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Designer Donuts? - moved from Boston board

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. 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

      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. 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

        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

          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

            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

              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

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

                1. re: trufflehound

                  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

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

                    1. re: Joanie

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

                      1. re: skordalia

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

                2. re: nsenada

                  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

              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

                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

                  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

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

                  1. 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

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

                      1. re: oniontears

                        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

                          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. 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

                          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

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

                            1. re: teezeetoo

                              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

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

                            2. re: celeriac

                              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. 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

                                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. 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

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

                                  1. re: jlafler

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

                                    1. re: Joanie

                                      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

                                        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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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.