Now that snow is falling and the weather is shifting from pleasantly crisp to bitter cold in Chicago, I thought I’d give apples one last hurrah before breaking out the peppermint and gingerbread. This recipe from Cheers to Vegan Sweets is classic and unadulterated apple cider goodness. If you’ve ever wished the apple orchard cider donuts were vegan, this recipe is for you.
I don’t mess around with donuts; these cake donuts are fried, not baked. A soft and pillowy donut with a crunchy cinnamon sugar coating can really only be achieved by deep frying. If you’re a little anxious about frying, just remember that your kitchen will smell like a donut shop for several hours after making the donuts.
Apple Cider Donuts
From Cheers to Vegan Sweets
Makes 12 donuts
For the donuts:
2 small apples, chopped into 1⁄2-inch (1.5 cm) pieces
1 cup (235 ml) apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
11⁄2 cups (300 g) sugar
2 tablespoons (25 g) vegan shortening
2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan margarine
1⁄2 cup (115 g) vanilla flavored non-dairy yogurt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract 4 cups (500 g) flour
2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons (4.5 g) cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
2 cups (240 g) powdered sugar
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) apple cider, warm 1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 teaspoons (4.5 g) cinnamon
Vegetable oil for frying
To make donuts: Place apples, cider, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick, and purée the apples, leaving a few chunks, to make 1 cup (245 g) of thick applesauce.
Cream together sugar, shortening, and margarine. Add applesauce, yogurt, and vanilla.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually mix into the wet ingredients.
The dough should be very thick. A sticky dough won’t hold its shape while frying, so if the dough seems watery or sticky, add flour 1⁄4 cup (31 g) at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
Using a spatula, spread dough into a 10 x 14-inch (25.4 x 35.5 cm) rectangle that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours.
Once the dough is chilled, prepare your deep fryer or large pot with at least 2 inches (5 cm) of vegetable oil and heat to 350°F (180°C). Toss a small piece of dough in the oil. If it bubbles and rises to the top, the oil is ready.
Cut out donuts with a 3-inch (7.5 cm) cookie or donut cutter and make holes in the centers with a smaller cookie cutter or your finger. Fry 2 to 3 donuts at a time for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels or paper bags to catch oil drips.
To make glaze: Stir the powdered sugar with the cider in a small bowl, whisking until it forms a smooth glaze.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Submerge donuts in the glaze and let the excess drip off, then transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and coat completely.