Cider Mill Donuts

dsc_1117RECIPE #284, DAY #481


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Michigan Cider Donuts,” from an elusive place on the internet*

TIMING: 1 hour

DIFFICULTY: Somewhat difficult, considering working with dough and then timing the fry

TOOLS: Something to fry in, like a fryer or deep, heavy-bottomed pan with a thermometer; something to remove the donuts from the hot oil; rolling pin; 3 inch circle cookie cutter and 1 inch circle cookie cutter…


HEALTH: I have often said that the worst thing you can eat is a doughnut. Not that I never eat them, but your average doghnut has very close to zero redemption in the way of protein, fiber, or nutrients. It also tends to have a lot of empty calories, unhealthy fat, sugar, and additives. Now, home-making your donuts will help, but you should not eat donuts on a regular basis.


EXPERIENCE: In Michigan, one of the best things about the fall is cider mills. With all the apple orchards and farms, farmers take the ramping up of Halloween as high time to dig out their hay wagons, hitch them up to the oldest tractor they have around, and haul people out to the apple trees for picking. Then, they crank up the old wood cider press and let the people swat bees as they file by before purchasing their wax cup of unadulterated cider and a hot cinnamon-sugar doughnut, right out of the oil. It’s a truly magnificent tradition.

All Northern exports miss this tradition. I have finally found a certain brand of cider which comes close to the real stuff (Apple Wedge). And I have also found a really authentic-tasting recipe for those cider mill donuts. SO good.

I happened to have been coming off a bout of four migraines when I made these, so I had to resort to making doughnut holes. I also overcooked them. You can do better.

NOTES: Despite my best efforts, I could not get the sugar-cinnamon to stick to the donuts, even directly out of the oil. I suggest using a finely granulated sugar.


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 3 cups all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter and 1/2 cup milk. Set aside.
  3. In your stand mixer, beat 2 egss, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture and milk mixture, alternating until done. You will now have a soft dough. Cover it and let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in wide bowl or blate, combine 1 cup finely granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Set aside.
  6. Flour a flat, clean surface and turn out your dough. Roll it to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 12 3-inch doughnuts with 1-inch centers.
  7. Preheat 4 cups grapeseed (or peanut, canola, or safflower) oil to 350F. Lower doughnuts carefully into the oil, making sure not to crowd the surface of the oil. Fry about 2 minutes, turning,  until golden. Remove doughnuts straight into the sugar mixture. Turn to coat and set on a rack to cool.


Serve with cold or hot, mulled cider, a paper napkin, and a cool, fall day.

*Recipe changed from the original.




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