 inches of oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until the thermometer reads 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with paper towels.  Cut the chilled dough into 12 rounds, using a floured round cutter.  Slip 2 or 3 doughnuts into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1-2 minutes per side.  Transfer to the paper towels to drain.

7.  Roll hot donuts all over in the cinnamon-sugar topping.  Serve warm.

Recipe Source:  Food Network Magazine, October 2009

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