Table for two (and a dozen donuts): Huck Finn Donuts

11 Jun

Our adventures this week brought us to Huck Finn Donuts.  There are a few different locations in the Chicago area, but we chose what appears to be their most popular one at the intersection of Archer & Damen.

Now, the word “restaurant” had us worried: Would this be a regular old breakfast eatery that offers donuts as an afterthought?  Would there be any variety?  Would the donuts be fresh?  We decided that the word “donuts,” which was in bigger letters on their sign (see above), warranted an investigation after all.

Here’s what we found:

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Donut #1: Glazed

Coffee Girl: Delighted by this donut’s initial hit of soft, buttery yeast roll, I was just as quickly saddened by the rest of our relationship.  The raised dough quickly disappointed with a dry, overly bready texture, and the sugar glaze didn’t have a strong enough personality to pull the donut back into the game.

Donut Boy: A really nice buttery taste hits you immediately — you can even smell it as the pastry approaches your mouth.  The dough was a little heavier and chewier than I like, but this was still a good donut.

Donut #2: Choc. Frosted Yeast

Coffee Girl: Once burned, twice shy.  We were dubious about this donut because of our heartbreak at the hands of the donut above.  Despite chocolate frosting, our cynicism was justified.

Donut Boy: Pretty standard chocolate frosting on top of bready dough.  I’d give this a “C+.”  There are better donuts to be had here.  Let’s move on.

Donut #3: Cinnamon Crunch

Coffee Girl: Although this donut started with the same dry, chewy dough that we scoffed at in the donuts above, this donut leap-frogged its dough problems by simply astonishing us with a truly stellar topping — white icing embellished with a fine-grained cinnamon sugar topping.  Unique in our donut-chomping experience, this donut — along with a couple more Huck Finn donuts described below — is worth the drive.

Donut Boy: Yes, while the dough in this donut wasn’t really much better (i.e. lighter, mushier) than the first two donuts, the vanilla-frosting-and-cinnamon-sugar topping more than made up for it.  What a great idea for a donut!  Tasty.

Donut #4: Peanut

Coffee Girl: As the saying goes, if the sandwich filling is awesome, the bread can be second-rate.  While any donut is obviously way better than any sandwich — being that, to start with, it’s a donut — the axiom proved as true here as in Huck Finn’s cinnamon crunch donut (above).  Coursely chopped peanuts ruled the taste experience from beginning to end, with a happy intermission of chocolate frosting.  When it was over, we couldn’t even remember what the donut underneath tasted like.  Just as well.

Donut Boy: The topping on this donut, too, helped it rise above the limitations of its bland yeast dough.  I could definitely taste the peanuts (this isn’t always the case with nut-topped donuts) and they combined nicely with the chocolate frosting.

Donut #5: Choc. Frosted Cake

Coffee Girl: I was absolutely delighted with Huck Finn’s cake donuts.  Their moist, creamy texture is laced with a strong, positively bewitching whiff of nutmeg.  The chocolate frosted version sets a new standard in my book for the Definitive Chocolate Frosted Cake Donut.  And this despite a complete lack of that exterior crunch that we usually prefer.

Donut Boy: Bingo!  Huck Finn’s cake dough is some of the best I’ve ever tasted.  Moist and distinctly spiced (nutmeg), it boldly steps forward with its own distinct taste that works in tandem with the other elements.  Here, the chocolate frosting’s sweetness paired great with the delicious cake dough.  My favorite donut of the morning, maybe the best chocolate cake donut I’ve ever had.

Donut #6: Vanilla Frosted Cake

Coffee Girl: But wait!  Just when we thought a cake donut couldn’t get any better than Huck Finn’s chocolate frosted version, I bit into their vanilla frosted cake donut.  I’ve confessed to you before that I see the world through chocolate-tinted glasses, right?  And yet here the vanilla frosted is even better than the chocolate frosted.  The thick white icing is luxuriously viscous, and it complements that nutmeg-laced cake dough like a wafting white curtain complements a sunny, breezy day.

Donut Boy: I found this vanilla frosting to be less distinctive than the chocolate frosting (see above), but since it was still on top of some great cake dough, this wasn’t an issue.  A powdered sugar-esque sweetness of a creamy consistency, this donut’s frosting was another great partner for the cake donut.  Honestly, my #2 donut of the morning.

Donut #7: Glazed Choc. Cake

Coffee Girl: Feh.  The chocolate dough was moist and OK, but the first taste here is all she wrote.  The shallow personality of this donut is left stranded by a wallflower glaze. No interest.

Donut Boy: I was interested to see how Huck Finn’s chocolate cake dough would taste.  As it turned out, not quite as good as their standard cake dough, but still moist and fresh-tasting.  This donut’s glazed coating was nice but didn’t add enough to make it stand out.  A tasty donut outshined by its neighbors.  Read on.

Donut #8: Devil’s Food Cake

Coffee Girl: What?  Sorry?  Oh, right, I’d lost interest by now and was back daydreaming about the chocolate frosted cake and the vanilla frosted cake donuts.  Donut Boy will give you the deets below.

Donut Boy: The chocolate frosting worked better than a simple glaze coating (see above), but this donut still wasn’t as good as the standard cake donuts with frosting.  Let’s be clear, though: This donut was delicious.  Chocoholics should check it out.

Donut #9:

Choc. Frosted Custard (Boston Kreme)

Donut Boy: The chocolate frosting was nice, but the custard inside proved to be slightly too viscous, reminiscent of Jell-O pudding.  Filling Distribution was also pretty inadequate, leaving the Donut Eater with large quantities of bland dough to chew on.  Disappointing.

Donut #10: Apple Cinnamon

Donut Boy: I liked the filling better in this donut, but there still wasn’t enough of it, and the dough was still nothing special.  A cinnamon coating helped, but ultimately you were left with what tasted like damp hamburger rolls.  No, thank you.

Donut #11:  Blueberry

Donut Boy: Perhaps this picture best explains the lack of adequate Filling Distribution in Huck Finn’s donuts.  They struck out again here.  I guess it’s sort of a plus, though, since this blueberry filling was only okay.  On the whole, I was thoroughly unimpressed with Huck Finn’s filled donuts.

Donut #12: Buttermilk

Coffee Girl: It was OK.  Donut Boy liked it more than I did.  Donut Boy?

Donut Boy: Guilty as charged.  Simple and unassuming, but sometimes that’s how I like my donuts.  Pleasing crusty exterior with a rich, pound cake-like flavor on the inside.  Moist, too.  This donut would make my top 5, certainly.

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If you Google “Huck Finn Donuts,” you’ll find a lot of people raving about their oversized donut offerings (see above).  We didn’t check any of these out because we needed to answer a more pressing Donut Question: Are the regular-sized donuts any good?

As it turns out, sort of “yes” and sort of “no.”  We’re pretty adamant that their chocolate frosted cake is one of the best we’ve ever had.  But Huck Finn’s yeast donuts leave a lot to be desired, and only those with truly awesome toppings (cinnamon crunch, peanuts) ended up being worth a try.

Huck Finn Donuts: Table service is a definite plus.

We’d have to say that the main reason to come to Huck Finn would have to be the option of table service.  Often, donut shops have little-to-no available seating.  Here, booths abound and you can even drink coffee in a real mug!  As long as you stick with the cake donuts, you’re going to enjoy your Pastry Experience.

Another notch in the Pastry Belt, Dear Readers.  Until next week!

-CG&DB

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3 Responses to “Table for two (and a dozen donuts): Huck Finn Donuts”

  1. indyink June 11, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    A cinnamon sugar doughnut that doesn’t come in plastic. I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Taking the Time to Bake it Right: Beverly Bakery « The Breakfast Adventures of Coffee Girl & Donut Boy - October 15, 2011

    […] we’ve grown to expect (especially in such Throw-Caution-to-the-Winds emporiums as Dat Donut and Huck Finn), Beverly Bakery’s entries in the Pantheon of Carb/Sugar Bliss are demurely sized.  Their taste […]

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