Fall Fritters

Remember when I first looked through Cook It In Cast Iron? Lots of recipes caught my attention, and it’s been an almost-permanent fixture on my kitchen counter ever since I got my own copy. (Seriously. The chocolate chip cookie is my easy dessert go-to.) 

I showed Andy the apple fritter recipe, and he was on board immediately. Apple fritters are his doughnut kryptonite. I’d never made fried doughnuts of any kind, so I was eager to try them as well. Of course, this was back in April (of 2016! I’m a terrible blogger), and since the recipe calls for apple cider, I put it on the “things to make in the fall” list. I told Bethany about my plans, and we decided that it would be the perfect Saturday morning activity.

So, while our Andys were out volunteering one morning, we made it happen.

Since I knew we’d have eager helpers, I prepped as much as I could before Bethany, Judah and Sadie arrived. I used Empires from our over-zealous apple picking, which worked well. I had everything measured out and ready to go when they arrived, so the kids could easily help add things to the bowl and mix the batter.

I’d never fried anything before this, and I was pleased to discover that it’s not nearly as intimidating as I thought it’d be. I think the biggest trick is to have everything ready to go before you start frying so you’re not scrambling to find a cookie sheet for the finished fritters when they’re ready. Having an accurate thermometer for the oil really helps too. We used Bethany’s for this project, and it made a believer out of me. (So much so that I took advantage of Thermoworks Black Friday deals last fall and purchased a ThermoPop for myself.) Once the kid-friendly activities were done, Judah lost interest in the process (until we were ready to ice the fritters), but Sadie pulled a chair up to the counter and watched us fry every fritter!

The guys came home just in time to help us eat the fritters (which I served with bacon because a Saturday breakfast without bacon is not one I want to attend), and everyone loved them. The cider in the fritters added a lot of flavor, and there were apple pieces in almost every bite. They’re not going to be an every-weekend thing, but I think we’ll make it a point to enjoy them at least once each fall.

applefritters

Apple Fritters

2 apples (6 1/2 ounces each), Granny Smith, Cortland or Empire, peeled, cored, halved and cut into 1/4″ pieces
10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 1/3 ounces (1/3 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, divided
1 cup apple cider, divided
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
8 ounces (2 cups) powdered sugar
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat the oven to 200° and place the oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and lay the apples in a single layer on the sheet. Pat the apples with a paper towel until they are nice and dry.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, one teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg together. In a separate, bowl, combine the melted butter, 3/4 cup of cider and the eggs. Whisk them until smooth.

Add the dried apple pieces to the flour mixture and toss to combine. Stir the cider mixture into the flour mixture, and mix until the wet ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet lined with a triple layer of paper towels. Set aside. Pour the oil into a 12″ cast iron skillet (you want the oil to be 1/2″ deep) and heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 325°.

When the oil is hot, grease a 1/3 cup dry measuring cup and use it to scoop five heaping mounds of batter into the oil. Use the back of a spoon to flatten the batter in the oil. Fry the fritters until they are a deep golden brown, about six to eight minutes. Flip the fritters halfway through the frying process. Be sure to maintain the oil temperature, adjusting the burner’s heat if necessary.

Transfer the finished fritters to the wire rack on the prepared sheet and move them to the oven to keep them warm while you finish the rest of the fritters. (Before adding the next batch of batter to the pan, make sure the oil is still 325°. If the oil has cooled, wait until it comes back to temperature before adding the batter.) Repeat the process with the rest of the fritters, placing them in the warm oven when they are done.

Next, prepare the glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and the remaining 1/4 cup of cider together in a large measuring cup. (You could use a bowl, but a measuring cup with a pour spout will make it easier to drizzle the icing over the fritters.) Drizzle a generous tablespoon of icing over each fritter. Allow the icing to set for 10 minutes before serving, which should give you enough time to scramble some eggs or fry some bacon to serve alongside your fritters.

From Cook it in Cast Iron

Click here for a printable version.

Doughnuts, Round Two

Remember my quest for the doughnut pan? And how Andy decided that the pumpkin doughnuts, while tasty, were just “cake”? Well, I refused to let a little detail like that get me down. After all, I don’t give up that easily. (Just ask Andy.) Since pumpkin isn’t his favorite flavor, I figured I had to give things another try. Especially if chocolate’s involved! Lucky for me, my friends are always eager to help me out, and when I mentioned that I needed to give the doughnuts another go-around to get Andy on board, they knew just what to do.

GIRLS NIGHT!

Five of us spent a wonderful evening baking, laughing and catching up. We had so much fun, and I can’t wait to do it again! (In other words, attention Jackie: Get yourself back here ASAP!) 🙂

Chocolate + doughnuts + some of my favorite people = awesome evening.

The doughnuts were good. (Not quite as good as the company, but well… that’s pretty much impossible.) They were easy to put together (a plus when you’re doing just as much talking as you are baking!), and all of the husbands loved them.

There was just one problem. Andy looked up the definition of “doughnut,” and according to him (and Mr. Webster) a doughnut is a “ring-shaped cake fried in fat.” These then, by definition, were not doughnuts, and, therefore, could probably be baked in something other a doughnut pan.

Chocolatey goodness waiting to take a dip in the glaze…

Hmm. I have one more doughnut recipe left unmade… perhaps another baking evening is in order. Who’s with  me? 🙂

Christmas Doughnuts 018
Sprinkles make everything happier. 🙂

Chocolate Doughnuts

For the doughnuts:
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark.)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla (We didn’t actually measure the vanilla… we just dumped. You can never have too much vanilla, right?)
4 tablespoons canola oil
Rainbow sprinkles, if desired (does anyone NOT desire sprinkles? Be honest here.) 

For the glaze:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray doughnut pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in the egg, milk and vanilla and stir for one minute. Stir in the oil and whisk until combined.

Fill the wells in the doughnut pan about two-thirds of the way full with the batter. Bake until doughnuts spring back when lightly touched, about 7 to 9 minutes. Turn doughnuts out on wire rack and allow to cool before dipping in the glaze. Decorate glazed doughnuts with sprinkles.

To make the glaze: Place the chocolate chips and butter in an oven-proof bowl, and place the bowl in a warm (170 degree) oven. Stir the mixture every few minutes until it is smooth and melted. Stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Use immediately.

From Milk & Honey, who adapted the recipe from Stephanie Cooks

Click HERE for a printable version!

Giving credit where it’s due: All of these photos are courtesy of my wonderful friend Lacey. They’re probably the nicest pictures this blog’s going to get. 🙂

Pumpkin Persuasion

Andy and I have an ongoing debate about pots and pans. Specifically, the number of pots and pans that should live in my kitchen cabinets. Since he puts the clean dishes away, he battles the stacks of skillets, saucepans and stock pots. (Shameless brag here… how awesome is he? I HATE emptying the drainer and putting clean dishes away. Gotta love him!) So, the last thing I need, in his eyes, is another pan perched precariously on the shelf. Especially a pan that can be used for only one thing.

But…

there are DOUGHNUTS to be made. (Yes, I realize that I could make yeasted doughnuts and skip the whole “buy a doughnut pan” issue. But that requires much more time – these cake doughnuts baked up in under an hour, start to finish – and deep frying, which I’m not a fan of.) Enter the doughnut pan debate.

Me: Oooh, look! A doughnut recipe! If only I had a doughnut pan…
Andy: You don’t NEED a doughnut pan.
Me: But you like doughnuts! Don’t you want homemade doughnuts?
Andy: Not really. And not if it means getting another pan to fit in the drawer under the stove.
Me: *sigh* Another dream bites the dust…

Thankfully, I don’t give up easily. And I have connections. My friend Emily was willing to let me borrow her doughnut pan, and I figured that if I could whip up the world’s tastiest doughnuts, I’d convince Andy to let me add a doughnut pan of my own to my collection. (Me? Scheming? Never…) 

I saw a pumpkin doughnut recipe on Milk & Honey, and it seemed too good (and too easy!) to pass up. They were moist and full of fall flavor. They came together in a snap. I made 12 full-sized doughnuts and nearly 24 doughnut “holes,” using my mini muffin pan. They were everything I’d hoped they would be… except for the fact that they did nothing to change Andy’s mind. According to him, they were just cake baked into the shape of a doughnut. Hmm. Guess that means I need to try again!

PumpkinDoughnut

Pumpkin Doughnuts

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
cinnamon-sugar mixture (I simply mixed some sugar and cinnamon together until it looked like a good ratio.) 

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a doughnut pan (or a mini muffin pan, if you’re making doughnut holes) with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the flour and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix the batter.

Fill each well in the doughnut pan about two-thirds of the way full. (I would err on the side of “less is more” with these guys. I found that overfilling the wells caused them to look less doughnut-like.) Bake doughnuts until they test done with a toothpick (somewhere in the 15-20 minute range). Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

Place the cinnamon-sugar mixture in a large Ziploc bag. Before the doughnuts are completely cool, flip them out of the pan and place them, a few at a time, in the bag with the cinnamon-sugar. Seal the bag and shake to coat the doughnuts. Remove from the bag and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the process until all doughnuts are coated.

Serve immediately. (These will get slightly soggy after a day or so, but I found that keeping some extra cinnamon-sugar on hand to toss on a day-old doughnut helped them immensely.) Store any leftover doughnuts in an airtight container.

From King Arthur Flour, via Milk & Honey