Thursday, October 20, 2011

Apple Cider Donuts + Irish Stew

Saturday was the kind of fall day that makes you want to cook. It was cool and crisp, but still warm enough to skip a jacket. Just enough to get some chill in your cheeks. Maybe it was the fact I was still on vacation, but I lulled myself into believing I should spend the whole day over a hot stove. 

Part of what was so persuasive was Katy Elliott's blog post about making apple cider donuts. She made it sound so easy (even though she DID mention crying a bit when things started going wrong), so I thought, "Heck, let's do it."

I gathered my ingredients: apple cider, buttermilk, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, eggs and butter, at room temperature. Because my blog is really about MY experience, which often goes wrong, I would recommend following Katy's instructions, but just reading my blog for examples of how things can go wrong. Because, oh yes, they can go wrong.

 I started by simmering one cup of apple cider to reduce it down. Katy said to reduce to 1/4; I think I ended up with a little more than that.

Things started to go a little bit awry when I was combining the dry ingredients, but Y'ALL, I thought on my feet and got control of the situation! The recipe called for 3 1/2 cups of flour, but I ran out of all-purpose flour after 2 1/2 cups. I had some self-rising flour, but I didn't know if that would work. I looked it up, and apparently self-rising flour is just all-purpose flour plus baking soda and salt. So I omitted those ingredients, which was pretty scary, but as you'll see, it worked out just fine.

Using my standing mixer, I beat four tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar until it was smooth.

Meanwhile, I set the cider aside to cool. P.S., if you ever want your home to smell awesome fast, just simmer some apple cider on the stove.

I added the eggs, cider and buttermilk to the butter and sugar and gradually added the flour mixture. This is where the directions confused me a bit; it said to mix just until the dough comes together. I did that, but I think it was still too wet to work correctly, so I would recommend adding ALL of the flour mixture.

Turn the dough onto a cookie sheet with flour (I lined mine with a silpat) and flatten the dough with your hands. Right, that's what the instructions said. What really happened was that the mixture was too sticky. It took foreeeevveerrrr to spread it out properly. Once I got it toward some semblance of flat, I put it in the freezer so it would be easier to work with. In 20 minutes, I took it out and used a biscuit cutter to cut circles, using my thumb to create circles in the center.

I got about six decent looking donuts before the whole thing fell apart. I became so frustrated I eventually gave up and just rolled little donut holes together.

I then boiled vegetable oil about 3 inches deep until it reached 350 degrees (on a candy thermometer). I very very carefully dropped the donuts into the oil and fried about 60 seconds per side. It's tricky to get it right, and my first two were burnt on the outside and the inside was gooey.

They didn't look as pretty as I wanted them to...for that, I think I might need one of those donut pans, but they tasted good. Not quite as cider-y as I would have hoped, but there's a hint of it there.

 Finally, I rolled the donuts in cinnamon sugar and ate way. too. many.

As soon as that was done, I turned around and started making Irish Stew, pretty much Sean's favorite food. I use his grandmother's recipe, found here. I made Sean go on a walk with me before we ate so we could fully "earn" the good stuff. We had our stew with Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale and it was good weekend eating.

1 comment:

Kate said...

That stew, looks absolutely amazing! It automatically brings me to my Grandma's dinner table on a chilly fall day! Yum :)