Autumn Traditions: Apple Cider and Donuts

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Here we are in late September, my favorite season of the year, and all of the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of autumn abound.

This time of year offers things you can’t really experience any other time of the year, or for that matter, couldn’t appreciate nearly as much as when they are painted against a canvas of crisp, cool breezes, colorful leaves and the golden hues of afternoon light.

For me, nothing about this time of year makes it as easy to recall my childhood memories of fall as the smell of smoldering leaves, the taste of apple cider, and of course, warm, cinnamon donuts.

Unfortunately, as most of us in Michigan already know, our early spring hard frost and subsequent drought really did a number on our state’s apple trees and the harvest yet to be.

The good news, however, is that cider, although expensive, will be available throughout the fall.

And cider’s best partner, the donut, will be there right alongside it.

apple-cider-and-donuts

To me, nothing tastes better with cider than a great donut… especially a cinnamon sugar donut. The two together are, well, just meant for one another.

Of course, you can buy a pretty good donut, but wouldn’t it be great if you could make a great one easily?

The problem is who wants to go through all the trouble of rolling out dough, cutting it, and then carefully arranging each donut on screens for frying? Not me, and probably not you either. When was the last time you heard anyone tell you they made donuts at home? A baked birthday cake maybe, but donuts? No.

There are three kinds of donuts actually. The yeast raised is the lighter of them all and the one with the signature pale ring around its equator. It’s also typically the only one of them that’s stuffed. The second type of donut is called a “cake” donut and can be made either with a biscuit-like dough or with a batter, which is then deposited (in a ring-like form) right into the hot frying oil.

Again, a lot of work.

But what if I told you that you could have your “cake” AND eat it too! Well you can because the 3rd type of donut is very easy to make, and I have a fabulous (and delicious) recipe for you to make it at home.

I call these donuts Warm, Apple Cinnamon Fritters.

What’s great about this recipe is a number of things actually:

  1. The batter is easy to make.
  2. There’s no rolling, cutting or shaping.
  3. You can add other interesting things to the batter like raisins or nuts.
  4. They’re really addictive!

Here’s my recipe.

Warm, Apple Cinnamon Fritters

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup All-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Baking powder
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1 Extra-large egg
  • 1 Cup Cooking apple, (See Nino’s Guide to Apples) peeled, cored & chopped
  • ¼ Cup (Optional) Raisins or nuts
  • As Needed Frying oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP Ground cinnamon

Preparation:

  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  2. Add milk and egg; beat until batter is smooth.
  3. Fold in chopped apple (raisins and/or nuts if added), and then drop by tablespoon-sized portions into hot oil–about 350 – 360 F° and at least 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep–and fry for about 3 minutes or until nicely browned on all sides and cooked through.
  4. Drain well on paper towels, and then roll in mixed granulated sugar and cinnamon while still warm.
  5. Serve warm.

Enjoy these wonderful treats this fall with a glass of delicious sweet cider!