Cara's Cucina: Spiced Apple Cider & Cider Donuts

Autumn has never tasted better as Cara makes

Autumn has never tasted better as Cara makes her own hot cider and hot cider donuts.

Spiced Apple Cider

Spiced Apple Cider

1 gallon apple cider (preferrably from your local farmer's market or pick your own apple farm)
4 cinnamon sticks
10 whole allspice berries
20 whole cloves
1 orange sliced

*Pour cider into a large stock pot. Add orange slices.
*In a small fry pan, toast spices over medium heat just until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
*Add toasted spices to cider and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*Remove cider from heat and allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.
*Strain cider and discard solids. Serve warm, or for a party, pour into a slow cooker set on low and allow guests to serve themselves!


Cara's Cider Donuts

2 c. apple cider
4 tbs butter, softened to room temperature
1 c. sugar
4 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 c. buttermilk
canola oil for frying

For cinnamon sugar coating, combine 1 c. sugar with 2 tsp. cinnamon in a brown paper bag - set aside.

*Boil cider in a small sauce pan until it is reduced by at least half - about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool
*Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.
*Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.
*Combine cooled cider, egg, applesauce and buttermilk in a separate small bowl.
*Pour half of the milk mixture into the sugar and mix, followed by half the flour. Repeat additions, mixing after each one.
*Turn dough out onto a floured surface ( it may be very sticky, don't be afraid to add some more flour) and knead a few times, then pat down until about 1/2 inch thick. Using a donut cutter, cookie cutters or a drinking glass and shot glass, cut donuts from dough, and then holes from each donut. Set each cut piece aside on another floured surface.
*Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in deep, heavy fry pan until very hot. Gently place donuts into oil, 2-3 at a time and allow to cook for about 2 minutes per side. Be VERY careful when flipping donuts - they can slip a little and will cause hot oil to splash. Remove cooked donuts from pan and place directly into bag with cinnamon sugar topping - shake bag well until donuts are completely coated. Set to drain on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Serve warm or store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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