The South Side Continues Its Flavor Domination: Abundance Bakery

19 Mar

As we continue our Donut Expeditions, we have noticed a geographical trend.  Something about the South Side of Chicago lends itself to great donut shops (see our Donut List for write-ups).

This morning, we returned to the South Side and paid a visit to Abundance Bakery, an unassuming hole-in-the-wall kind of shop run by a truly friendly man called Uncle Villy.  Despite its small stature, Abundance served up big flavor, including an apple fritter the size of a throw pillow and the best jelly donut we’ve ever had.

Here’s what we found:

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Donut #1: Glazed

Coffee Girl: One of the best glazed yeast donuts I’ve ever had the pleasure to ingest, Abundance Bakery’s version of this classic starts with a delicate crack of sugar glaze, followed by the gentle crunch of the donut underneath, and then swoons into a pillow of soft, buttery Yeast Heaven.

Donut Boy: Few feelings are as exciting as the anticipation that mounts as you reach for your first donut.  This morning, I felt such excitement, and I was not disappointed.  Super buttery, light dough surrounded by The World’s Flakiest Glaze.  Clearly fresh, clearly made from scratch.  Like a Krispy Kreme with a little more Street Cred.

Donut #2: Chocolate Frosted

Coffee Girl: Abundance’s chocolate frosting is gentle and straightforward and doesn’t overwhelm its buttery dream of a yeast donut underneath.  One almost can’t tell where the chocolate stops and the donut begins — a perfect partnership.

Donut Boy: The dough, here, continued to be fresh and airy.  Still an awesome heavy-butter vibe.  The chocolate frosting was tasty and continued the Freshness Assault.  If you told me Uncle Villy had just spread this on the donuts before handing them to us, I’d believe you.  Odds are that’s not far from the truth.

Donut #3: Chocolate Frosted Cake

Coffee Girl: A superb cake donut, delicate, sweet, firm and buttery, well-matched with Abundance’s straightforward chocolate frosting — this entry nonetheless scored slightly below the chocolate frosted yeast donut on our Pleasure Meter.  Perhaps a stronger chocolate flavor would better suit the solid character of the righteous cake donut.

Donut Boy: We wanted to try this one right after its yeast brother (see Donut #2) for ideal Flavor Comparisons.  Again, I really enjoyed the frosting.  The cake dough was ideal: crunchy, rich, but not too heavy.  At the end of the day, we here at Breakfast Adventures prefer yeast donuts, but that’s just us.

Donuts #4 & 5: Old-Fashioned and Glazed Old-Fashioned

Coffee Girl: Very good, just a tad unadorned for our taste.   The addition of the sweet glaze pleased us more than the regular cake donut without it, but we were still left looking fondly back at previous entries and forward to the succulent treats to come.

Donut Boy: I enjoyed both of the above donuts very much.  They’re simpler folk, to be sure, but still tasty in their own right.  If you’re a dipping-your-donut-into-coffee kind of person (as I occasionally am), these are the donuts you’re looking for.

Donut #6: Chocolate Frosted Cake with Coconut

Coffee Girl: Much as we love Abundance’s donuts, our question remains unanswered, “Why do bakeries put coconut on donuts again?”

Donut Boy: Yes, we grabbed one of these in our continuing efforts to Actually Taste Any Sort of Coconut on a Donut.  Still no luck, but hey! there’s a darn tasty chocolate frosted cake donut underneath that Coconut Toupee.

Donut #7: Jelly

Donut Boy: This is the best jelly donut I’ve ever had in my life.  Upon first bite, I immediately turned to my Donut Colleagues and said as much.  Perfect Jelly Distribution (see below) meant that each bite was as delicious and jelly-coated as the last.  And the jelly itself!  Dripping and smooth, it evoked fresh strawberries everywhere it went.  The glazed dough expertly encapsulated the whole experience and brought an additional flavor to the table.  I need more of these jelly donuts in my life.  The only solution is to return.

Coffee Girl: Oh my, oh my — this donut vaulted its heavyweight self into a whole new category of Donut Delight.  More like a sandwich made in heaven than an insubstantial confection, Abundance’s entry in the jelly donut competition paired their delicious buttery yeast donut with a mouth-watering, home-made-tasting jelly and a divine, crackly sugar glaze.  I agree with Donut Boy – the best jelly donut I’ve ever had.

Guest Donuteer Donutello: I come from a Donut Desert, where the only offerings are Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts.  This leaves me sad and angry and means that just about any donut by comparison would seem Otherworldly and Holy.  Despite such handicaps, even I could tell — as it emerged from the bag — that this was the Best Damn Jelly Donut I had ever seen. It was larger, fluffier, and stuffed full with enough jelly to choke a horse. They were all good — the glazed and chocolate yeast donuts, as well as the slightly crispy cake donuts and apple fritter — but I didn’t even have to eat the jelly-filled to experience a sense of Divine Awe that made me want to remove my shoes and observe silence.

Bonus Pastry #1: Apple Fritter (XXL)


Coffee Girl: Slightly intimidated by its size, we approached this pastry with trepidation, wrongly assuming that it would attempt to make up in sheer quantity what it lacked in quality, a common tactic.  Not so.  The delightful fried crunch of the glaze introduced a fresh dough that was delicately flavored with sweet cinnamon sugar and apple, adding up to a taste treat we wished would have magically replenished itself every time we cut off one more bite.

Donut Boy: What I appreciated about this fritter was the way that each bite was equally tasty — moist interior, crunchy exterior.  Apple and cinnamon danced in harmony.  We never thought we’d be able to finish it, and then we looked down and it was gone.  This is not a gimmick, it’s just a great fritter.  Get this when you come here.

Bonus Pastry #2: Upside Down Caramel Cupcake

Donut Boy: Just as we were about to complete our order, we noticed a small sign separately advertising Uncle Villy’s Upside Down Caramel Cupcakes.  So we had to try one.  So.  Moist.  The line between frosting and cupcake is a hazy one.  This cupcake is a lot of things — it’s smooth, it’s caramel, it’s inspiring.  It’s also definitely a contender for the best cupcake this Donuteer has ever had.  I have to say, though, that it stopped just short of being too sweet for me.  Kind of glad I split one with CG.

Coffee Girl: I seldom cry “Uncle” when it comes to sweet treats, but in Abundance Bakery’s caramel cupcake, I have met my  match.  The delicately flavored pound cake underneath melts in your mouth.  Enrobed in a dreamy, thick caramel frosting, Abundance’s signature delight is appropriately served with a fork and the promise of a stomachache.  At least for me.  I bow my head in shame.

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As we took our last bites of fritter and contemplated the morning’s adventure, we had this thought: Donut shops like Abundance are great because they reaffirm one’s faith in the Power of Pastries.  When you’re feeling like Dunkin’ Donuts is taking over and you’ll never again have a fresh, handmade donut, simply do a little digging (we prefer Google and search terms like “frosting” and “fresh”), and odds are good you’ll be able to find a shop of your own nearby, where the owners put love into their baked goods.

This morning, we found such a place.  Abundance Bakery is excellent, and highly worth checking out.  With a victory firmly established for flavor, we look forward to future expeditions.

See you next week!

-CG&DB

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One Response to “The South Side Continues Its Flavor Domination: Abundance Bakery”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Returning to a South Side Staple: Dat Donut « The Breakfast Adventures of Coffee Girl & Donut Boy - January 14, 2012

    […] Adventures we’re not afraid to make drastic Donut Statements).  Old Fashioned Donut, Abundance Bakery, and Dat Donut are a few to […]

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