Honey Fluff Donuts: All roads lead to tasty

5 Mar

Here’s an encouraging fact concerning Donut Adventures: Great donuts can be found in the most random places.  Take Honey Fluff Donuts in Countryside, IL, for example.

This pastry shop has been on our To Visit list for a while.  When we were conducting initial research on the Internet, its name came up repeatedly as a great place to go to for good donuts outside of the city of Chicago.

It’s an unassuming little place, tucked away in a strip mall.  If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it.  And that would be a shame, because there are great donuts to be had!

Here’s what we found:

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Donut #1: Maple Frosted

Coffee Girl: We are suckers for maple frosting, and this donut made us very happy.  The raised donut underneath was pleasant enough, although we have to admit that we didn’t pay much attention to it, because we were so enamored with the frosting, which was smooth and just firm enough to last for a delicious moment in our mouth before dissolving in a blissful aftertaste of aromatic flavor.

Donut Boy: While you should certainly not judge a book by its cover, I would venture to say that the donuts we had at Honey Fluff this morning are among the most aesthetically pleasing we’ve ever had.  The simple matte finish of the frosting on their maple donuts, for example, is a beauty to behold.  It doesn’t stop there, though: the frosting dissolves wonderfully on the tongue in a burst of classic maple flavor.  Light yeast dough supports well.  Delicious.

Donut #2: Cherry

Coffee Girl: We can’t remember the last time we were taken by surprise in the Donut Mobile, but breaking open this donut to reveal bright pink cake looking back at us (with pieces of actual cherry inside!) created a Donut Moment.  And it tasted just as cherry as it looked.  Delicious cake with a perfect complement of sweet glaze crunch on the outside.  Worth driving to Countryside for.

Donut Boy: Cherry?!?  We practically did a double take when we spotted this donut amongst the racks at Honey Fluff.  We had to try it.  Our anticipation mounted as we cracked open the donut and discovered its awesome scarlet interior with real flecks of cherry.  Finally, we tasted.  Moist dough with a slight crunch, distinct-but-not-overpowering cherry flavor, and an interesting textural mix made this donut truly stand out.  We doubt we will ever come across a similar donut.  The only solution is to return to Honey Fluff.

Donuts #3 & #4: Chocolate/Vanilla Frosted with Sprinkles

Coffee Girl: The chalky, overly-sweet grocery-store sprinkles preening themselves on top of these donuts did them no favors.  But sprinkles aside, the yeast donuts were OK and both frostings were good, the chocolate frosting in particular having a nice balance of sweetness and chocolate flavor.

Donut Boy: These donuts were gorgeous.  Unfortunately, the sprinkles adorning both of the above pastries were far too sweet, clobbering the tongue into submission and prohibiting you from tasting anything else.  The follow-up bites we took of the sans-sprinkles sections were much better: traditional milk-chocolate frosting and creamy vanilla on top of good yeast donuts.  Here, less is more.

Donut #5: Glazed

Coffee Girl: You know how some people are so forgettable that you can’t remember meeting them?  This donut was like that.

Donut Boy: Initially intriguing buttery taste leads quickly to disappointingly dry, dense dough.  A standout at Honey Fluff due to its mediocrity.  Don’t get this one.

Donut #6: Boston Kreme

Coffee Girl: Very nice.  Delicious custard, despite the fact that, as I’ve admitted before, I’m no fan of custard.  Excellent chocolate frosting was a perfect complement to the custard, and the dough was nice and squishy.

Donut Boy: A sweet, cooling custard on the inside, supported by a moist dough and spot-on chocolate frosting.  I consider myself fortunate to have had enough Boston Kremes at this point that I have a mental check-list I go through when trying a new one.  This one from Honey Fluff hit all the points.

Donut #7: Raspberry Jelly

Coffee Girl: Delicious jelly (although Donut Boy was very sad about its sub-standard distribution) that was well-matched by its yeast donut and granulated sugar coating.

Donut Boy: Great, smooth raspberry jelly supported by a moist dough, with an awesome crunch from the granulated sugar on the outside.  I could have used a little more jelly (truthfully I could always use more jelly), but I would still have to describe this as the quintessential jelly donut.

Donut #8: Buttermilk Glazed

Coffee Girl: Nice freshness to the cake donut, nice sugar glaze, otherwise unmemorable.

Donut Boy: Merely pleasant in all aspects.  Not bad, but overshadowed by pretty much everything else (except the glazed donut, see above).

Donut #9: Chocolate Glazed

Coffee Girl: We were not impressed with this donut.  The chocolate cake is certainly more interesting than, say, Dunkin’ Donuts’ version of the same donut.  And we like Honey Fluff’s sugar glaze.  But the overall taste started off quite mild and then wandered off and got lost.

Donut Boy: While its taste was slightly more distinctive than the buttermilk (see above), there still wasn’t anything about this donut worth phoning home about, much less returning for.

Donut #10: Double Chocolate

Coffee Girl: This donut worked better than its companion just described above.  The tasty frosting did for the donut what a vivacious spouse can do for a boring person.  So you may as well invite them to your Donut Party.

Donut Boy: Yeah, a lot better than the chocolate glazed thanks to the frosting, which, as mentioned, added a little more pizazz.  Tasty.

Donut #11: Chocolate Frosted with Peanuts

Coffee Girl: Excellent peanut taste really came through and, paired with a fine chocolate frosting, made this donut one of Honey Fluff’s successes.

Donut Boy: I really appreciated this donut because I could truly taste the peanuts.  I even detected their aroma as I lifted a bite towards my mouth.  Honestly, this is the first donut in all of our adventures that has successfully paired frosting and nuts.  Very good; I would get it again in a heartbeat.

Donut #12: Sour Cream Old Fashioned

Coffee Girl: Along with Honey Fluff’s cherry donut described earlier, this donut is a definite Not-To-Be-Missed entry if you make it to Countryside.  Absolutely delicious, like a marriage between a rich pound cake and your favorite crispy french fries.  With its luxurious quotient of oil and sugar, this little honey reminds us of why we like donuts in the first place.

Donut Boy: So many fantastic things about this pastry.  Its craggy, gruff exterior has an incredible crunch, which gives way to a moist, simple-yet-flavorful cake dough.  The taste of the oil really shines through, making a strong case that simple is better.  Fried dough — it’s a good thing.  This donut alone is worth returning for.

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As we pulled out of the parking lot, we were happy.  While we never really lose faith in the Power of Pastries, it’s encouraging to know that a good donut shop is never too far out of reach.  All you really need is a little research and a sense of adventure.  We’d like to extend a special thank you to our Travel Consultants Ann Giglio and Walter Miller, who pointed us in the right direction after a few wrong turns and ultimately ensured that we reached our destination.

Honey Fluff Donuts is a great donut place, one definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.  If you don’t live close by, well…maybe you’re feeling adventurous.  We know the feeling.  It strikes us every Saturday morning.

Until next week!

-CG&DB

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