Apple Cider Doughnuts with Butterscotch

Makes 12

1/2 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup buttermilk

Vegetable oil, for frying

Cinnamon sugar:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

Butterscotch:

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/8 teaspoons salt

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Scotch

1. In a small saucepan, boil the cider for 5 minutes, until reduced to a syrupy 2 tablespoons. Set aside to cool.

2. Using an electric stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Drop in egg; mix well. Add flour, baking powder and soda, spices and salt. Mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Drizzle in cider and buttermilk; mix until just combined. Dough should hold together but be on the sticky side.

3. Scrape dough onto a sheet of parchment. Place another sheet on top. Using a rolling pin, roll dough until it's 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. Chill 30 minutes to 1 hour, until dough no longer clings to the paper.

4. Mix cinnamon sugar.

5. Make the butterscotch: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, sugar, flour and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.

6. Place egg yolk in a mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, pour half the hot milk into the yolk, then back into the pan. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken. Off heat, whisk in butter, vanilla and Scotch. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days.

7. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat at least 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Dust a second pan with flour.

7. Peel off parchment and flip dough onto a floured work surface. Remove second sheet; dust dough with flour. Using a floured biscuit or doughnut cutter, cut dough into 2 1/2-to 3-inch tubular rounds. Place them on the flour-dusted baking sheet.

8. Fry the doughnuts in batches, taking care not to crowd the pot, until golden brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on the paper towel-lined baking sheet.

9. Toss doughnuts in cinnamon sugar. Serve with warm butterscotch.

-- Stephen Collucci, "Glazed, Filled, Sugared & Dipped" (Clarkson Potter, $17.99, 160 pages)