Friday, October 28, 2011

"Fall"ing Snow

What a beautiful sight to see this morning; snow on the mountains and the lake still a brilliant blue.  Three inches on October 27 and a prediction for six more inches tomorrow is a bit early, even for me. Of course having snow this early causes a bit of anxiety. The wood is not stacked, my daffodils haven’t been planted, the entire garden needs to be put to bed, the snow blower needs to be attached to the tractor, and the deck furniture needs to be stored. It will get done, next week, when the snow has melted and the temperatures rise. Winter is not here, yet. She is just giving us fair warning. She is coming. I hear those sleigh bells ringing…

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple Cider Doughnuts

I found this recipe in the September/October issue of Yankee Magazine. These doughnuts are amazingly easy and so delicious! They are light and airy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The recipe calls for boiled apple cider which can be found online at Wood's Cider Mill* Serve doughnuts warm with a side of real maple syrup for dipping.

Vermont Apple Cider Doughnuts - Yields approx. 18 3-inch doughnuts

1 cup sugar
5 Tb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for work surface
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup boiled apple cider*
1 Tb. vanilla extract
Canola oil for frying
Cinnamon sugar (1 1/2 cups sugar mixed with 3 Tb. ground cinnamon) or confectioners' sugar


In a large mixing bowl beat together sugar and butter until mixture is pale and fluffy, 4-6 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating one minute after each. 
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Pour buttermilk, boiled cider, and vanilla into sugar/butter/egg mixture. Mix well, and don't worry if the mixture looks a bit curdled; it'll smooth itself out. Add flour mixture and combine gently just until fully moistened.

Line two baking sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper and dust generously with flour (very important to make sure the doughnuts don't stick). Turn dough out onto one baking sheet and pat gently into 3/4" thickness. Sprinkle dough with additional flour, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes to firm up. Remove dough from the freezer; use a lightly floured 3" doughnut cutter to cut out about 18 doughnuts. (You may gather the scraps and roll again as needed, but you may need to chill the dough more to firm it up.) Place cut doughnuts on the other baking sheet as you go; then transfer to the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up again.

Line a plate with a few paper towels and set it nearby. In a Dutch oven or a large pot, heat 3" of oil to 370 degrees (test with an instant-read thermometer). Drop 3 or 4 doughnuts into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook 1 minute then flip and cook 1 minute on the other side. Repeat with the remaining dough (if you find that the dough is getting too soft, refreeze for a few minutes). Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Let doughnuts cool for about 3 minutes. Roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately. 

* You can make your own boiled cider by slowly boiling 1 cup cider under low heat for approx. 30 minutes until it is reduced to  1/3 cup.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fleeting Moments

It's been raining for days. I don't mind the rain; in fact I quite enjoy the cool rainy days of fall. But when the sun comes out after days of rain and quite suddenly and unexpectedly a rainbow appears, it's utterly breathtaking! This rainbow lasted for only a few moments, but in those moments I could not look away. Pure perfection.