Reduced apple cider is the secret to perfect apple flavored glaze. Whereas many apple cider doughnuts don’t taste all that apple-like, we set out to make one that has all the acidity, sweetness and brightness of a crisp, fresh apple. Here’s how you can recreate it at home.
Start by preparing the yeast. Sprinkle it over warm water and let sit for about five minutes. At that point, you should see a layer of foam over the top of the water, meaning your yeast is alive and active. If no foamy layer appears after 10 minutes, start over with new ingredients. You don’t want to use inactive yeast in the doughnuts or they won’t have that light, fluffy texture you expect.
Once your yeast has been activated, cream the sugar and shortening in a stand mixer. Creaming is a standard mixing method that involves combining a solid fat with sugar and incorporating air until it is light and fluffy. Add the shortening to the mixer and beat it on the lowest speed, adding the sugar little by little, until it is completely incorporated into the shortening. Finally, turn the mixer to medium and beat the shortening blend until it’s light and creamy. Creaming properly before adding other ingredients is important for creating tasty cakes, cookies and doughs.
Your other ingredients come next. Add the milk, eggs, salt, spices and a third of the flour. When those are fully incorporated, start adding the rest of flour until it all comes together. When the dough is smooth and elastic, place it into a large, greased bowl and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size; this could take a couple hours. Be patient and let it fully rise before moving on. It’ll be worth it.
Next, roll out your dough on a floured surface. It’s time to start cutting out doughnut shapes. Kids love to help with this part. Lay the cut doughnuts onto wax paper or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, cover them with a clean towel, and let them rise until they are doubled in size again. (Save the doughnut holes and fry them last. They are delicious little leftovers!) Make the glaze while you’re waiting and let your house fill up with the delicious smell of sweet apple cider.
With the glaze prepared and your doughnuts risen, prepare the deep fryer and your doughnut assembly line. The doughnuts will go from the cookie sheet to the fryer, where they will fry for one minute on each side. When they are golden and fried, transfer them to paper towel-lined cooling racks to rest slightly before dipping them into the glaze. Their final stop is a cooling rack for drip-drying, or we recommend a double dip in the glaze for a stronger apple flavor.
We’d say to plate them and stack them or serve them in parchment with a napkin, but they never lasted that long in the test kitchen. Best served warm, they rested slightly before we snatched them up and enjoyed them. Double dipped apple cider glaze over a warm, flaky yeast doughnut (or doughnut hole!) is pretty hard to resist. In fact, I think I hear one calling my name.
Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts
2 envelopes (.25-ounce each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (100-110°F)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (90-100°F)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
6 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups apple cider
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
4 teaspoons apple pie spice
- Sprinkle yeast over water and let stand 5 minutes or until foamy.
- In large bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream sugar and shortening. Add yeast mixture, milk, salt, apple pie spice, eggs and 2 cups of the flour.
- Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Remove from bowl and knead for about 5 minutes, adding flour if necessary to make dough smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until double. Dough is ready if you touch it and the indentation remains.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. Cover loosely with a cloth. Let doughnuts rise again until double in size about 1 to 2 hours.
- While doughnuts rise, make glaze. In a medium saucepan, cook apple cider until the mixture is reduced to about 2/3 cup. In a large bowl, combine apple cider reduction, confectioners sugar, corn syrup and apple pie spice. Whisk until smooth.
- Heat oil in deep fryer to 375°F. Slide doughnuts into the preheated oil two at a time. Fry each doughnut about 1 minute per side. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towel lined wire racks.
- Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still warm, and set onto wire racks to drain excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up. Repeat dipping to double glaze doughnuts.
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