1. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the 2 tablespoons shortening. Using a hand-held electric mixer at medium speed, mix until the shortening is cut into very fine crumbs, about 2 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and stir into the flour mixture. Gradually stir in the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour to make a soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough just until smooth, about 1 minute.
3. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place a large wire cake rack over a jelly roll pan. In a deep Dutch oven, melt vegetable shortening over high heat to a depth of 2 to 3 inches and heat it to 375°F.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, pat the dough out into a thick rectangle and dust the top with flour. Roll out the dough until 1/2 inch thick. Using a doughnut cutter, cut out the doughnuts. Or, use a 3-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out the doughnuts and a 1 1/4-inch round cutter to cut out the holes. Cut straight down, without twisting the cutter, so the doughnuts will rise properly when deep-fried. Transfer the doughnuts and holes to the waxed paper. Gather up the dough, knead gently, and reroll until all of the doughnuts have been cut out.
5. In batches, slip a metal spatula under one doughnut at a time and lower it into the hot shortening. Deep-fry without crowding, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a wire-mesh skimmer, transfer to the wire racks to drain. When all of the doughnuts have been fried, fry the doughnut holes until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let them cool completely.
6. TO MAKE THE GLAZE: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar and boiling cider together. Holding them by the edges, briefly dip the doughnuts into the glaze, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Place the doughnuts, iced sides up, on a wire cake rack to set the icing. The doughnuts are best served the day they are made.
This Orchard Buttermilk Doughnuts recipe is from the Fried & True: Crispy and Delicious Dishes from Appetizers to Desserts Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.
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