Store-Bought Donuts Round 2: Hostess and Little Debbie

8 Jan

It happens to the best of us.  We make plans to visit a cool bakery on Saturday morning, only to arrive and find that they (for some mystifying reason) don’t have donuts.  Here at Breakfast Adventures, we do our best to research places before visiting to avoid snafus like the one we found ourselves in this morning.  But it happens.

After striking out at 3 different places, we decided to compromise and do a good deed by addressing some very public pastries, namely store-bought Hostess and Little Debbie Donuts.  Certainly not as good as fresh, neighborhood bakery donuts.  But we needed to cover them for the benefit of the Pastry Public.

Here’s what we found:

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Donuts #1-3: Hostess Boxed Donuts

Coffee Girl:

We do what we have to in the name of responsible Donut Journalism, and sometimes by God it isn’t pretty.  It was in the name of hard-core Donut Duty that we subjected ourselves to these boxed donuts — three cardboard cut-outs for those who crave donuts but have either a) just been run over by a truck in front of a grocery store and, both legs severed, can do no more than pull themselves the last few hundred yards to the store door, where they hand a kid a fiver and gasp their last request, or b) don’t know any better.

Donut Boy:

Yeah, it was hard to even pick up one of these and bite in, because we knew what was coming: mediocrity.  Actually, the chocolate frosted donut proved to be below mediocrity.  To my taste, I detected no chocolate flavor at all.  The frosting was slimy from condensation upon removal from the box.  Sigh.  The powdered sugar donut provided the initially pleasing sensation of having powdered sugar dissolve upon the tongue, only to be followed by a boring dough.  The plain donut was tasteless and dry.  Terrible donuts.

Donut #4: Hostess Mini Crullers

Coffee Girl:

Not bad!  Not bad!  Sweet but not too, with a nice sticky glaze over a pleasant little yellow cake, and small enough to leave you wanting another.

Donut Boy:

Very moist, bordering on damp, but certainly better than the dry boxed donuts.  A very sweet flavor presided, with strong hints of buttermilk.  My biggest area of criticism would be the texture: a uniform sort of mushiness with no bite or crunch.  No real difference between the exterior and the interior of the pastry.  Still, much better and more flavorful than the boxed donuts.

Donut #5: Little Debbie Donut Sticks

Coffee Girl:

These boxed confections could actually warrant being served with coffee to guests, if one could avoid apologizing for having to unwrap each one from its plastic wrap.  They offer more textural difference between exterior and interior than we usually find in boxed donuts, and the hint of nutmeg in the cake is an inspiration.  They’re good!  There, we said it, and we’re not going to take it back.

Donut Boy:

Reaching for a pastry and having to unwrap it from plastic feels wrong.  Here, though, Little Debbie’s Donut Sticks are catering to a necessary evil.  The plastic certainly helps the Donut Sticks maintain some degree of freshness.  It’s likely these had been sitting on the shelf longer than the Hostess Boxed Donuts (see above), but they definitely tasted fresher.  As mentioned, a strong flavor of nutmeg presided.  The dough had a slight crunch and stopped just short of being too dry.  A pleasing shape and ideal for dunking in coffee.  All things considered, not a terrible Pastry Choice.

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The conclusions draw themselves.

We’ve messed with store-bought donuts before (see our post on Entenmann’s) and it was basically the same experience.  These donuts are cheap caricatures of real pastries, hoping to bamboozle a hurried Donuteer into buying them out of convenience.  But here’s the thing: if you’re in a hurry and you’re running to the grocery store to grab donuts, check really quick to see if they have a bakery section.

We really enjoyed the bakery-made donuts at Jewel Osco.  If you strike out there, most grocery stores also carry boxed Krispy Kremes.  Either of these options are just as quick as the Pastry Abominations above and will leave your tummy way happier.

Until next week!

-CG&DB

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