An Eastside of Rochester Tour de Donuts
I live in a little part of NYS that is so delightfully overloaded with apple orchards, cider mills, farm markets and the like, that I was able to spend an entire morning driving down one singular stretch of the east side of Rochester and stopped at FIVE different places for cider and donuts. And there are plenty more we didn't visit.
A wonderful time was had by all. My husband chauffered as I hopped out of the car every 1/2 mile or so, the baby slept, rosy-cheeked and unaware, the four year old followed me through hay mazes and 6 ft apart lines and even a mini haunted house. We completed our trek with apple picking at a local orchard, hungry and bleary eyed from our adventures.
The places we visited today: Mayer's Cider Mill, Herman's farm Market, Bauman's, Schutt's Apple Mill, and Wickham Farms. These places were chosen because A.) they make their own donuts, and B.) all but one makes their own cider. We chose one type of cider donut to sample from each place, cinnamon sugar, which we blind tasted. It was very fun.
I wanted to include a recipe here for apple cider donuts for you, but I tried and failed a NYT recipe and would never want to lead you astray. They were...not even close to passable and I'm sure it was my own recipe negligence that caused me to waste 5 1/2 cups of flour, an entire half bottle of olive oil, etc. But dry your tears, I have another apple recipe up my sleeve
to use up the peck and a half we picked at Wickham Farms.
So here we go, I'll get right into it.
Bauman's had our least favorite donut. Super powdery, cakey, and just did not taste like fall as you'd expect from a fry cake. Plus they do not make their own cider. They have a very fun little hay maze that Cohen loved and a very spooky haunted house to walk through. Those were fun (and free!!) and their pumpkins were decently priced. You get get a HUGE pumpkin for $6.99. Good stuff. But go elsewhere for donuts and cider.
Okay, I'm going to get some backlash here. Schutt's was my second least favorite donut and their cider when blind tasted was, meh. The donuts were not crisp enough, very cakey (not my thing) and the cider lacked flavor (and tasted of typical old apple juice) up front with an enjoyable quick little pinch at the end. But that's it. The lines were cray and they DID have warm kettle corn outside, so if that's your thing, do it up.
Herman's cider was the sweetest of the lot with not enough cidery pucker for our liking, but their donuts had us! We loved the warmly spiced cinnamon sugar and they had a bit more crisp and caramelization than most others we tried. Crispy on the outside and creamy within, they were just what you'd expect from a good cider donut.
Wickham Farms was a madddd house. Two full parking lots, their barnyard was sold out, but we could still do apple picking or the pumpkin patch. It was our last stop and it was just such a perfect fall day that we decided to pick apples. It was $30 for 1 1/2 pecks of an assortment of apples and a jolly hay ride that the kiddos loved. The Jonagolds were our favorite variety we picked that day. Similar in taste, size and texture to Honeycrisp, which were unavailable for picking. As far as their cider, it was our second favorite. Very appley with a good punch at the end. We loved the donuts too! Perfect cinnamon sugar coating, crisp exterior and a bit caramelized. Wickham Farms is definitely a hot spot for all the Autumn fun. It's pricey but it has become as much tradition for us now as Stoekoe's is at Christmas.
That leaves us with Mayer's Cider Mill. You guys. There was no one there and I don't know why. They had the BEST donuts and cider of the bunch, hands down. And I'd venture to say it's the best of both in the Rochester area. The donuts were teetering into funnel cake/fried dough territory with the best flavor and texture of all of them. Perhaps it's because it's the oldest place we visited today, in business since the 1860's, and maybe also because they solely focus on cider and a small selection of baked goods that makes this place the best. So if you've only been to the big names in Fall Fun around here, give this place a visit in the coming weeks and be blown away.
If you're still in the market for pumpkins and you live on the East side, might I point you in the direction of Schreiner Farms on Phillips Road? You can get a total of FIVE perfectly sized large pumpkins for carving for a whopping $7.50 total. It's unbeatable around here.
Maybe next week we will hit the west side! What are your favorites in the Rochester area or wherever you are? Leave your answers in the comment section!
Lots of Love and a belly full of Cider Donuts,
From this homebody to you,