Donuts at Dinkel’s: Biting into 88 years of experience

6 Nov

Do even a little bit of Googling, and you’re going to stumble upon Dinkel’s Bakery in Chicago very quickly.  Much has been written about Dinkel’s, and even more donuts have been eaten.  With good reason.  Dinkel’s has been offering up breakfast goods to the public since 1922!

50th Anniversary in 1972? Whoah.

It’s been said that if you’re in Chicago for one day only, Dinkel’s is the place to go for a donut.  Needless to stay, we were very excited as we set out this morning.  A bakery that’s been in business for 88 years must be doing something right, right?  Well, here’s what we found:

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Donut #1: Glazed Maple Bacon

Coffee Girl:

Like discovering the Beatles in sixth grade when I’d been listening to Barbara Streisand, tasting this donut was a game-changer.  Oh my, oh my, where have you been all my donut-loving life, Glazed Maple Bacon Donut?  And like discovering sex some time later, tasting this donut whirled me into a realm of bliss heretofore unimaginable.  What more could one possibly need, except a good cup of coffee and a witty companion?  Both of the latter were in the house with us at Dinkel’s, and the ensuing combination of flavorful donut, sweet maple glaze, genuine-article bite-sized bacon pieces, java and cohort Donut Boy resulted in a state of absolute ecstasy, broken only by Dinkel’s unfortunate chocolate frosted donuts (see below).

Donut Boy:

Imagine the best pancakes your mom ever made you, served with real maple syrup and perfectly fried bacon.  That’s what you’re getting in every bite of this donut.  The salt and grease from the bacon blend right into the maple glaze, the savory notes of the former perfectly balancing the sweetness of the latter.  As if that weren’t enough, the rich cake dough supports the whole thing, giving its powerful flavors a crunchy, smooth nest to rest upon.  Hands down, this is my favorite donut of our expeditions thus far.

Donut #2: Chocolate Frosted with Nuts

Coffee Girl:

This donut broke my heart.  Chocolate and nuts?  Could it get any better?  Yes, it could, as it turned out.  Dinkel’s chocolate frosting may bring a smile to some faces, but it made me want to gag.

Donut Boy:

There was a weirdly bitter flavor and density to the chocolate frosting, almost like the frosting one might find on a store-bought cake that’s been sitting on the shelf for a day or two.  Whereas the maple-glaze-and-bacon topping of our first donut spilled over the edges of the cake donut, the chocolate frosting on this donut simply rested in a thick slab on top of a considerably thicker cake donut.  This donut was topped with walnuts, which seemed an odd choice.  I couldn’t taste them at all, and I suspect this was because the chocolate frosting beat them into submission.  Seems like peanuts or almonds would have been a wiser, more flavorful choice.

Donut #3: Chocolate Frosted with Sprinkles

Coffee Girl:

Gag City (see above).  A waste of good sprinkles.

Donut Boy:

Pretty much the same as the chocolate frosted with nuts.  Still disliked the frosting.  Sprinkles added some texture, but, again,  way overpowered by the frosting.

Donut #4: Raspberry Jelly-Filled Bismark

Donut Boy:

After two thick, cake-y donuts, this Bismark was a great break.  The glaze was supreme: sweet and sticky.  The jelly inside was an ideal viscosity and was distributed fairly well throughout the interior of the donut.  Great raspberry flavor.  The dough of the Bismark, too, was awesomely soft.  My teeth made dents in the pastry that stayed (always good in my book).  If I hadn’t had the maple bacon, this would have been my favorite.

Donut #5: Sour Cream Donut

Coffee Girl:

This donut was a good time.  Very high rating on the Crunchy Scale, which balanced very nicely with the sweet cake of the donut.  A sturdy, friendly donut — ideal as a companion to the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee I smuggled in.

Donut Boy:

Simple, but good.  Not as thick as the chocolate frosted donuts we had.  Great crunch on the outside.  The dough was more delectable than your standard cake donut.  As mentioned, blended nicely with coffee.

Donut #6: Apple Cinnamon Spice

Donut Boy:

This donut was amply coated in cinnamon, which I like.  This gave it unparalleled texture.  It simply felt good on my tongue.  The apple flavor, in contrast, was not as strong, but both flavors were distinctly present.  Certainly a seasonal thing, but worth checking out, especially if cinnamon is your bag.

Donut #7: Apple Fritter

Coffee Girl:

All right, can we call a spade a spade?  Which is to say, can we call a donut a donut?  Let’s be honest, it’s the grease and the sugar that make us all happy in Donut Land.  The outstanding aspects of this apple fritter all relate to the fact that one is not forced to traverse over much donut before one encounters another patch of crunchy sweetness.  Dinkel’s delivers an excellent ratio of cake to crunch.  The apple taste smacks of the genuine article, fresh and fruity.  Delightful.  I wish I had another right now.

Donut Boy:

The apple flavor in this pastry was more pronounced than in the apple cinnamon spice donut (see above).  I liked that this pastry was thinner than most of the other donuts we tried.  This gave the crunchy, sweet exterior more room to impress your palate.  The fritter could have been a little moister, which is why I have to say that I still prefer the apple fritter I had from Jewel to this one.  Just being honest.  All in all, this was a great apple fritter.

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A few overall observations…

Thick.  Quite thick.

As the above photo shows, Dinkel’s donuts are pretty thick.  The frosting-to-cake ratio on their donuts is a bit uneven.  Even if we had loved the frosting (which we didn’t), there’s a lot of cake to bite through.  Dinkel’s cake dough is good, but not great, and the quantity of it leaves an overall bread-y impression.

What’s up with this chocolate frosting?

The only donuts left over were the ones with chocolate frosting.  That never happens!  But something about the flavor and texture just wasn’t quite right.  We suspect that these donuts are a bit of an acquired taste.  Seems like the kind of chocolate frosted donut one’s great aunt might feed you when she insists you’re getting too skinny.  Ideal for vikings, maybe, but just not our thing.

A bit pricey.

Buying donuts is never a bad investment.  And usually it doesn’t break the bank.  But our box of a dozen came out to over $15.  Seems like kind of a lot.  Especially when you consider that good, cheaper donuts do exist (see Kirschbaum’s for reasonable prices, or Jewel for a steal).

Made on-site = Awesome

From the counter, you can see the bakery in the back.  That’s awesome.  You know you’re getting the freshest donuts possible when their birthplace is only a few steps away.  Of course, that’s to be expected with serious bakeries such as Dinkel’s.  But it’s still great.

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Summary:

Disappointment and revelation under the same roof.  Incredible maple bacon donut, unsatisfying chocolate frosting.  Dinkel’s is a serious contender in the bakery scene of Chicago.  With tons of offerings (donuts are really just the tip of the iceberg), it’s easy to see why many people would look no further for their baked goods.

Many options, donuts and otherwise.

And while we were certainly impressed with what they had to offer, we here at Breakfast Adventures feel it is our obligation to respond as honestly as possible when presented with donuts to try.  Which is why we offer up this final piece of advice: Check out Dinkel’s, but tread carefully when considering their chocolate frosted donuts.

See you in 7 days!

-CG&DB

<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–> <!–[endif]–>Like discovering the Beatles in sixth grade when I’d been listening to Barbara Streisand, tasting this donut was a game-changer. Oh my oh my, where have you been all my donut-loving life, glazed maple bacon donut? And like discovering sex some time later, tasting this donut whirled me into a realm of bliss heretofore unimaginable. What more could one possibly need, except a good cup of coffee and a witty companion? Both of the latter were in the house with us at Dinkel’s, and the ensuing combination of flavorful donut, sweet maple glaze, genuine-article bite-sized bacon pieces, java and fellow Donut Boy resulted in a state of absolute ecstasy, broken only by Dinkel’s unfortunate chocolate frosted donuts (see below).
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3 Responses to “Donuts at Dinkel’s: Biting into 88 years of experience”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Roeser’s Bakery: A Century of Donut Making! « The Breakfast Adventures of Coffee Girl & Donut Boy - April 30, 2011

    […] few months back, we paid a visit to Dinkel’s Bakery.  It’s a time-honored pastry shop that’s been in Chicago since 1922.  We were floored […]

  2. Weber’s Bakery: Legacy lacks flavor « The Breakfast Adventures of Coffee Girl & Donut Boy - June 18, 2011

    […] Bakery has apparently been around since 1930.  That’s some serious Donut Legacy (see also: Dinkel’s, Roeser’s) just begging to be […]

  3. Pastries, pastries everywhere, but disappointing donuts: La Baguette Bakery in Pilsen « The Breakfast Adventures of Coffee Girl & Donut Boy - July 2, 2011

    […] atop donuts.  Closer, perhaps, to the chocolate frosting at Dinkel’s which, you’ll recall, I found to be on the bitter side.  La Baguette’s frosting tasted darker and less sweet than I have come to expect.  This worked […]

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