When you think of The Warren Conference Center & Inn you probably think of the acres of open fields where children play soccer, you may think of the access to the Ashland State Park and the beautiful trails circling the lake or the big red barn and silo sitting on Chestnut Street. Food probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind as a resident of Ashland. For us who work at The Warren Conference Center food is always the first thing we think of! Food does so much more than nourish the body. It is very social and can add to the fundamentals of human bonding. Food is shared with friends, family, acquaintances and those we have just met. On a nutritional level what we eat determines how productive and alert we can be. It also can begin a conversation with someone you have just met. It is something we need to survive, something we use to celebrate with and something that makes us happy.
Our Chef spends countless hours creating menus for our many types of events. From Weddings to afternoon breaks for our meetings, menus are created based on availability of local produce and other ingredients to provide a true culinary experience. Seasonality plays a HUGE part in our daily offerings and each day we showcase items that are at their peak in terms of flavors, colors and textures.
September brings us the start of fall. With that comes many locally grown items that can grace our table, create conversation and for some a true sense of euphoria. Apples, brussel sprouts, beets, basil, carrots, cauliflower, celery & cranberries are just a few of the ABC’s of items that peak locally in September. Here is just one local YUMMY little item that was available on one of our morning breaks this week. Try it at home and see some smiles or better yet come to The Warren Conference Center & Inn and taste one for yourself!
Apple Cider Doughnut Holes
• 2 red apples, such as Cortland or McIntosh
• 2 1/2 cups apple cider
• 3 1/2 cups all-pourpose flour, plus more for dusting
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
• 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
• 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
• 1/4 cup buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
• Vegetable oil, for frying
Core and coarsely chop the apples (do not peel). Combine with 1 1/2 cups cider in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the apples are tender and the cider is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. Measure the sauce; you should have 1 cup. (Boil to reduce further, if necessary.) Let cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
Beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the shortening in another bowl with a mixer on medium speed until sandy. Beat in the egg and yolk, and then gradually mix in the applesauce, scraping the bowl. Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix to make sticky dough; do not overmix. Form into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Simmer 1 cup cider in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar until smooth and glossy, then set aside. Mix the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside for the topping.
Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees - . Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Roll the chilled dough into 1 ½ inch balls. Place doughnuts a few at a time (do not overcrowd) into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. 1 to 2 minutes per side, adjusting the heat as needed. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.
Dip one side of each doughnut in the cider glaze, letting the excess drip off; dip just the glazed side in the cinnamon-sugar or roll all over in cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Serve warm.