Wall-to-Wall Bliss in Palatine, IL: Spunky Dunkers

2 Apr

Saved in the “bookmarks” section of our Internet browser is a folder simply called “Donuts.”  It contains links to many donut shops in the area that we’ve looked up and have yet to visit.  Slowly and surely, we are making our way through this list.  It’s a delicious voyage.

This morning, we came to Spunky Dunkers in Palatine, IL.  While a bit of a drive if you live in Chicago, we were nevertheless very excited to check it out.  Their website is well-put-together and does a good job of showing off their menu.  Their slogan, too, is exactly the kind of phrase that would draw Donuteers like ourselves to them.  They claim their shop is “the place where you feel like you’ve died and gone to Donut Heaven.”  Do tell!

Here’s what we found:

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Donut #1: Chocolate Mint

Coffee Girl: Take a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie, take it back a millennium to when it was fresh, then explode it into another Dimension of Taste, and you get Spunky Dunkers’ Chocolate Mint Donut.  Moist, rich chocolate cake with thick, minty frosting which is enhanced by whimsical mint sprinkles — what a delight.

Donut Boy: “Refreshing” is not a word I would often associate with donuts, but as I took my first bite of Spunky Dunkers’ chocolate mint donut, I felt renewed.  What a cool, new flavor!  For fans of Andes Mints and/or Girl Scout Thin Mints, this is your donut.  Moist chocolate cake with smooth mint frosting.  According to their website, this is a seasonal item, and next month a new flavor will be featured.  Intriguing!

Donut #2: Honey Dip

Coffee Girl: An outstanding way to lay down the basics!  This glazed, raised donut is so light it almost flew out the window of the Donut Mobile.  The delicate sugar glaze perfectly complements the buttery, lighter-than-air yeast dough.  Give me a Saturday morning and a dozen of these at my elbow, and I’ll give you perfect contentment.

Donut Boy: Super light and buttery.  I was actually reminded of buttered popcorn as I took my first bite.  Fluffy and cloud-like and (sadly) over in an instant.  Tasty.

Donut #3: Chocolate Frosted

Coffee Girl: Spunky Dunkers, how could you ever improve on your basic Honey Dipped Donut?  What?  Add a mouth-watering chocolate frosting, but lean into the darker side of the chocolate spectrum, so as to complement the delicate, buttery sweetness of your raised dough?  GOOD IDEA!

Donut Boy: Similar in lightness to the honey dip (see previous), this donut floated gently on top of my tongue, its smooth, classic chocolate frosting caressing my taste buds.  As my cohort stated, definitely a darker tint to the chocolate flavor.  I’d have no problem describing this donut as a classic.

Donut #4: Vanilla Frosted Cake with Sprinkles

Coffee Girl: This donut, alone among our morning of ring-shaped trips to Nirvana, did not taste as though it had been handed to us straight from the oven.  That said, even though the dough was a tad dry, the vanilla frosting was creamy and delicious, the sprinkles were a treat, and if we encountered this donut by itself on a weekday morning, we’d think we’d died and gone to heaven.

Donut Boy: Great texture and a pleasant crunch.  The distinct spiced taste of the cake dough was immediately present, but unfortunately the vanilla frosting did not come on as evenly, leading to a slightly lopsided Flavor Experience.  While this donut was really good, it was easily outshone by many of its brothers.  Read on.

Donut #5: Blueberry Cake

Coffee Girl: Good.  I’m already on record as not a huge fan of fruit in pastry.  But I can recognize an upper echelon entry in the moist, fruity donut category when it’s in my mouth.

Donut Boy: Moist-yet-crumbly, this donut somewhat shyly introduced itself to me.  I love a good blueberry donut, and this was certainly a great one.  But, like its vanilla frosted neighbor (see previous), this donut didn’t quite stack up to the others.

Donut #6: German Chocolate Cake

Coffee Girl: Finally!  Coconut used righteously!  Deliciously toasted in a thick outer layer of crunch, the coconut coating on this donut gave way to a moist chocolate cake inside.  Delicious, and absolutely worth a try, even if you don’t think you like coconut.  Again, reminded us of a Girl Scout cookie — this time the Caramel deLites.

Donut Boy: By this point, we were thoroughly impressed with Spunky Dunkers’ cake dough.  Each cake donut was moist, awesomely textured, and hefty without being too dense.  This German chocolate cake donut proved no exception.  Added to the mix were coconut shavings held on by a sweet crackly glaze, which really sent this donut over the top.  My cohort’s Flavor Comparison to Girl Scout Cookies is accurate: If I had to attempt to describe the flavor profile of this donut, I’d point you in that direction.  But really, you should just get one and see for yourself.

Donut #7: Peanut

Coffee Girl: Spunky Dunkers, you explain things to us that we thought we understood.  Ohhhh!  You mean, putting peanuts on the outside of a donut can make the donut taste like peanuts?  Radical.  The coursely chopped peanuts encrusting this fresh cake donut completely dominated the taste of the donut — which is exactly how it should be, or else, why bother?

Donut Boy: Such a great, unassuming donut.  The peanuts were crunchy and flavorful, resting on top of a straight-up good cake donut.  I would say this donut, more than any others in our adventures thus far, did its topping the most justice, by allowing it to stand and deliver on its own, with no adornment or fancy trappings.  A truly tasty donut.

Donut #8: Chocolate Iced Bavarian Kreme

Donut Boy: What differentiates the above donut from a Boston Kreme?  To my eye, it has the same makeup.  Luckily, I had one taste of this donut and that concern flew out the window.  Who cares what it’s called when it tastes this good?  That creamy chocolate frosting, mixed with light, buttery dough and a sweet, cool custard (and plenty of it).  This is a good, good thing.

Inside the Bavarian Kreme: Where the good stuff lies.

Donut #9: Chocolate Iced Buttercream

Coffee Girl: This is where our eyelids began to drop to half-mast and our body began to experience being lifted, ever so gently, into Donut Heaven.  Again — as with the Honey Dip — the yeast dough so light that it almost had to be held down to earth with a finger; again — as in the Chocolate Frosted — the frosting with a hint of dark chocolate to perfectly complement the buttery dough; NOW ADD TO THAT the creamiest and sweetest whipped cream filling beneath the ozone layer.  I’d say more, but you wouldn’t be able to understand it, because it would be in the Language of the Gods.

Donut Boy: Having already sampled a very similar donut (see previous), I knew that the frosting and dough of this pastry were going to fully deliver.  But I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.  Imagine my sheer delight upon discovering this remarkable buttercream filling.  Like a heavier, richer, sweeter version of whipped cream, the filling mixed with the frosting and the dough into a Flavor Cyclone that barreled across my palate.  I was awestruck.  The Bavarian kreme was good, but this is the donut to go for.

Donut #10: Strawberry Bismarck

Donut Boy: What makes this a bismarck, instead of just a jelly donut?  Is it perhaps the powdered sugar coating?  Again (joyously), once you taste this pastry you don’t worry about its name.  Impossibly light dough with a mouth-watering powdered sugar coating gives way to plenty of smooth, sweet strawberry jelly.  Very happy with this donut’s Jelly Distribution (see below).  I would easily get this again.

Even after a few bites, there's still plenty of jelly left inside!

Donut #11: Chocolate Cream Puff

Coffee Girl: This donut made time stand still and the earth stop turning on its axis.  The chocolate dough was so thick and rich it suggested a brownie just barely baked.  The glaze crust was crunchy and sweet—a perfect complement to the heavier, chewier dough.  And the whipped cream filling?  Imagine the day someone first discovered that adding jelly to peanut butter was an inspiration.  That was the same day this donut was invented.

Mmmm...

Donut Boy: Oh, my!  I can truly say I’ve never had anything like this.  Spunky Dunkers has a very appetizing picture of this pastry at the top of their website, and I can see why they’d advertise it so prominently.  More of that incredible buttercream filling (see previous, Donut #9), hidden in a glob of the moistest cake dough I’ve ever had.  Normally with filled pastries like this, most of the flavor is gone when the filling runs out.  With this one, it was just wall-to-wall bliss.  Truly a new high in my book.

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We hope the good people of Palatine appreciate the Donut Nirvana that has made their neighborhood its home.  We at Breakfast Adventures would gladly drive twice as far (at least) for donuts of this caliber.  New highs were reached this morning, and we have to confess that Spunky Dunkers has us drawing comparisons to Gibson’s in Oberlin, Ohio, a top-of-the-line donut shop we often daydream of.  While we may never be able to do a side-by-side comparison of the two (until a sort of Donut Time Machine is developed), we are ecstatic to have a similarly awesome bakery much closer to home.

Now we’ve just gotta figure out when we’ll return.  Until next week!

-CG&DB


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