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Designer Donuts? - moved from Boston board

BackBayGirl Jan 11, 2010 06:51 AM

Could designer doughnuts be the next "cupcake fad?" I wonder if anyone is going to open a shop like this in the Boston area. Ugh...whatever happened to a good old fashioned bakery doughnut? Oh yeah, not many bakeries that make doughnuts really exist anymore.

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  1. b
    bear RE: BackBayGirl Jan 11, 2010 07:45 AM

    Skip the "exotic" flavors and give me Donuts with a Difference, especially the chocolate cake donuts and the glazed jelly or lemon, any time. Perfection in a box.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bear
      janzy RE: bear Jan 11, 2010 08:01 AM

      After watching Chronicle the other night, I took a ride to West Roxbury to try out the donut shop they touted, Anna's Hand Cut Donuts.
      The donuts were very light, but tasteless and worse than that, the price for a dozen was outrageous. $12 for a dozen. The donut places I place on a much higher scale (Kane's, Donuts with a Difference, Verna's) are not even close to this price.

    2. nsenada RE: BackBayGirl Jan 11, 2010 08:34 AM

      I would definitely shell out the $30/dozen for Doughnut Plant doughnuts, for at least a couple of months until the next trend comes along. They were amazing, in general, especially the tres leches, and pbj ones. How the heck they inject the fillings in the center of the cake doughnuts is beyond me, and I couldn't find an entry or exit wound.

      14 Replies
      1. re: nsenada
        Joanie RE: nsenada Jan 11, 2010 10:50 AM

        I was disappointed with Doughnut Plant. I think I had an apricot one and it just didn't seem that great for $2.50 or whatever it was 3 years ago. I wish I'd known about the Chronicle show, altho I think I've heard of all the donut places. Yeah, I feel like Anna's isn't that exciting and $12 for a dozen is no bargain. Everyone needs to descend upon Diane's Bakery in Roslindale and tell that guy to start making donuts again.

        1. re: Joanie
          nsenada RE: Joanie Jan 11, 2010 10:54 AM

          It would have been convenient if Anna's was good, seeing as it's the closest independent doughnut place to home (though we do have Auntie B's, which more than makes up for it). I will definitely trek to Roslindale for some harassment if it increases my chances of getting good doughnuts. At this point, I am going to start making my own, though I'm not looking forward to smelling like oil (or tallow).

          1. re: nsenada
            Joanie RE: nsenada Jan 11, 2010 11:40 AM

            Have you been to the Westbury? I'd been meaning to try it for years and finally got breakfast there a month or two ago. Disappointed. There were all these hash dishes so I thought that must be a specialty but if they make their own, they do their best to copy Hormel's. The home fries were too mushy, super cheap brand English muffin. The (young) waitress kept calling me honey and it just felt super fake. And that owner rivals the dude at the Busy Bee with all the yelling for no good reason. Maybe I'll give it another shot but not rushing back.

            1. re: Joanie
              nsenada RE: Joanie Jan 11, 2010 12:06 PM

              Not yet, though it does sound entertaining. Auntie's Bs was so darned good I don't there's anywhere else I would go locally for breakfast. I had corned beef hash eggs benedict, with a side of french toast. Really good, and I loved the potatoes, which were crispy yet light. The only minus was the coffee, which I didn't have high hopes for in any case (it was pretty weak and flavorless). Next time I'm getting the blackberry mascarpone pecan french toast with a side of the roast beef hash.

              1. re: nsenada
                trufflehound RE: nsenada Jan 11, 2010 05:29 PM

                Isn't the owner of Auntie B's the son of Bob from Derna's?

                1. re: trufflehound
                  skordalia RE: trufflehound Jan 12, 2010 06:25 AM

                  Would love to learn more about the Derna's/Auntie B's connection. The greatness of Auntie B's is well-documented, and it seems to be pretty popular now, at least on the weekends. I went to Derna's once and had a similarly excellent breakfast- though Zen-like in its old-school purity. It's a shame that Derna's always seems to be empty- it's worth a visit for the unbelievable vintage U shaped formica counter alone.

                  1. re: skordalia
                    Joanie RE: skordalia Jan 12, 2010 10:23 AM

                    Where is Derna's? I haven't heard of it or seen it in West Rox.

                    1. re: Joanie
                      skordalia RE: Joanie Jan 12, 2010 11:07 AM

                      it's in roslindale village on South St. across from Droubi Bros.

                      1. re: skordalia
                        Joanie RE: skordalia Jan 12, 2010 11:32 AM

                        Wow, I'm clueless about that place too. Will have to investigate.

                2. re: nsenada
                  sallyt RE: nsenada Jan 11, 2010 06:48 PM

                  Auntie B's FAR surpasses the Westbury, which is tasteless, in my opinion. We live within walking distance of both, and love Auntie B's (although I agree with you about the coffee). The food at the Westbury is out of the 70's, which may explain why we ran into Mayor Menino there on Father's Day several years ago...

                  And the donuts at Anna's aren't that great, but for some reason, the donut holes are fantastic.

            2. re: Joanie
              Jpan99 RE: Joanie Jan 11, 2010 03:40 PM

              Not a Doughnut Plant fan either. Tried them many years ago, probably a couple of years after they first opened. Found them to be too heavy. The texture was too chewy, more like bread than cake.

              I like Kane's (honey dip and jelly) and Verna's too. Ohlin's in Belmont makes really good donuts, especially the honey dip and in the fall the cider donuts rock. Not a fan of anything else in the bakery however. I think Ohlin's donuts are better than Linda's in Belmont. Didn't like those at all.

              1. re: Jpan99
                nsenada RE: Jpan99 Jan 12, 2010 05:51 AM

                Coincidentally, a new colleague brought in a massive tray of Betty Ann doughnuts. They were amazing, I had a jelly, sugar raised, and cruller. The cruller was nice and crunchy on the outside, yet light, and the jelly and sugar raised had just a bit of chew, and a haunting rosewater flavor (I think that's what I tasted). Still need yuppy doughnuts, though.

                1. re: Jpan99
                  tdaaa RE: Jpan99 Jan 12, 2010 08:28 AM

                  I agree on the Ohlin's vs. Linda's, but have to add that the candy crunch donuts are great too... no more than one without insulin, though.

              2. re: nsenada
                beksis1 RE: nsenada Jan 11, 2010 05:34 PM

                I too LOVE the tres leches doughnut from the plant. It's a regular stop for me when in NYC. Two would be my limit though-I'm guessing the calorie count on one of those babies is over 500.-and definitely worth it.

              3. nsenada RE: BackBayGirl Jan 12, 2010 08:19 AM

                A colleague mentioned she saw a program (possibly Chronicle) about a doughnut maker who puts out great quality stuff, and sells it in certain stores, though they were more traditional doughnuts.

                1. nsenada RE: BackBayGirl Jan 13, 2010 12:05 PM

                  Just saw a post about Sportello - looks like they had a fancy pistachio cream filled, rosewater glazed doughnut. Might be worth investigating.

                  1. o
                    oniontears RE: BackBayGirl Jan 15, 2010 09:48 AM

                    In response the the last sentence from the OP. Why do we need Doughnut Plant (I hate how I can taste the oil it was fried in) and the like, when you can have one of these from Betty Ann in Eastie. This yeasty, hefty, greaseless delight was part of my breakfast this morning and cost me all of 50 cents. Long live good old fashioned bakery doughnuts!!!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: oniontears
                      Prav RE: oniontears Jan 15, 2010 11:02 AM

                      That looks divine. I wish it weren't so hard to access.

                      1. re: oniontears
                        autopi RE: oniontears Jan 15, 2010 12:10 PM

                        is your point that betty ann doughnuts are so great that no matter how hard it is to get there, how quickly they run out of doughnuts, and how short their hours, no one else should even bother selling doughnuts in boston?

                        or what, exactly?

                        1. re: autopi
                          oniontears RE: autopi Jan 16, 2010 06:17 AM

                          I'm just highlighting that there are still the "old-fashioned," local bakeries mentioned in the OP. I actually schlepped from west Somerville early yesterday morning and got that donut (I don't drive, either). So, yes, I go waaay out of my way for what I appreciate and want to support. My point is that choice is great, but I think we should be sure to recognize what's around us, too. I also constantly advocate for better, affordable Mexican food, so if someone could point me to fabulous options on a T or bus line, that would be wonderful and I'd would be less wanting. Unfortunately nobody has. So when all the awesome donut places proliferate around Boston, could tell them to bring the Mexican food, too?

                      2. c
                        celeriac RE: BackBayGirl Jan 15, 2010 11:32 AM

                        Man, I can't believe all the anti-Donut Plant hate. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm happy as can be with a meltingly tender-crisp cider donut, or a great jelly, etc... but that doesn't mean I can't love a carrot cake donut with cream cheese filling too! As long as they're well made, I'm an equal opportunity donut lover, and I believe my life is all the richer for it.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: celeriac
                          nsenada RE: celeriac Jan 15, 2010 11:35 AM

                          Totally agree - I'm not going to forego a "regular" doughnut for a fancy-lad doughnut. I would like the option of the white chocolate frosted, passion fruit cream filled one, though (I'm going to attempt that this weekend).

                          1. re: nsenada
                            teezeetoo RE: nsenada Jan 15, 2010 12:13 PM

                            where do you get Donut Plant or Donut Plantlike fancy donuts?

                            1. re: teezeetoo
                              nsenada RE: teezeetoo Jan 15, 2010 01:36 PM

                              Seems that Sportello has the nearest thing, but I don't know how frequently they are offered, and how many varieties. Other than that, there's nothing with the kind of ingredients and configurations of doughnut plant. I'm going to start making my own, though they will be in "stick" form - I've bent my brain from trying to figure out his method for "holelessly" filling a toroidal pastry.

                              1. re: teezeetoo
                                nsenada RE: teezeetoo Jan 15, 2010 01:38 PM

                                I guess "New York" is the short answer, as I've heard tell they don't travel well.

                            2. re: celeriac
                              bear RE: celeriac Jan 15, 2010 03:50 PM

                              I guess you have a good point. I love the simple, clean donuts from Donuts with a Difference, but I had an amazing chestnut-filled donut with browned butter glaze from Sofra a few weeks ago. Lots of room for creativity.

                            3. p
                              professor shorthair RE: BackBayGirl Jan 16, 2010 03:03 AM

                              Here is one not mentioned, Donna's Donuts in Tewksbury. Try the cheesberger donut (a chocolate glazed inside a cream filled. This is a crossover donut (old fashioned/designer). We sampled many donuts at Donna's. The consensus was the best choices are the chocolate glazed, the cream filled, the jelly filled, the cream and jelly filled and the glazed.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: professor shorthair
                                Frank Enbean RE: professor shorthair Jan 16, 2010 04:55 AM

                                I have to agree. Donna's in Tewksbury is a great choice. They are very fresh and the cheeseburger donut is always a hit!

                              2. j
                                jlafler RE: BackBayGirl Jan 16, 2010 08:05 PM

                                As far as I'm concerned, the only donut worth eating is a plain, "old fashioned" (not "cake") donut -- hot and crispy, no glaze, no jelly, no cream, no powdered sugar, nothing sicky-sweet.

                                I guess that's one reason I rarely eat donuts. Nobody makes the kind I like any more, not even the "old fashioned" donut places.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: jlafler
                                  nsenada RE: jlafler Jan 16, 2010 08:10 PM

                                  Coffee An' in Westport, CT probably fits your bill. Crispy, not greasy, moist cake - the platonic ideal.

                                  1. re: jlafler
                                    Joanie RE: jlafler Jan 20, 2010 08:04 AM

                                    Aren't old fashioned donuts inherently cake style? What am I missing?

                                    1. re: Joanie
                                      nsenada RE: Joanie Jan 20, 2010 10:14 AM

                                      They are basically a cake doughnut, but get a kind of buckled-up appearance on the outside. Here's a picture of a glazed one: http://jschumacher.typepad.com/photos...

                                      I just made a "mark one" fancy doughnut - a cruller filled with passion fruit mascarpone cream, with a white chocolate raspberry glaze. It was good, but the dough was a little tough.

                                      1. re: nsenada
                                        Joanie RE: nsenada Jan 21, 2010 03:39 AM

                                        Hmm, I can't fully tell from the picture but that choc. covered donut looked crispy on the outside and cakey in the middle which is how I picture old fashioned donuts. Speaking of which, I got an old fashioned and a buttermilk at Mike's in Forest ˙ills station yesterday and those are pretty darn good. Same as the Mike's on Tremont St. in Mission Hill, worth checking out.

                                        Why is this in the media topics, it seems pretty Boston-centric to me.

                                      2. re: Joanie
                                        jlafler RE: Joanie Jan 20, 2010 10:48 AM

                                        I think the difference is that "old fashioned" donuts use a yeast-raised dough, while cake donuts are leavened chemically (like a cake). Cake donuts are heavier and, well, cakier.

                                        1. re: jlafler
                                          nsenada RE: jlafler Jan 20, 2010 11:01 AM

                                          Yeast based ones are usually puffy, and not crispy - I've been trawling for Old Fashioned Doughnut recipes, and they all seem to call for baking powder and/or baking soda.

                                          1. re: nsenada
                                            jlafler RE: nsenada Jan 20, 2010 11:06 AM

                                            You're right. I just did a little sleuthing online, and the type of donut usually called "old fashioned" is definitely a cake donut, not a yeast donut. When I said "cake donuts," I was thinking of the type that are soft on the outside, not crispy.

                                            Obviously, I have a lot to learn about donuts.

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