The Spy Test Kitchens have been enjoying a breath of fresh fall air. The days have been beautiful with bright azure skies, brisk zephyrs, and a touch of frost on the windshield in the morning. It is a good time for walks with Luke the wonder dog, who was heartily tired of the hot summer. The brown, fallen leaves make poking his nose in every bush smell even more intriguing from his point of view, while more annoying to my end of the leash. Though I do enjoy trailing a curious, buoyant dog, happily trotting ahead of me, than the pokey puppy I was hauling around the neighborhood all summer long.
Luke is also fond of taking car rides. He likes going along on short excursions to the farm stand for various seasonal purchases. In the past few weeks we’ve taken trips to buy chrysanthemum plants for the front porch, pumpkins that we will never carve, and the most recent visit was to acquire more than enough apple cider to make a batch of apple cider doughnuts. There is nothing more tempting than a clutch of home-made doughnuts over a weekend. We have no steely resolve in this house as we prepare for our annual doughnut nosh.
At least we aren’t frying the doughnuts, so we can enjoy the first tastes of fall without worrying about fats and all of the cardiac dangers associated with fried foods. I love the silicone doughnut molds we have, which are bright Lego colors. That way we don’t have added temptation of orphan doughnut holes, sitting sadly on the kitchen counter, singing their alluring siren songs. I love the genius of reducing the cider on top of the stove to concentrate its flavor. This is why we like to read recipes, to gather in the vast and varied experiences of the home cooks who have cooked before! These doughnuts taste like a visit to the farm stand, without all the car windows wide open to give Luke the cheap breezy thrills of a car ride to the country: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/baked-apple-cider-donuts/
If you do want the experience of frying doughnuts, à la Homer Price (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer_Price), please take a look at Mark Bittman’s recipe for fried apple cider doughnuts. I haven’t tried this recipe, but I bet it is deelish: https://markbittman.com/recipes-1/apple-cider-doughnuts
Apple cider doughnuts only require about a cup and a half of cider. Whatever should we do with the rest of the half gallon? We are concerned about food waste, and apple cider is so delicious! Naturally our thoughts first turn to cocktails:
Apple Cider Smash: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/apple-cider-smash/
Spiked Hot Apple Cider Punch: https://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com/easy-hot-spiked-mulled-apple-cider-recipe/
And you can kill many trendy birds with this stone: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a41312899/apple-cider-spritz-recipe/
But life is not a big cocktail party, sadly. We do need to eat dinner and be civilized for the greater part of the day. This is an ingenious way to use up some cider, and do something different with sausage: https://food52.com/recipes/73115-sausage-and-apple-pie
And here is a handy dandy list of recipes, for when you are tired of apple cider, but don’t want to waste a drop: https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/recipes/2016/09/10-recipes-to-make-with-apple-cider
It is a good time for change. It’s nice to wear sweaters again. Socks! What a novelty! I even had to pull on gloves for this morning’s trot through the neighborhood. I know in November that a 36°F morning will seem balmy, but today I watched mist rising from the grass where the sun was burning off the frost, and it felt good to bundle up a little bit. It will be divine to sink our teeth into warm, sweet apple cider doughnuts, too. Welcome, fall!
“Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.”
― Hal Borland