Gourmet doughnuts are for 2010 what fancy cupcakes were for 2009. Pomegranate thyme and bing cherry balsamic may sound like salad dressings, and lemon chamomile creme custard may evoke thoughts of fancy teas, but they’re actually cutting edge flavors in the latest fad to hit the baking scene — doughnuts.
At Glazed Donuts Chicago, for example, mint leaves spring from the holes of iced mint mojito doughnuts. Baker Kirsten Anderson also adds grape jelly to the dough of her peanut butter and jelly doughnuts.
“You’re taking a relatively inexpensive item and you’re turning it into a luxury item,” says Anderson, whose seasonal offerings also have included butternut squash and white chocolate blueberry doughnuts.
“So maybe people can’t afford the best house or the best car, but they can go out and buy a piece of indulgence at a price they can afford.”
Fresh off the nation’s fascination with cupcakes, bakers across the country are experimenting with gourmet flavor combinations and unorthodox ingredients in doughnuts, everything from meats to Cocoa Puffs breakfast cereal.
Fancy doughnuts are becoming increasingly common. Designer doughnut shops, bakeries and related businesses have proved popular with young urbanites on both coasts, as well as large cities.
The doughnut-makers are playing with consumers’ notions of creativity and curiosity, Mullins says. “What in the world does a chamomile doughnut taste like? I don’t know if I’d want it on an every-week basis, but I’d give it a shot.”
Michelle Vazquez, owner of Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe in Miami (home to the chamomile creation, as well as a guava and cheese variety), says her doughnuts are attractive to health conscious customers who want something “a little bit higher-class than a regular doughnut.”
She uses organic ingredients, trans fat-free oil, seasonal fresh fruits, Ghiradelli chocolates and cheeses such as savory French fromage blanc and creamy Italian mascarpone.
Mark Isreal, owner of Doughnut Plant in New York City, sees doughnuts as palletes for creativity and experimentation. He created a square doughnut filled with homemade jelly. Other recent flavors have included peanut butter, roasted chestnuts, cranberries and coconut.
“The bakery is my artist’s studio in a way, where I create,” Isreal says. “You’re going to have a flavor and a texture that is totally new for a doughnut and that’s exciting.”
At Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Ore., owner Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson says the bakery puts a signature stamp on doughnuts by using sugar cereals such as Fruit Loops and bacon strips as ingredients. The shop’s bacon maple bar doughnut came to be after a discussion about mixing savory and sweet flavors.
“I walked in with some bacon one day and boom, there it was,” Pogson says. “Two strips of bacon.”
Here’s a list of some designer doughnut shops.
Frittelli’s Doughnuts & Coffee in Beverly Hills, CA http://www.frittelli.com/home.html
Glazed Donuts Chicago: http://www.glazedchicago.com/
Doughnut Plant: http://www.doughnutplant.com/
Voodoo Doughnut: http://www.voodoodoughnut.com/
Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe: http://www.mandaringourmetdonutshoppe.com/