Doughnuts, or donuts, would not have been around in Hattie's time, at least not the versions we know of today. Some accounts have a nineteenth-century ship captain's mother creating a fried dough that was ingeniously called "doughnut," but no matter, because a variety of delicious pastries would have been enjoyed during Hattie's time. Perhaps even an ancestral version of these apple cider treats.
Did you know: "There is evidence that Celts in Britain made cider from crab apples as long ago as 3000 BCE, but the Roman invasion introduced apple cultivars and orcharding techniques to England." (GreatBritishChefs.com)
Did you know: "The first boozy concoction to come from apples was cider. Americans refer to unfiltered apple juice as apple cider and usually drink it hot with a cinnamon stick. But ask for cider in other parts of the world and you’ll get something far better: a drink as dry and bubbly as Champagne and as cold and refreshing as beer. When we drink it at all in North America, we call it hard cider to distinguish it from the nonalcoholic version, but such a distinction isn’t necessary elsewhere." (Utne.com)
I've only had our nonalcoholic American version of apple cider, and it is delicious!
Enjoy an Excerpt from "Hattie of Crooked Creek"
Hattie stared up at the early morning rays as they glistened through her watery grave. She should have known better than to ride out before the sun rose above the craggy peaks, but she had to prove herself day after day, if to no one else but herself.
Glen Meek, her foreman, scolded her two mornings ago when he learned that she’d been heading out on her own in the mornings before he and young John, his nephew, had even put their heads on the pillow from the night before.
Hattie had waved off Glen’s concern with a distracting grin and a load of grit. The McBride Ranch was Hattie’s responsibility, her late husband’s legacy, and no one would take it away from her.
Lights swam through the sky above her. If she reached out far enough, her fingers might be able to skim the surface of a star before the sun’s light washed them all away. She must have fallen into the river. Her shift clung to her body as though wet, but she knew how to swim. Why, then, did the black waters of unconsciousness seem determined to carry her away?
The raging fire burned within as her lungs expanded. The pounding on her chest surely couldn’t be good for her ribs.
“Don’t do this. Stay with me.”
Her lungs exhaled, but instead of air, water escaped from her mouth in a frenzy of coughs.
“That’s right, let it all out.”
Twigs and small rocks dug into her back, but she lay flat and ignored them. Sunlight threatened her eyes to open.
“You’re going to make it.”
What was he talking about? The words didn’t make it past her thoughts. Her lips still scorched from the heat, of what she didn’t know. Her body no longer lay upon the hard earth, and her mind began to wake to a greater awareness.
“Put me down.”
Of course, the man couldn’t hear her. She barely heard the scratchy whisper.
“I heard you, Mrs. McBride, but I’m not putting you down.”
Hattie’s arm disobeyed her when she tried to reach for the colt strapped to her hip. Her captor, though apparently strong, handled her with great care, but Hattie knew the worst of what could happen to her awaited. “So this must be Hell.”
Excerpt from "Hattie of Crooked Creek" copyright © MK McClintock
I hope you make time every now and then to escape into a good book and relax with a pot of tea, or your beverage of choice, and a tasty treat.
The Beverage: Decaf Coffee from Montana Coffee Traders with a dash of nutmeg
The Treat: Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts with Apple Cider Glaze (scroll down)
The Book: "Hattie of Crooked Creek"
Available individually, and also in e-book, paperback, and large print as part of The Women of Crooked Creek.
Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts with Apple Cider Glaze
The recipe used is from Sally's Baking Addiction, sans the topping from the recipe. The doughnuts are delicious, but the topping was far too sugary for me, so the first batch was tossed and a glaze used instead. I did dust them with powdered sugar because it's pretty, but they taste great without the extra.
The glaze is a simple combination of apple cider (American version) and confectioners' sugar. I believe the consistency is a matter of preference. I wanted something not too thin and not too thick. Combine 2 cups of the sugar and 4 Tbs. of the cider. From there, add 1/2-1 Tbs. of cider at a time until you get your desired consistency.
Allow the doughnuts to cool for about 10 minutes, then hold each one upside down and dip just the top into the glaze. Place dry-side down on foil, parchment, or a cooling rack and allow the glaze to set. Store in an air-tight container or under a covered dish to keep fresh. I have not tried freezing these yet, but I imagine they'll still be great if you allow them to thaw at room temperature.