Cider Donuts: A Michigan Fall Tradition

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Michigan is blessed with not only an abundance of apples but also with just about everything apples can be made into when the autumn leaves begin to fall.

From pies, strudels, crisps, and cobblers to sauces, butters, and of course, cider, Michigan’s yearly harvest is a time to explore apple’s culinary versatility and to enjoy every bite of its deliciousness.

Yet of all the great recipes you can use apples IN, perhaps one of my very favorites is one that you can enjoy apples WITH, and that would be donuts.

Cider and ________.

If you didn’t instantly fill in the blank with donuts, you probably didn’t grown up in Michigan like I did.

I grew up on cider; I grew OUT on donuts.

Whether you’ve enjoyed cider and donuts at one of Michigan’s cider mills or purchased your cider and donuts at Nino’s, there’s something about the magic of enjoying them together that’s every bit as fall as fall colors, the smell of burning leaves, football and a breath of brisk fall breeze.

Generally, bakers know cider donuts as cake donuts (versus the yeast-raised kind), and they fall into two categories: plain and cinnamon sugar (or spiced).

I prefer cinnamon sugar.

And if you want to enjoy the experience of a truly fresh, warm cider donut with a frosty glass of sweet apple cider, there’s no better way than to make one at home.

And my recipe is easy peasy. You probably have everything you need in your fridge and pantry right now.

Watch me make delicious cider donuts in this video. Find the recipe below!

Michigan Cider Donuts

Makes about a dozen 3-inch donuts

First, you will need these supplies:

  • 2 round cookie cutters, 1 – 3” and the other 1” in diameter
  • A sauce pan to fry the donuts in (It should be about 4” to 5” deep and filled half full with a vegetable oil–I use Canola Oil. Heat it to 350 F–about medium heat.)
  • A rolling pin
  • A slotted spoon or skimmer to turn the donuts over while frying and lift them from the oil once done
  • A shallow bowl filled with 1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 TBSP of ground cinnamon (presuming you’re making cinnamon sugar donuts of course)

The Recipe

2 ea Extra Large Eggs
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
2 TBSP Brown Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 TBSP Baking Powder (must be fresh)
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Ground Nutmeg (Freshly grated is even better!)
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
3 TBSP Melted Butter
½ Cup Milk (Whole or 2% will do)
3 to 4 cups Vegetable Oil ( I use Canola Oil)

Method:

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars until light and airy. Stir in the vanilla.

In two stages, stir half of the flour mixture, the milk and melted butter into the beaten egg mixture. Stir until smooth, and add the remaining half of the flour, milk and butter. The mixture should resemble a soft dough.

Let this dough rest (covered) for about 30 minutes while you flour a flat working surface and heat your oil to 350 F.

Turn the dough onto a floured counter, and lightly flour the top of the dough as well.

Gently roll out the dough to 1/2″ thick.

Flour the edge of your cookie cutters, and then cut into 3″ rounds. Cut the center out of each donut with a 1″ cookie cutter.

Gently lift up each donut with a spatula (or your hand), and carefully place it in the hot oil.

Fry each side for approximately 2 minutes or until each side is medium brown. They will float.

Once fully cooked, remove the donuts onto absorbent paper towels and then onto a service plate. If you wish to make cinnamon donuts, IMMEDIATELY place the donuts into the cinnamon sugar mixture once removing them from the hot oil (1 cup of sugar to 1 TBSP of ground cinnamon). Coat on both sides.

Your homemade cider donuts can not only taste better than some of the donuts you’ll find at the cider mill but also provide a wonderful opportunity to share special moments with your family.

Let me know how YOUR donuts turned out or if you added an ingredient or two to make this recipe your very own.