all glazed over, or, the great doughnut smackdown

Go ahead, take a bite.

Yeah, I know. They’re so not good for you. They’re deep-fried balls of dough coated with an obscene amount of sugar, averaging at least 300 calories each. And that’s not counting colored sprinkles or a dip into a luscious, velvety chocolate bath, or being shot in the middle with custard, cream, or jam.

But, OH! Who can resist a friendly doughnut? What’s that? You’d prefer a honey glaze?

Okay, here then:

And if you like yours filled, here’s one with strawberry:

Oh, what the heck. Just pick what you want from the menu!

There’s nothing like a warm, fresh doughnut with a cup of coffee. As soon as you bite into that soft, moist piece of heaven, it melts in your mouth, and your taste buds go into overdrive. Surely, whatever else has been troubling you disappears. There is only you, at that moment, and the delicious depth of sweet, I wanna-marry-you dough. Don’t you envy policemen?

Though I’ve dallied with the likes of apple cinnamon, lemon-filled, and chocolate, my strongest emotional connections are with the simple, glazed doughnut. They’re what I first had as a child. Whenever company came to our house, they brought along a box of yummy doughnuts with their lively talk and laughter, so I’ve always associated them with safe, happy times. I think the best glazed doughnuts I’ve ever eaten in my life were the ones from a busy little mall kiosk near my former workplace in Honolulu. They only made that one variety, but they were very large, always fresh and absolutely scrumptious.

Since living on the mainland, it’s been mostly Dunkin’ Donuts. Who doesn’t love going into a shop on a Sunday morning and picking out a dozen favorites? Visiting in-laws in New Hampshire usually involves doughnuts, too. In fact, the very first munchkins I ever had came from a DD in Bedford. I had to grab one quick before my niece and nephews devoured them all. Those little doughnut holes are just so dang cute. Did you know they’re called timbits in Canada?

But now, I need your advice. (Brace yourselves.) Though I’m a jam tart king and soup gourmand, I have never eaten a Krispy Kreme doughnut (gasp). I only first heard of them after seeing John Travolta go into that shop in “Primary Colors.” It’s not my fault. No Krispy Kreme shops anywhere near where I’ve lived. I think some of the grocery stores around here might carry them, but I want my first KK to come from a real shop — I’ve been told there is something called the “Krispy Kreme experience,” where you get to watch them baking those suckers, and I don’t want to miss that.

So, are they that good? Are they worth driving a ways to the nearest shop? Or do you think Dunkin’ Donuts are better, so I should be satisfied with them? Doughnut lovers, weigh in!

Dunkin’ Donuts,

or Krispy Kreme?

This inquiring mind really wants to know.

And while we’re at it, what’s your favorite kind of doughnut?

Oh, and for delicious, calorie-free doughnuts, check out these picture books:

1. The Donut Chef by Bob Staake (Golden Books, 2008). A battle of the bakers is finally resolved when a little girl asks for a simple glazed doughnut. Retro/art deco illos featuring a rotund baker serve up tasty nibbles with every page turn. See Jen Robinson’s review here.

2. The Great Doughnut Parade by Rebecca Bond (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). Truly marvelous things can happen when a doughnut is tied with a string. All the fun and cacaphony of an ever expanding parade is depicted in vibrant ink and watercolor illos, reminding us that a small thing can grow into something really big and amazing.

3. Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller (Henry Holt, 2003). Delve into the depths of doughnutty-ness in this zany frenzy of a book. Hilarious asides, captions, and irresistible talking pastries rendered in trademark Keller style will make you think twice about eating your next doughnut. (Cool interview with Laurie at 7-Imp is here.)

**Hey, why not make someone’s day, and surprise them with a doughnut?

36 thoughts on “all glazed over, or, the great doughnut smackdown

  1. I fondly remember Winchell’s, which is where I’d go to get a doughnut (only 25c!) for an occasional treat. Now we stick to Dunkin’ – I think there’s a Krispy Kreme somewhere in the region, but not nearby. (There was, to my amusement, a Krispy Kreme counter at Harrod’s in London last year.)

    I love glazed-raised, and also frosted cake doughnuts. I’m not as fond of the custard-filled, but otherwise, I’ll probably enjoy almost any variety (or would, when I could). I’m trying to think of the last time I allowed myself a WHOLE doughnut, though – as soon as I was old enough to realize how not-nutritionally-sound they were, I started rationing myself to just half, or a bite of someone else’s.

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  2. Crispy Creme are my favorite! We had a store close by, but it closed. Thank goodness – too much temptation! I once took my kids, nieces, and nephew to eat there, and we stayed for over an hour, just watching the doughnut machine do its thing. 🙂

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  3. Spudnuts in Charlottesville! (Except that I think they’re closed now–I don’t eat enough doughnuts to go over there.)

    My favorite would be a Dunkin Donuts plain cake doughnut.

    Krispy Kreme gives me a stomach ache.

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  4. Our Krispy Kreme closed last year. When they opened, I was like, what the heck? What’s the big deal over a doughnut? But, oh, how I loved the glazed creme filled ones. Yum.

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  5. Interesting that Krispy Kreme’s at Harrods, of all places. I read a little about the KK empire — apparently their stocks are soaring. When the going gets tough, the tough eat doughnuts! Yum on the glazed-raised :)!

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  6. Yes, I knew you grew up there. Attended West High, right? Just like my nephews. I keep meaning to ask them if they knew you. They’re in their early 30’s now. Last name: Rousseau.

    P.S. You are a munchkin!!

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  7. I favor the chocolate glazed, myself. I’m happy with the rumors that Dunkin Donuts is finally coming to CA. I liked KK the first time I had them, but I thought they lacked staying power (as in, wanting to have them every time). But clearly, this is a very individualistic thing!

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  8. I think the glazed Krispy Kremes are too sweet for my liking, but if you go the store, make sure the sign is lit-up that says “Hot Doughnuts Now!” Our local doughnut shops are called The Donut Bank and they are doing much better than Krispy Kreme here.

    My faves are Boston Cream (Chocolate Iced Custard Filled) and Chocolate Iced Cruller. Mmmm…

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  9. Tanita Says:

    I’ve never been to a KK — don’t feel bad! I remember Winchell’s doughnuts from when I was really tiny, but doughnuts weren’t something I was allowed to have at home – boo! Whenever we went on choir tours, though, I made sure to have a glazed!

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  10. We love Arnie! And all of Laurie Keller’s books. Me–chocolate old-fashioned, although sometimes just the pure old-fashioned calls to me.

    I have to say I have NEVER seen the pull of Krispy Kremes. They seem really dried out to me and heavy. Just my two cents! But, probably, you should go at least ONCE for a test run of your own.

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  11. I am one of those strange people who isn’t really turned on by donuts. Freaks my family out. They all love donuts. But, the books look good :^)

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  12. Well, Krispie Kreme is a North Carolina product as I am. So I have some history with those donuts. Sweet memories. I am gaga over the old fashioned glazed ones – they melt in your mouth.

    I like to eat healthy, though, so I do control myself! Which means I only buy if someone is having a fundraiser and I am contributing to a good cause!

    Earlier I was tempted to invest in KK but they have had their struggles. Hadn’t heard of the comeback! But I just did a quick websearch and it appear that yes, indeed they are on the up!

    Truthfully, I rarely have Dunkin’ Donunts.

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  13. I’ve heard that KK is doing okay these days. In times of stress, people go for doughnuts! The story of how the business developed over the years is interesting.

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