In recent years, the humble doughnut has become a culinary canvas for all sorts of bold flavor combinations. On National Doughnut Day, we take a look at a few choice selections from around the country.
1. HALVA // UNDERWEST DONUTS
New York City
If you’re visiting Times Square, head west to 12th Avenue, where you’ll find one of the city’s best doughnut shops—inside a car wash, of all places. Underwest, run by a former sous chef, turns out an assortment of thick, rich cake doughnuts, including the Halva, a glazed doughnut topped with the nutty, tahini-based sweetmeat.
2. ROSEMARY OLIVE OIL // FŌNUTS
Fōnuts is a popular L.A. shop that specializes in baked doughnuts made with all-natural ingredients. And this is its calling card: a delicate, earthy doughnut made with crushed rosemary, olive oil, and a hint of lemon zest. If you can’t make it to southern California, try your hand at the recipe, courtesy of pastry chef Waylynn Lucas.
3. POI GLAZE // KAMEHAMEHA BAKERY
Bite into this specialty from Kamehameha Bakery and behold a soft, gooey purple cake filling. That comes from poi, a Polynesian staple made from the taro plant, that’s baked into the dough. If you’re in town, go early: The bakery opens in the wee hours and sells out quickly.
4. THE CHARLESTON // GLAZED GOURMET
Charleston, South Carolina
The Charleston, like the city it’s named for, is a southern treat through and through. It’s filled with bourbon cream, covered in a toffee glaze, and topped with crushed pralines.
5. THE DOH-NILLA // PSYCHO DONUTS
San Jose and Campbell, California
Why choose between cookies and doughnuts? The Doh-Nilla, made by the mad scientists at Psycho Donuts, is topped with vanilla frosting and Nilla wafers, and drizzled with chocolate sauce.
6. GOOEY BUTTER // STRANGE DONUTS
St. Louis, Missouri
This is the doughnut version of a St. Louis cake staple, and boy is it a hit at up-and-comer Strange Donuts. Made with cream cheese, vanilla and—you guessed it—butter, the doughnut is super rich and sweet, and appropriately gooey on top.
7. VANILLA PUDDING CURRY NERDS // STREET DONUTS
This is just one of many topping combinations visitors to Seattle’s Street Donuts can create. The mobile cart, which appears at locations throughout the city, gives customers a basket of mini doughnuts and lets them go crazy. Other toppings include Nutella, cardamom, chai, bacon, marshmallow fluff, and dulce de leche.
8. THE BOMBSHELL // GLAM DOLL DONUTS
bakery likes to spice up traditional doughnuts with bold flavors. Exhibit A: The Bombshell, filled with spiced Mexican chocolate, and topped with a vanilla glaze and cayenne pecans. It’s anything but your usual jelly-filled doughnut.
9. PINEAPPLE BASIL // RISE BISCUITS AND DONUTS
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Rise Biscuits and Donuts is a small but fast-growing chain that likes to mix in a few tasty experiments with its classic selections. One of its more colorful varieties, the Pineapple Basil, includes a basil cream filling, pineapple glaze, and pistachio topping.
10. THE FREEBIRD // GOURDOUGH’S
, which serves up doughnuts, doughnut sandwiches, doughnut burgers, and doughnut-based entrees, does not hold back. The Freebird is a testament to that spirit. It’s filled with cheese cake batter and topped with cream cheese, graham cracker crumbles, strawberries, and blackberries.
11. MEMPHIS MAFIA DONUT // VOODOO DONUTS
The lovably odd (and super-popular) Voodoo Donuts has made its name with off-the-wall doughnuts. Embodying the shop’s crude decadence, the Memphis Mafia takes dough made with banana chunks and cinnamon and tops it with peanuts, peanut butter, chocolate frosting, and chocolate chips.