Wisconsin Apple Cider Donuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Canola or Vegetable oil (for frying; about 4 cups)

Utensils: A 3 1/4-inch-diameter cutter, 1 1/4-inch-diameter cutter, deep-fry thermometer
 

**Do Ahead: Dough can be made one day ahead; cover and chill.
 

Directions: 

  1. Bring cinnamon sticks and apple cider to a boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until liquid is thick, syrupy, and reduced to about 1/3 cup, 20–30 minutes.
  2. Scrape into a medium bowl and whisk in apple butter, buttermilk, and vanilla until incorporated; set aside.
  3. Whisk baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, 3 1/2 cups flour, and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 2 additions, alternating with cider mixture in 2 additions, starting with dry ingredients and ending with cider mixture (dough will be very soft and sticky).
  7. Scrape dough onto a parchment lined-rimmed baking sheet thoroughly dusted with flour (about 1/3 cup). 
  8. Dust hands and top of dough with more flour, then gently pat dough to 3/4" thick.
  9. Dust with more flour and tightly cover with plastic wrap; chill dough at least 3 hours.
  10. Whisk remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon in a small bowl until no lumps remain.
  11. Working on baking sheet, punch out as many rounds as you can with 3 1/4" cutter, then use 1 1/4" cutter to punch out center of each round.
  12. Gather doughnut scraps, reserving holes, and gently re-roll without overworking dough; repeat until all dough has been used (you should have 18 doughnuts).
  13. Set a wire rack inside a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  14. Fit a large pot with deep-fry thermometer and pour in oil to a depth of 3".
  15. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°F.
  16. Working in batches, fry doughnuts until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
  17. Transfer to prepared rack and let cool slightly. 
  18. Fry doughnut holes until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
  19. Transfer to prepared rack and let cool slightly.
  20. Toss warm doughnuts and doughnut holes in cinnamon sugar.