3 1/4 C. flour
1 C. granulated sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
2 T. chilled vegetable shortening, plus more for deep-frying
3/4 C. buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla extract
Apple Cider Glaze:
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. apple juice, heated to boiling
To prepare doughnuts, in medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add 2 tablespoons shortening. Using hand-held electric mixer at medium speed, mix until shortening is cut into very fine crumbs, about 2 minutes.
In medium bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then stir into flour mixture. Gradually stir in remaining 1 3/4 cups flour to make soft dough. On lightly floured surface, gently knead dough just until smooth, about 1 minute.
Line baking sheet with wax paper. Place large wire rack over jellyroll pan. In deep Dutch oven, melt vegetable shortening over high heat to depth of 2 to 3 inches and heat to 375 degrees.
On lightly floured work surface, pat dough out into thick rectangle and dust top with flour. Roll out dough until 1/2 inch thick. Using doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts. Or use 3-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out doughnuts and 1 1/4-inch round cutter to cut out holes. Cut straight down, without twisting cutter, so doughnuts will rise properly when deep-fried. Transfer doughnuts and holes to wax paper. Gather up dough, knead gently and reroll until all doughnuts have been cut out. In batches, slip metal spatula under 1 doughnut at a time and lower it into hot shortening. Deep-fry without crowding, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using wire-mesh skimmer, transfer to wire rack to drain. When all doughnuts have been fried, fry doughnut holes until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let them cool completely.
Makes 12 (3-inch) doughnuts, plus 12 holes.