Doughnuts are the perfect group cooking project. Have your friends set up an assembly line: there should be a dough making and cutting station, a safe, well-protected area for frying, a draining station and a toppings station. Once the doughnuts have been cooled and coated in cinnamon-sugar, enjoy them right away.
Canola oil, for frying
2 3⁄4 cups (14 oz./440 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1⁄4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar, plus 1⁄2 cup (4 oz./125 g) for topping
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) buttermilk
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) apple cider
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pour the oil to a depth of at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) into a deep, heavy pot and warm over medium-high heat to 375°F (190°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. Make sure the pot is no more than half full. Put a large rack on a large rimmed baking sheet and place near the stove.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, cider, melted butter and vanilla until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dough is thick.
With floured hands, transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and knead lightly until the ingredients are evenly mixed. The dough will be loose and sticky. Pat the dough into a disk 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Flour a doughnut cutter 2 1⁄4 inches (5.5 cm) in diameter and cut out the doughnuts, flouring the cutter as needed to prevent sticking. Or, use 2 round biscuit cutters, 2 1⁄4 inches (5.5 cm) and 1 1⁄4 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Scraps can be patted into a disk and cut again.
Using a flat spatula, carefully slide the doughnuts and holes, 2 or 3 at a time, into the hot oil. Fry until golden on the undersides, about 1 minute. Using a wire skimmer, flip them over and fry on the other side until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. If darkening too quickly, reduce the heat slightly. With the skimmer, transfer the doughnuts to the rack to drain.
While the doughnuts are still warm, mix the 1⁄2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar with the cinnamon in a paper bag. Add the doughnuts, and shake gently to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 1 dozen doughnuts and holes.
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