Everyone has a weakness, something that has the power to break them in half like a #2 pencil. I don't eat fried foods very often, and I rarely ever prepare something for the sake of frying it. The reason behind this has less to do with health and more to do with the fact that I turn into a Hoover vacuum cleaner whenever it's within my radar. Put a plate of ganache filled cookies in front of me and I'm happy with just one. Place an entire sweet and salty cake on the table and I'll stop after a sliver. But bring me a grease-stained, brown bag of fresh doughnuts and I can inhale the entire batch in a matter of minutes. Seriously, you won't even know what just happened. This challenge made it feel so good to be bad. :~)
The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori, of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. The recipe I used is closest to Alton Brown's. The water was replaced with apple cider, and I used butter instead of shortening.
One of the many reasons why I love being a member of the Daring Kitchen is that it forces me to step outside my comfort zone (something I take odd pleasure in doing.) Yeast and I normally don't get along very well. Too many times it has left me with half-risen breads and hockey puck biscuits. But I extended the olive branch, and we managed to work together beautifully on this recipe! Thank you, yeast. Perhaps we shall meet again someday soon.
This month's challenge was a lot of fun! I think Lori made an excellent choice for this time of year. I don't know very many people who can resist a warm doughnut and glass of fresh apple cider. The only drawback is the lingering smell. Even now, weeks later, I think I can still smell a faint fragrance of oil. It serves as a reminder to myself-"Fry not, want not." And as long as I was frying anyway, I had to drench a few doughnuts in some ganache. *Mwhahaha*
Apple Cider Doughnuts
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup apple cider, at room temperature
1/4 cup warm apple cider (about 110 degrees)
3 1/4 cups flour
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm cider in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add the flour, remaining cider, milk, butter, egg yolks, sugar, and salt until you have a soft, elastic dough that comes together easily into a ball.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Flour a clean work surface. Place the dough on the surface and roll it out. Roll until it is about 1/2 thick. Cut out as many rounds as possible using a 3-inch cookie cutter, then cut a 1-inch hole in the center of each doughnut ( I used the wide side of a frosting tip.) Do not re-roll to dough.
Place them on a parchment or silipat lined cookie sheet, cover again with the tea towel and let them rise 15-30 minutes. They should look puffy but don't need to have doubled.
Place the 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon into a large, shallow bowl. Stir together until well mixed. Set the bowl nearby.
Meanwhile, heat (to 350) about 3 inches of oil in a heavy pot. Fry the doughnuts (2 or 3 at a time works well) flipping at least once to insure that they are golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes.
Drain on paper towel lined plates or baking pans. Wait a few seconds, then roll the doughnut through the sugar/cinnamon mixture until thoroughly coated. Repeat for remaining doughnuts.
Makes about 12 doughnuts, Best enjoyed as soon as possible.