Munchin’ On Some Munchkins: Let’s talk about donut holes

16 Jul

This week, we wanted to take a second to talk about donuts’ little brothers, donut holes.

A long time ago, some thrifty baker thought to him- or herself, “Hey, all these holes I’m cutting are leaving a lot of leftover scraps.  I should fry these, too!”  And thus, donut holes were born.

Someone with their Thinking Cap on decided to fry the holes, too.

In today’s Pastry Landscape, most people probably don’t get much farther than Dunkin’ Donuts when it comes to donut holes.  To be fair, donut holes are a lot harder to find.  Most donut shops we’ve been to, however fantastic, have not offered donut holes.  We decided to do a little Pastry Investigating (what we really do best) and see if we could turn up any alternatives.  It was hard work, but someone had to do it.

Here’s what we found:

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7-11: Choc. Glazed & Plain Glazed Donut Holes


Coffee Girl: While it’s important to emphasize that these donut holes outclass any pre-packaged cousin you’ll find in a grocery store, 7-11’s donut holes aren’t on par with the rest of their Donut Oeuvre, of which we are quite fond.  The smaller size, in this case, leads to smaller satisfaction.  I liked the plain glazed better than the chocolate glazed, the former possessing a dough that was moister and worked better in combination with its glaze than the latter, which presented a dry, bitter chocolate dough that needed a more substantial glaze to pull it into the Tasty Realm.

Donut Boy: These donut holes were dry and pretty bread-y in the middle.  Disappointing, given how much I like 7-11’s donuts.  The glaze on the outside is nice, and there’s a decent crunch, but it gets pretty boring pretty fast.  The chocolate has a weird, almost biscuit-like taste.  Not that great.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ Munchkins

Coffee Girl: Sigh.  It’s a testament to the strength of the brand that I keep trying Dunkin’ Donuts.  Then again, there’s something reassuring about getting exactly what you expect.  These little guys were — surprise! — dry and forgettable.  The best of the lot was the chocolate glazed, which retained a whisper of freshness.

Donut Boy: Yes, it’s never a good sign when your favorite flavor is whichever-tastes-the-freshest.  These tasted like they’d been sitting around.  So much disappointment in such small packages.

Krispy Kreme Chocolate Glazed Donut Holes

Coffee Girl: Not bad, for a donut hole, although the form itself is suspect, as far as I’m concerned.  For one thing, you can’t frost a donut hole.  That said, this is a decent hole.  The interior is a rich chocolate cake that is moist but not gluey.  The perennial problem of boxed donuts in any form is their tendency toward Textural Monotony, by which we Professional Donuteers mean not enough contrast between the outside and the inside.  In an Ideal Donut Universe, the outside would sport a bit of crunch.  Still — the best donut hole I’ve had to date.

Donut Boy: Yes, yes, we came across these donut holes pre-packaged in a Jewel.  But we’ve had good experiences with Krispy Kremes from Jewel before, so we knew we had to give these a try.  I was immediately impressed with how moist these donut holes were.  Unlike the holes from 7-11 or Dunkin’ Donuts (see above), these little guys were moist throughout.  The glaze on the outside added a slight crispiness and also a pleasing sticky sweetness.  Rich chocolate flavor.  I agree with my colleague: the best donut holes I’ve tried yet.

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Well, Dear Readers, after looking around the Donut Landscape, we have to say we’re still hard-pressed to say we’ve had a truly fantastic donut hole.  Perhaps these little pastry pieces don’t have enough mass to gain serious consideration/attention by pastry chefs.  It’s kind of a shame.  In any event, allow us to humbly recommend Krispy Kreme’s donut holes if you’re out hunting for some.  Or, if you find a place with truly awesome donut holes, please let us know.

The thing about donuteering is: There’s always more to find, always new things to taste.

Until next week, Donut Eaters!

-CG&DB

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