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1½ cups apple cider
2 medium apples
2 cinnamon sticks
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1²⁄³ cups sugar, divided
3 tbsp vegan shortening
¹⁄³ cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp cinnamon, divided
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp fine salt
4 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Neutral oil for frying, such as light olive oil, canola oil or peanut oil
• Core and chop apples with peel on. Add apple cider, chopped apples and cinnamon sticks to a medium saucepan and cook covered over medium heat until apples are softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and reduce sauce for about 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. Puree the sauce in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. The resulting sauce should measure out to 1 cup. If need be, return sauce to saucepan and further reduce until you have 1 cup. Let the sauce cool slightly.
• Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
• Whisk together coconut milk, vinegar, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.
• Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together sugar and shortening until combined, about 2 minutes. Gradually add in applesauce, scraping the side of the bowl.
• Add in ½ of flour mixture on low speed, and then add the coconut milk mixture, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix until everything is combined and forms a sticky dough, about 2 minutes.
• Line a ¼ baking sheet with parchment paper and generously dust with flour. Scrape dough onto parchment and with floured hands form the dough into a rectangle about ½" thick. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 2 hours or overnight.
• Whisk remaining 1 cup of sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a shallow dish and set aside.
• Once dough has chilled, fill a heavybottomed pot with about 2 inches of oil for frying and heat over mediumhigh to 350˚F using a candy or deep-fry thermometer to measure temperature. Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan.
• Cut doughnuts out with a well-floured 2½ or 3-inch round cutter and cut out centers with a 1-inch round cutter. Re-form dough scraps and continue to cut until all of dough is used up. Fry doughnuts in small batches in the hot oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Adjust heat as needed to maintain an oil temperature of 350˚F. Transfer to the cooling rack for 30 seconds using a slotted spoon or spider strainer, then roll/coat doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
• Best served warm, but leftovers will keep through the following day if kept in an airtight container/bag at room temperature. Notes: Oil temperature is important. If the oil goes above 350˚F, the crust may get too hard and the cinnamon sugar won’t easily stick to it. I recommend using an instant-read thermometer and adjusting the heat level before, during and after each batch of doughnuts is frying.