Photo courtesy Portland Cider Co.
Portland Cider Co. Hard Cider Donuts

Bring the cider mill experience to your oven: Whip up wholesome hard cider donuts that’ll win all your guests over, whether they are sipping cider or not.

This donut is a slightly spiked dish that’s picture-perfect in whatever sweet situation, any time of the year. For recipe creator and Portland Cider Co. marketing director Helen Lewis, the donut especially enhances warm and breezy summer evenings. “Here in the Northwest, I love to sit outside in my Adirondack chair in our backyard and enjoy my donuts by the fire pit at night, or on the deck in the morning,” Lewis says.

With a Portland Cider Co. cider as the key ingredient, Lewis recommends letting the sipper sit for a bit before reducing it so the liquid loses carbonation naturally. The zesty, subtle notes of apple stem from boiling the cider, creating a stronger flavored reduction.“The cider brings forward the delicious apple taste of these sugary, sweet donuts,” she says.

The Oregon cidery suggests using its Kinda Dry or Sorta Sweet ciders, or one of the seasonsals — which is the Strawberry Perry right now — to deliver an extra punch of flavor.

When it comes to pairing, try Portland’s Kinda Dry cider to round out the sweetness. Now, gently toss in that cinnamon sugar coating and get cozy.

Apple Cider Donuts
Makes 18-20 donuts, plus 18-20 donut holes

1 cup Portland Cider Co. Kinda Dry cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons room temperature butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil, for frying
Optional: Cinnamon sugar mixture (1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon), for topping


In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the cider to about 1/4 cup. Should take roughly 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While waiting for cider to reduce, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle generously with flour. Turn the dough onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch donut cutter — or a 3 1/2-inch round cutter for the outer shape and a 1-inch round cutter for the hole — cut out donut shapes. Place the cut donuts and donut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the donuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional donuts from the dough.)

Add enough oil to a deep-sided pot or Dutch oven to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350° F (177° C). Have ready a plate lined with several paper towels.

Carefully add a few donuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the donuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels for a minute after the donuts are fried. Dip the top of the warm donuts into a cinnamon sugar mixture (if using) and serve immediately.

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