Like 100% of Americans (or, y’know, thereabouts), I harbor a slight problem with sugar. And the problem is that I like it…too much. Not enough to need medical attention, but more than I know I should. Compounding this issue is that I love baking. And I love baking things with sugar – from pies to cake to cookies to brownies. But because of my issues with sugar, which are pretty long-standing, I’d say that…hmmm…over the past four or five years, my baking efforts have nosedived. In a good way. I mean, if its not in the house, then we won’t eat it. You best believe me that if I make a batch of chocolate chip cookies on a Friday, they are gone by Monday. And that’s not good.
If there’s any silver-lining here, it’s that my baking skills remain rather limited. That’s mainly because I’m impatient in all the things. Who has the time to fold scone dough perfectly so that one’s scones turn out light and fluffy rather than hard, triangle-shaped rocks? Who has the time to watch the oven in order to prevent your brilliant white chocolate soufflé from deflating? Who has the time to mold, shape, and fry the most perfect of pillowy donuts?
I know I don’t. But let’s keep talking about donuts.
It is a very good thing that I don’t know how to make donuts, because of Every. Single. Dessert. known to man, donuts top my list of all-time favorites. Yep. You can keep your flaky pie crusts and your butter-rich cake pops and your curds and custards. Donuts are the best for three simple reasons:
- They are essentially fried bread; “fried” and “bread” are awesome.
- They come in the perfect, single-sized serving (usually).
- They come in a dazzling array of imaginative flavors.
Granted, these three clarifiers could be applied to any number of desserts, but they are at their most suitable when applied to donuts. Because donuts rule, plain and simple. (Yes, even the plain and simple donuts.)
Now, you might be thinking, “woman, if you know baking, then you know that A LOT can go wrong with donuts.” This is very true. I have had terrible donuts. No donut should weigh more than a can of soda, and no donut should be so greasy that it seeps through a stack of napkins. I have had these donuts, and they are terrible. No good. Very bad. Yes, donuts are really easy to get wrong. And that’s why, when you get a good donut…a really, really, really good donut…it’s pure joy.
As I said, it’s good that I don’t know how to make donuts, but it’s even better than I live in an area that’s not replete with donut shops. In my neck of the woods, chain shop donuts are most prominent, with Dunkin Donuts, 7-11, Wawa, and Krispy Kreme being the most populous. (Where I work, I am within walking distance of twelve Dunkin Donut shops. No lie; I counted.) I’ve had donuts from these spots: Dunkin makes a pretty good cruller; 7-11 actually has tasty apple fritters; Wawa has a great chocolate covered cake donut; and Krispy Kreme…well, you can go wrong with a fresh, hot-now glazed. But all these donuts are middling when compared to the pinnacle of donut-dom…the apex of fried, sugary bread…the most indulgent of hedonistic desserts!
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting an Amish market, you know that the Amish know fresh food and woodworking. If I was into carpentry, this might have been a very different post. But I’m not (I’m sure you’re pleased), so food is where it’s at. And specifically, fresh bread. I know how to make bread, and I think I make pretty good bread from time to time, but Amish breads live in a realm far beyond my culinary skills. By extension, Amish donuts are also a world apart from anything a chain donut shop could ever hope to offer. Far and away, it’s the actual dough that makes the donuts perfect. Their yeast donuts are layered, light, chewy, airy, and lightly brittle on the edges. Outside of toppings and filling, they aren’t very sweet either. And they are never, ever greasy. The same un-sweetness goes for their cake donuts as well, which are also light and airy, but still dense enough to be called a “cake” donut. They have a brilliantly full mouth-feel, and the best have a crispy but not cracker-y exterior. I will admit that greasiness can be a problem with the cake donuts, and fritters by extension. Personally, I tend to steer away from these varieties because of it, but I don’t necessarily believe it’s a widespread issue. (And truly, Amish apple fritters, even if slightly greasy, are probably as close to heaven as I’m ever going to get.)
As much as I enjoy donuts, I don’t eat them very often. (Truthfully, I can’t, otherwise, I’d really be in trouble.) Whenever the craving strikes, it’s only the Amish donuts that make the grade. And even then, they are only a sporadic indulgence. Maybe someday I’ll take the time to learn how to make donuts for myself. Until that day comes, I’ll stick to what I know and what other people make.
Yes, love always, donuts.