Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Circle of Life

I've never been a huge fan of the donut.  Growing up, my sister and I only got them once a year.  In my elementary school, it was customary for children to bring treats for the class on their birthday, and despite the fact that my mother is a wonderful cook, she had pretty much had it with baking 30 cupcakes by the time I hit third grade.  So on the way to school on the big day, we'd stop by Colonial Donuts in Montclair Village and pick up a couple of dozen bits of sweet fried dough.  They were fine for the occasion, but were certainly not the greatest representation of the donut.  So I assumed donuts were just not that great.

Then, on a college crew training trip in Florida one of my teammates started waxing poetic about Krispy Kreme.  I was skeptical...I mean how good could they really be?  She insisted on driving to a store right then and there.  Our first stop was a store that didn't make the donuts in house.  So we had to drive another thirty minutes into the wilds of strip mall land to find the place they were actually made.  So I got a hot Krispy Kreme right off of the line...the creme de la creme of the donut world.  My response?  Eh.

So, still not so into donuts.

But I was in Balthazar Bakery one day (not an uncommon state for me) and noticed that they had started offering donuts. 

                                         photo credit:

I gave the basic sugar dusted version a try.

                                         photo credit:

A whole new world.  It was not even remotely greasy...more cakey than anything.  Perfectly balanced with respect to sweetness, and although I'm sure this little confection does quite a valiant job of clogging one's arteries, it didn't feel heavy in the least.  I am now a donut convert.  

So much so that I am now trying other flavors:

                                        photo credit:  Serious Eats, A Guide to the Best Donuts in New York

Banana nut...I believe it was pecan, but possibly walnut?  Yum.  Although I'll admit I didn't taste much banana in this banana nut creation, the glaze was satisfyingly hard, shattering as it should when you bite into it, and the nuts were a nice added texture.  I found this version slightly heavier than the classic sugar and just a tad greasy, but that is not to say I didn't thoroughly enjoy it.  One needs a bit of obscene decadence every now and again.

So now it seems that I do, in fact, like the odd donut now and again.  As long as it comes from Balthazar, that is.  Although I've heard Per Se does a nice one as well, so I suppose I shouldn't be too exclusionary with respect to my accepted donut providers.    

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