The second installment in my Little Rock, Arkansas trip is a visit to the Community Bakery. I heard of this bakery from a gal working at the hotel where we stayed. She said they had the best donuts in town, even better than Krispy Kreme. Folks in Little Rock seem to compare all donuts to Krispy Kreme.
I headed out with my hubby to Community Bakery, which is located in the SOMA, Southside Main Street, neighborhood. An antique store and an art gallery were located nearby and plenty of people were out walking in the neighborhood, some looked to be on the way to work. It was a delightful neighborhood, just barely removed from downtown. Community Bakery is definitely more a bakery than a donut shop, however the variety of donuts available was substantial. This was the first bakery or donut shop I have visited that offered beignets. We definitely had to get one of those! John also picked a cream cheese, orange zest filled donut, a chocolate old fashioned, a regular old fashioned, a glazed (the favorite of the gal behind the counter) and a blueberry cake. Only a tiny bit of the beignet was eaten, as it was a greasy ball of dough. I can imagine it would be hard to pre-make beignets for a bakery case. Everywhere I have had them before has fried them fresh for serving. John’s favorite was the blueberry cake donut, which he said tasted like real blueberries. He didn’t have much to say about the others, probably because his mouth was full of donuts for quite some time. We enjoyed having coffee at Community Bakery and seeing the folks from the neighborhood drop in for breakfast, which included much more than donuts. The bakery cases were great fun to browse, full of gorgeous cakes and cupcakes, pastries and cookies. Lunch sounded delicious, with at least three varieties of quiche on the daily special board. If Community Bakery was closer to home, I think I’d be a regular visitor!
The Community Bakery location visited in this donut adventure is located at 1200 Main Street in Little Rock, Arkansas.
I had never heard of Shipley’s Donuts until work took me to Little Rock, Arkansas. The old timers in town suggested Shipley’s. One fella said, “Everyone talks and talks about that darned Krispy Kreme but you can’t beat Shipley’s.” That’s all that needed to be said…I was off in search of Shipley’s.
Shipley’s has been around for more than 70 years and spells donuts Do-Nuts, much like Holt’s in Grandview, Missouri. I wonder what that’s about? I like it and want to know why it is spelled that way. I read there are over 120 locations of Shipley’s, ten in the Little Rock area. I sought out one that looked like it would be in an older neighborhood, always seeking an authentic old school donut experience. And that’s exactly what I found. The exterior of the building was the first indication of a step back in time to the days when donut shops were more common and were actually part of a neighborhood, not part of a new strip mall. It wasn’t just the architecture that made me think this, it was the handwritten sign on the door alerting students of the nearby high school that they were not permitted to loiter at the donut shop. I think it said, “Buy your donuts and drinks and move along,” or something similar, direct and to the point. Even though I got there before 9 a.m., the donut selection was pretty sparse. Someone had recommended a sausage roll, but those were all gone. The lady in front of me snagged the last apple fritter. Even though it was a limited selection, my hubby had no trouble picking several donuts.
This location of Shipley’s wasn’t a sit-down-and-enjoy-your-coffee kind of place so we took the donuts and coffee back to the hotel. As we were leaving, I noticed the drive-thru window was added on to the original building. It was a just a tiny little closet sized addition, stuck right to the side of the building. There’s no speaker box or fancy menu sign, just pull directly up to the window and ask what’s still available. There is to be a donut shop like that in my tiny little ‘burb, now torn down and replaced by a bank with a fancy drive-up. Sigh.
The donuts this week included a raised glazed, a chocolate frosted raised, a chocolate filled and a cinnamon sugar cake. They were all reportedly good. The chocolate in the filled donut was not like pudding and not the chocolate whipped fluffy stuff found at many donut places. It was thick and rich, like cake frosting. Every donut shop has something unique about it, even those that are part of a large chain. The thing I’ll probably most recall about my visit to Shipley’s was this sign on the interior window: You just never know where you might find a buyer for a cemetery lot.
While I don’t often visit one of the BIG donut chains, I have had Winchell’s on my list from the beginning. It seemed important to visit the “time to make the donuts” establishment, however there isn’t one in the Kansas City area so I had to visit one while away from home.
While in Colorado, I noticed there are still several Winchell’s in the Denver area. After working in the mountains near Vail the night before and having an early morning flight out from Denver, stopping at a donut shop on the way out of town looked like a good option. We found the Winchell’s nearest to I-70 and made an early Sunday morning stop.
It doesn’t look like much has changed at Winchell’s since I lasted visited on sometime in the late 80′s. The logo, the yellow and brown everywhere and even the donuts seem about the same. I noticed the boxes and bags have a catchy little phrase on them, “With a donut in each hand, anything is possible.” I totally believe that!
A small window provided a view into the kitchen, where two guys were mixing and then plopping out onto the counter a large gooey ball of dough. John had already snagged his donuts and we needed to get moving toward the airport so I didn’t get to see what they were making but there is something reassuring about an open kitchen.
Winchell’s gets the award for having the most pink donuts in their bakery case. I love a pink frosted donut, but not just any pink. It can’t be a really fake, overly-food colored pink. It needs to be a delicate hue of pink that eludes to a strawberry or cherry flavor that isn’t artificial. The only time I really care for a neon pink in my food is when eating a Cherry Mash. Oh, now there’s an idea! A chocolate cake donut with cherry frosting and Cherry Mash chunks on top. If I had to bet who might make such a donut, I’d put my money on Wichita’s Donut Whole. Yum!
John must have been having a serious donut craving, as he got a bag full of donuts to take to the airport. The grease stain on the bag was immediately apparent, but he said they were tasty. He was fond of the cake donut and said he should have gotten more cake donuts, fewer raised donuts. Regardless, he ate them all. Greasy or not, they were surely better than anything sold at the airport!
The Winchell’s we visited is located at 10000 W. 44th Avenue in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
Tucked way in the back of my head, somewhere in the childhood memories folder, is a vague recollection of riding the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and having a donut at the summit. When I found myself nearby, it seemed like a good opportunity to find out if the donuts were any good or not and have what I believe to be the nation’s highest altitude donut.
Instead of taking the train, my hubby and I drove up Pikes Peak in a rental car more fit for grandparents than donut seekers. The weather was gorgeous, beautiful blue skies with a rainstorm visible off in the distance producing lightning. Portions of the roadway are unpaved right now and other portions are being re-paved so there was a tiny construction delay, but one with a view so no complaints.
Once we reached the Summit House, we realized the train was there. That means several hundred people all crammed in the Summit House trying to eat, go to the bathroom and buy their souvenirs in 45 minutes. It also meant there were NO DONUTS! We staked out good spots to get donuts once the train left and the donut supply was replenished. John waited at the fudge counter, where the glazed donuts are served and I waited in the snack bar area where unglazed donuts are available.
While waiting for a donut, I met a family from Texas who told me about a Vietnamese donut shop in Dallas that I must check out. Finally warm donuts were brought out and unceremoniously dumped into a plastic bin for self service. I got two donuts and headed to the cash register to pay. (Insider tip, a quick search on-line will turn up a free donut coupon for Pikes Peak.) I spent a whole dollar for two donuts.
Meanwhile, John was snagging donuts at the fudge counter. He was surprised with a discount for waiting so long. An EMT was acting as the cashier (one of two EMTs, both wearing stethoscopes, that we spotted working in the gift shop) and was very kind to the restless tourists waiting for their donuts, some not so patiently.
The other gal behind the counter was full of great information on the history of the Pikes Peak donut. The first homesteaders formulated the recipe 88 years ago and high altitude donuts have been sold ever since. I asked what happened if you took the donuts back to a lower elevation and she said some people say they turn to a greasy ball, some say they turn rock hard and some say nothing happens to them at all.
The donuts smelled wonderful–slightly like a hushpuppy, but perhaps more like the mini donuts at the state fair except they are not mini in size. They were definitely greasy and left a big oily spot on the dash of the car, their spot for the ride back down the mountain. John ate donuts at the top and again later at lower elevation and reported no difference. Interesting!
My gluten-free (and vegan) sweet for the week was a Scout Cookie at Watercourse in Denver. Sort of light the Girl Scout Samoa cookie, only huge and full of goodness from dates, coconut and chocolate. Hello, Denver friends? Please ship more of these to me when the weather cools off. My address is…
Last week while driving through Kansas City, Kansas, my hubby John noticed a van emblazoned with a fun logo advertising donuts in a strip mall parking lot. He went to check it out, but was a bit confused because the name on the actual donut shop didn’t match the name on the van. It still seemed like a really good lead in an area of town I had not yet visited on a donut adventure.I found a website for the company advertised on the van, Thomas James Donuts, and agreed with John that their logo is fun–a monkey! Their website listed two locations, one in KCK and Holt’s Donuts in Grandview. I really enjoyed my visit to Holt’s Donuts and recalled the lady behind the counter telling me ownership had changed at Holt’s in the last couple of years, but the new owner was committed to sticking with their in-house, by-hand methods. I was hoping the shop in KCK was filled with as much goodness as Holt’s.
My friend Sheila joined me for the drive to the donut shop. While we didn’t see the van, we did quickly spot the donut shop, just where John said it would be. There sure are lots of donut shops in strip malls around KC! The sign said Nadia’s Donuts. We were the only folks picking up donuts at the time and the guy behind the counter was super friendly. I asked what the connection was with Holt’s and he said it was their other location. I mentioned I write a donut blog and was quickly outed, he had read my Holt’s adventure. He said they would soon be offering more of the famous Holt’s donuts at the KCK location and that is a great thing in my book.
I picked a few donuts to take home to John, an apple fritter as big as my head, a devil’s food cake donut and a cinnamon crunch cake donut. Sheila got about the same thing and we got out of the way so the next customer who had come in behind us could order. I overheard him asking the guy behind the counter what happened to Nadia’s and he said something about them still being around during the transition. Maybe there is new ownership here, just like at Holt’s, and the commitment to good local donuts is going to continue. I sure hope so!
John said the donuts were delicious. What a relief–they really were as good as Holt’s. He didn’t say much about the apple fritter, probably because he was busy going on and on and on about the cinnamon crunch donut. He said it may be the best cake donut in KC. Whoa! That’s a big statement. He then said the devil’s food donut melted in his mouth yet wasn’t mooshy moist, just good cake that somehow became melty. Still not sure if he actually liked this place…
Sheila had the same take on these donuts and while she hasn’t been to quite as many local donut spots as I have in the last year, she’s a bit of a donut connoisseur herself. She grew up not far from the Donut King and has had her share of good and not-so-good donuts. Her only complaint (and she had to dig to find one) was that there was almost too much crunchy stuff on the cinnamon crunch donut. Is that possible?
Thomas James Donuts is located at 7652 State Avenue in Kansas City, KS. Go visit them!
My gluten-free non-donut sweet this week was delicious. Not donut delicious, and boy did I want a donut listening to John and Sheila raves about Thomas James, but it was still a great sweet treat. I made the Peach Pie with Brie–Cupcake Style recipe from Stefani at the Cupcake Project. I used the gluten-free pie crust recipe from the Babycakes cookbook. With peaches so plentiful at my local orchard, the timing was perfect! I topped the delicious pie, cupcake style, with a bit of Talenti Hill Country Peach Champagne Sorbetto. Yum!
This week’s donut adventure began with a tip from Em. While having dinner at Five Guys, Em and B noticed a banner that said “DONUTS” in a strip of stores in the Tiffany Springs Market area. It was evening, so they had no idea if it was open for business yet or not. I love that my fellow donut fiends are scouting out additional possibilities!
John and I headed out around 8 in the morning to locate this new donut place. Sure enough, there was a little donut shop that appears to be a locally owned establishment, or at least not a member of any donut chain I am familiar with. The interior walls are painted in bright yellow and lime green and it looks ready to roll but was not yet open. Huge bags of donut flour were neatly stacked on the floor and the bakery case still looks pristine, not a single smear of a 3 years old hand was noticed. Something about the interior decor reminded me of the KC Donut Company, but no signage was present other than the outdoor banner so I still have no details…just that we’re getting another donut shop in KC!
Plan B was put into action, a trip to the nearest Casey’s General Store. In the late 80′s, Casey’s opened in my home town of 1,500 people. We finally had a place that was open ’til 11 at night, offered fountain sodas AND made donuts fresh everyday. Oh, and did I mention pizza? Pizza that you could buy one slice at a time? My senior year of high school, I would occasionally sneak away during journalism class with a friend to grab a slice of greasy pizza. We were such rebels. My dad loved to get donuts there and delighted in snagging a box of day old donuts for a discounted price. I recall him being a bit perturbed when Casey’s switched from frying donuts in the store to using a frozen variety that is heated and glazed in the store. But he still kept buying their donuts.
Twenty years later, I still find something comforting about Casey’s. The smell of pizza and donuts is familiar to me and brings back memories. The sight of a Casey’s is a reminder that I’ve stepped away from the city, if just briefly, and it feels surprisingly safe and welcoming. Perhaps that isn’t true but is instead a reflection of my hometown, encapsulated in the aromas of a tiny little convenience store that happens to sells tasty donuts.
We pulled into the nearest Casey’s, located on a two lane highway between our little ‘burb and the KC airport. While we passed cows grazing to get there, we also knew we could be back to all of the conveniences of the city in less than 10 minutes. We needed gas (bonus–gas and donuts in one stop!) so we parked at the pump. A Casey’s employee was smoking a cigarette while emptying the trash between gas pumps. She stopped to have a puff or two while talking to John, who was pumping gas, about how spacious his bitty-SUV appeared to be and then zipped off to the dumpster.
I headed in to check out the donut selection and immediately noticed THAT smell. There is something about a Casey’s donut that smells different from all others. I have no idea what the smell is but it is good! And there was pizza…and cookies…and rice krispie treats. Everything I remembered being so yummy at Casey’s was available for purchase! John chose a Pull-a-Part, which is like six donut holes stuck together, a maple glazed chocolate brownie and a chocolate glazed chocolate cake donut. While I couldn’t eat any of these goodies, it didn’t stop me from sticking my head in the bag several times to get a good whiff. I could almost taste them…well, except for that chocolate maple number. I am not sure I have ever had chocolate and maple together but John swears it is good.
As we were paying for the donuts and the requisite gas station coffee, I spotted a box of day-olds. That’s a first on the 52 Donuts journey. My dad would have bought them.
My sweet this week was a tiny white cake from Andrea’s Gluten Free Bakery with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. While not donut good, it was among the best gluten-free sweets I’ve had.
Em and I headed out on Friday morning to grab a donut and make a second stop at Christopher Elbow for ice cream.
Our intended Donut stop was Johnny’s Donuts and Hamburgers. I knew it was in an iffy neighborhood but I often find really good food in such neighborhoods. That is not what we found at Johnny’s.
As we approached, we noticed the parking lot was absolutely empty. Not a single car. Em pointed out there wasn’t even a car for the donut maker. Not easily steered away from a donut, we parked in the empty lot and headed for the door. Em pointed out a HUGE can of bug spray (see pic) sitting on the windowsill of the kitchen area. Ewwww.
Still not discouraged, we headed for the door only to find it locked. I could see in the door and on a large tray was a mound of donuts, not nicely displayed, just piled in a big mound. Hmm…how bad did we really want a donut? I pulled on the door one more time just to make sure it was locked. The rattling stirred someone inside, a fella wearing an apron, who came to the door to tell me that they were closed until 10:30. I guess we didn’t want a bug spray glazed donut anyway. Sigh.
Johnny’s Donuts is located at 4424 Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, MO
Off we went for our intended second destination, Christopher Elbow Chocolates. I first had their delicious ice cream on National Donut Day and was looking for an excuse to try more flavors. A donut-less donut adventure provided that excuse.
A trip to Christopher Elbow is always fun, with hundreds of chocolates beautifully displayed, just begging to go home with you. The addition of a hot chocolate bar and ice cream makes it even more tempting! On this trip, I got a pint of the Sweet Corn and a pint of the Chocolate Venezuelan Spice. Em got a pint of Creme Fraiche and a pint of Fleur de Sel Caramel, one of my favorites from the first trip. We split one green tea chocolate and hit the road, all the while Em insisting that we were going to load up the road construction sign that was laying on the sidewalk. Neither of us has been arrested yet on a donut adventure, but she seems determined to stir up some trouble. And I think that makes it just a tad bit more fun. We had an ice cream tasting in Em’s kitchen and I enjoyed all four flavors. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be a draw between the Sweet Corn and the Creme Fraiche. I expected the Venezuelan Spice to have a little more heat to it, but instead it was mostly a rich chocolate flavor with a nice amount of cinnamon, like a really good Mexican hot chocolate, frozen. The Creme Fraiche had a hint of citrus to it–delicious! I raved about the Fleur de Sel Caramel before so will save you from reading about it again, although it is good enough to write about twice.
I chose the Sweet Corn to accompany this week’s donut. I had a Kinnikinnick gluten-free vanilla glazed donut. I dusted it with corn meal and added a scoop of Sweet Corn Ice Cream, sprinkled with sea salt. The salt really completed the flavor of the ice cream. Christopher Elbow’s Sweet Corn ice cream is like the sweetest corn bread I’ve ever had, or maybe a yummy corn chowder. Em makes corn chowder with bacon, so perhaps a sprinkle of bacon instead of sea salt would also be good with this ice cream.
Christopher Elbow Chocolates is located at 1819 McGee Street in Kansas City, MO.
This week’s donut adventure was the furthest I have driven in a car to get a donut. I left home at 4:30 in the morning on July 3rd for the four hour trip to St. Louis. Since many people were off of work for the holiday, traffic was minimal for the entire drive and I arrived right on time to meet my friends who live on the other side of the state.
Jill and I pulled in at about the same time and chatted on the sidewalk near World’s Fair Donuts for just a few minutes before Thad showed up. And just a few moments later Jill’s neighbors Stefani and Jon joined us. I have known Jill and Thad for many years. We’re artists working in the same industry and have been friends for years but I don’t think we have ever shared donuts before. Stefani is a fellow food blogger (you should visit the Cupcake Project!) and Jon is a professional photographer. My two passions, art and food, collided on the sidewalk in front of a donut shop. Conversation flowed before we ever made it to the donuts…but you knew we wouldn’t skip the donuts!
A word on choosing a donut in St. Louis: Since I’m not from the area, I asked around for a donut suggestion in St. Louis. One friend suggested the Donut Drive-In. Thad suggested Olde Towne donuts in Fenton. Stefani put out the call to the St. Louis Foodies and the overwhelming response was World’s Fair Donuts. I trust the foodie community and just from the appearance of World’s Fair Donuts, they sent us to the right place. It is an old school donut shop, complete with a non-stop flow of patrons even late in the morning by donut standards.
World’s Fair Donuts has no inside seating, just a huge bakery case full of every variety of donut one might need on a Friday morning, plus fried pies. I have never seen fried pies at a donut shop before and asked my St. Louis friends if that was a regional thing, but none of them was aware of a huge fried pie trend in the area. Interesting!
Since I can no longer indulge in regular donuts, I’ll share what Jill said about World’s Fair: “World’s Fair Donuts had 2 coffee sizes, small and large. I was impressed they have not upgraded to the new American sizes. The small coffee I ordered was in a 6oz cup with 5oz of coffee. Other restaurants would call the World’s Fair large a small (or tall,) and the small a free sample cup. Only cost me $.99 for a coffee and cake donut. The donut I ordered was really sweet, but perhaps not to others who eat more donuts; I don’t think I’ve had a donut in years. I liked the atmosphere. Glad to see urban sprawl hasn’t put them out of business.”
I think Jill and Stefani both had the buttermilk donut. Stefani said it had a cinnamon flavor to it, which was unexpected but tasty. I was flabbergasted at the prices. A fifty cent donut is almost unheard of and I’ve paid as much as $2 for a donut.
Donuts and coffee were consumed on the sidewalk before Jill, Thad and I headed to Global Foods. It’s the size of a supermarket, but packed with foods from many different countries. This place is foodie heaven! Each aisle has a sign indicating what country you’ll find foods from. The produce section would have added at least a few hundred more strange fruits to MightyGirl’s 1,000 fruit list. The chocolate area gave me great opportunity to purchase gifts for friends who enjoy Kinder, Milka and Ritter bars. I got a Japanese soda, flavored with lychee, curry ketchup from Germany and several other interesting items that were new to me. I want to go back and spend hours perusing this place!
While I could have spent an entire day at Global Foods, we had lots more fun to pack into the day. We zipped over to Trader Joe’s, loaded up a couple of carts of goodies to bring home and then it was time to say goodbye to Thad before heading to the movie theatre. Jill and I went to see FOOD, Inc. and I think you should see it, too.
After saying goodbye to Jill, I made a stop at another location of Trader Joe’s to pick up frozen treats and noticed a Container Store across the street so had to stop there, too. In a perfect world, my lovely city would have IKEA, Trader Joe’s and a Container Store…and a gluten-free donut shop. Until that happens, I have to pack as much shopping into one day (and one small car) as I can. I had one last stop planned. I still had not indulged in my weekly sweet! I stopped in Chesterfield, Missouri at Andrea’s Gluten Free Bakery. I got chocolate cupcakes for my weekly donut substitute and a slew of gluten-free goodies. Then it was time to point the car west, with at least 3 hours of driving ahead of me. Plenty of time to contemplate how I was going to get all of the Trader Joe’s and Andrea’s goodies into the cupboard. It was the perfect day spent with friends, old and new, and lots of food adventures.
World’s Fair Donuts is located at 1904 S. Vandeventer Avenue in St. Louis, MO.
Twenty-six weeks, halfway there! I wasn’t sure at the beginning of this project I would be able to find 52 different donut shops or that I would find the motivation to stay on track with my plan of eating only one sweet each week. I’ve had only one small detour from the one sweet a week plan and am a bit sad that I am halfway through the project–there are still so many donut places I want to visit!
Week #26 brings a bit of change to the 52 Donut Project. As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, my doctor recommended a gluten-free diet. I begrudgingly agreed to give it a try, although I did sneak in delicious, very gluten-y donuts twice in the first three weeks, the final time being last Sunday at the KC Donut Company. With reduced gluten intake, my body has stopped producing the gluten antibodies that allowed me to eat gluten, even if my body was intolerant. Now eating gluten causes discomfort (okay, so it’s really pain and it lasted 4 days), so much so that eating a donut seems unappealing. Can you imagine? A month ago I couldn’t imagine that anything could cause me to not want a donut. Now I know what it takes to get me to stop eating donuts. Okay…so that’s really more than you wanted to know about my health woes but it will help to understand where I’m going with this.
My love of the donut goes far beyond just eating the donut. I love the experience and it has taken this project to make me realize just how much I enjoy sharing food and the experience with friends. The time spent together, the laughter, the occasional snarky quip that accompanies superb people watching…Visiting a donut shop each week is a social practice for a wide variety of people, a practice that crosses many boundaries. I adore it. I am not willing to give up my weekly donut adventure, even if the consumption portion of the adventure must become voyeuristic.
Here is where I need your help: I will need one of you, my dear friends, family, readers, strange donut stalkers, to join me for a donut each week. I don’t want your review of your favorite neighborhood donut shop, I want to go with you to your favorite neighborhood donut shop. I want to enjoy the experience with you, talk about life, catch up, while you have a donut or two or twelve. I’ll have coffee and then I’ll blog about it. Not so different from what’s already going on, just that I’ll be counting on you to tell me all about the donuts. And if the donut offerings include something meaty or exotic, of course you’ll be expected to try it!
And now on to the donut adventure…
Many times I have driven past Judi’s Family Bakery. Located close to a bridge that crosses the Missouri River, I often pass by in an attempt to avoid traffic jams on the nearby interstate. Never once had I stopped in. I tried one Sunday to have a donut at Judi’s but they are not open on Saturdays or Sundays. I went with John for a donut on Friday and the place was busy, busy, busy, even at mid-morning (8:15) by the standards of the nearby industrial businesses.
Nearly always, I ask the folks behind the counter what their favorite donut is. Too often I get the non-commital, “I like them all.” Seriously, no one expects you to like every single donut. You must have a favorite and it’s great if you’ll tell me. I might like it, too. The next scenario usually happens when the owner of a donut shop is present. “I really like the cherry/chocolate-grape/patriotic-sprinkled-in-January donut.” This donut is the one that no one is buying that day, either because it looks unappetizing or is unappetizing. And it is suddenly the owner’s favorite. It goes into every dozen box of the customer that says, “Just give me an assortment.” This week’s adventure started similarly when the guy behind the counter said to us, “We love allllll of our children.” When I pushed for one favorite, he repeated himself. Not one to give up easily, I asked the girl behind the counter. She replied, “I really like the blueberry cake donuts.” Out of the side of his mouth, the guy behind the counter said, “Oh, I HATE those!” Ha! John chose a chocolate old-fashioned, a raised glazed, the blueberry cake and an apple fritter. There were plenty of varieties to choose from, including a star-shaped donut which I have only seen before at Krispy Kreme. There are a few places to grab a seat at Judi’s but we had to get to work, so we took the donuts to go. On the way out the door, I noticed a copy of The Donut Book sitting on a shelf. What a great book to have for folks to browse while enjoying a donut!
While I couldn’t indulge in any of the donuts from Judi’s, I did take a long look and had a sniff of the bag of greasy, fried goodness. The blueberry cake was very blue, lots of blueberries present in the donut. The apple fritter was interesting in that it was nearly 2 inches thick. John said it wasn’t crunchy on the outside (his favorite part of an apple fritter) and there were very few apples in the dough. The apples that were in the dough were all concentrated in one end of the fritter. He said it was more like a raised donut than an apple fritter. John’s Space Age hasn’t had a serious apple fritter competitor for awhile! While we had a fun adventure at Judi’s, John wasn’t overly impressed with the donuts. He said they were kinda like getting a donut at Quiktrip, which isn’t horrible just not memorable. I’m glad the experience was.
Judi’s Family Bakery is located at 1250 Burlington Avenue in North Kansas City, MO.
Next week I’m hitting the road for another donut adventure. Stay tuned…
John had spotted one location of the small local chain, KC Donut Company, while zipping through Olathe, Kansas a month or so ago. Further research revealed four locations, all within just a few miles of each other. We visited the location at 2014 E Santa Fe in Olathe.
This location is in a strip mall with a KMart. Nothing else appeared to be open in the shopping area early on a Sunday morning, as seems typical of strip mall donut shops. There was plenty of activity around the donut shop, usually a good sign.
As we entered, a perky young thing behind the counter greeted us with, “Bag or Box?” Hmmm…we hadn’t even pondered the offerings yet but better go with the bag. The offerings were many and we had a tough time narrowing it down to fit in the bag. We chose a German chocolate, a raised peanut butter chocolate, a cake peanut butter chocolate, an old-fashioned and an apple fritter.
Off we went with our bag for the 45 minute drive home to enjoy the donuts. There is no seating area inside this location of the KC Donut Company. It doesn’t feel like a big national chain inside, but also doesn’t have the character of a decades old, locally owned donut shop either.
I tried both of the peanut butter chocolate varieties and think the frosting was better on the raised donut. I love peanut butter, even more when combined with chocolate, and think this is a great combination on a donut! The German chocolate was on a raised chocolate donut and was yummy. The apple fritter was enormous!
I enjoyed our visit to the KC Donut Company and would drop by again if I were in the neighborhood. If nothing else, I’d stop by just to have one of their bright pink glazed cherry donuts.
A friend of a friend recommended this week’s donut stop, Duke’s Bakers Dozen in Belton. John joined me for the 30+ minute drive in the rain to a part of the city we are not overly familiar with. I could not recall ever being in the business district of Belton before. Several miles of taquerias, buy-here-pay-here car dealers and random businesses that looked like they have been there forever greeted us. There was little activity going on around any of the businesses, excep the donut shop.
Baker’s Dozen is in a small strip of stores which includes a Mexican bakery and has a tiny parking area. There were plenty of folks coming and going, a single guy in his 50s, three generations of a family, the grandfather toting the Sunday newspaper, a mom in a pickup truck nagging her kids to hurry up. We headed inside and were immediately hit in the face with the commingled smell of grease and cigarette smoke. Apparently Belton does not yet have a no smoking ordinance and there was a lady sitting at the end of the counter closest to the front door puffing away. I am pretty sure this marks the first donut shop I have visited on the 52 Donuts journey where smoking is permissible.
The multi-generation family I mentioned earlier snagged the last few available counter seats, so we got our donuts to go. The lady behind the counter bagged up our donuts quickly and had us on our way. She wasn’t too interested in conversation with anyone but was sure doing a great job of putting exactly what was ordered in each persons bag. We got a raised glazed, a jelly filled, a chocolate cake and a few others that John couldn’t resist. By the time we reached the car with our donuts, the bag was already dotted with grease spots. One bite of the raised glazed donut revealed the culprit. The donuts were dry and crusty on top, yet somehow greasy.
While the donuts were far from the best I have had (in fact, they were among the worst), Duke’s Baker’s Dozen is an authentic local donut shop and I would go there again just to see if the donuts are ever any fresher or less greasy. And with their extensive hours of business, I just might find reason to drop by again.
Duke’s Baker’s Dozen is located at 103 N. Scott Avenue in Belton, MO.
Friday was National Donut Day, the High Holy Day of the Donut Kingdom and I had big plans to celebrate. I had planned a menu that included a donut in every meal for the whole day. And then came the recommendation from the doctor that I eat a gluten-free diet for the next three weeks. What’s a donut girl to do?!? It took a bit more planning, a lot more cooking and a serious change of plans for the day but the celebration had to go on!
I started National Donut Day off exactly as planned with a trip to Krispy Kreme with John. They were giving away a free donut of your choice and one should never pass up a free donut! As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a huge van full of Mennonites, several of them carrying Krispy Kreme boxes. We had a good laugh about a group of people known for their baking skills stopping at Krispy Kreme. John was going to score big at Krispy Kreme, since I couldn’t eat anything there. We picked out our two free donuts and bought one. I feel a little bad going someplace and only taking the free thing, so we did buy one extra donut. John got three yummy donuts and we headed back home for my first donut baking adventure and a bit of donut-y breakfast.
While John inhaled his Krispy Kreme donuts, I had Apple Cinnamon Donut Holes from Olivia’s Oven, a local Gluten-Free bakery. It was just a couple of weeks ago that I had a conversation with Michael at the Donut Whole in Wichita about the difficulty of making a Gluten-Free donut. Even though I have enjoyed other goodies from Olivia’s Oven, I wasn’t holding my breath about these donut holes. Surprise! They were AMAZING! If one could smoosh together a raised donut and a cake donut, you’d have the texture of these yummy little balls of goodness. Absolutely delicious! Em tried one later in the day and said the texture was very muffin-like. She’s right, yet they had that exterior crust of a donut all rolled in sugar and cinnamon. They tasted like Autumn. Yum! And then it was time for my first attempt at making donuts. While I love donuts, adore donut makers and the donut experience, I lack the skills to be a professional donut maker, especially one that is currently prohibited from using products with gluten. I bought a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix. I used coconut milk with the mix for a little additional sweetness and added a bit of agave nectar. The dough was not at all roll-able so there would be no use for my donut cutter. It was far too sticky to go through the donut maker contraption I bought at the As Seen On TV store. John saved the day by suggesting I put the dough in the mechanical pastry bag from Williams-Sonoma. It did the trick! I made little loops of dough on parchment paper and left them to rise while I went out on the next chapter of the National Donut Day adventures.
I adore chocolates from Christopher Elbow but have not yet figured out a way to incorporate them into a donut adventure. In addition to Friday being National Donut Day, it was also the debut day of Christopher Elbow’s ice cream and sorbet. Being a fan of his almost-too-pretty-to-eat chocolates, I knew the ice cream would be delicious. With flavors like sweet corn, pineapple cilantro and rosemary caramel, deciding on flavors was going to be tough. I got stuck in a little traffic snarl but still managed to arrive right as the doors opened at 10 and was the first one to order. I got a pint each of Fleur de Sel Caramel, Tahitian Vanilla Bean and Lavender Vanilla for Em. By the time I got three pints of ice cream and paid, the line was getting lengthy. Word of a good thing spreads fast!
Back at home, ice cream safely tucked away in the freezer, it was time to fry the donuts. I can’t remember the last time I fried anything and quickly realized why I eat donuts out. Frying is messy! I heated the oil in a small pan and fried the donuts one at a time, which wasn’t too bad since I only had 18 of them. I brushed them with a bit of agave nectar while they were still warm and they actually resembled a donut. Sure they were gluten-free, but at least they were shaped like a donut. Em came over to retrieve her ice cream and we had warm donuts with the most amazing ice cream I have ever tasted. I am not a fan of ice cream and the last time I recall having ice cream was about two years ago. That said, I’m glad Christopher Elbow ice cream comes in pints and not gallons, because I could make a gallon disappear quickly. It was that kind of good. My favorite was the Fleur de Sel Caramel. While reluctant, I did sample Em’s Lavender Vanilla ice cream. It tasted like Lavender, so much so that Em exclaimed, “It tastes like PURPLE!” Not something I would want a full scoop of but it was interesting to try. And the donuts were yummy, too, a bit like funnel cake. My first attempt at Gluten-Free baking was a success and the donuts were quite good. Not like the ice cream was good and not like my favorite donut shop good, but good in a very unrefined, homemade kind of way.
For lunch I whipped up a homemade Sloppy Joe sauce with lots of red and green peppers and onion and used Amy’s Bistro Burgers for the “meat.” I’m vegetarian and usually use Boca crumbles or something similar to make Sloppy Joes, spaghetti sauce, chili, etc…but all of those products contain gluten so I had to find an alternative. The Bistro Burgers worked well and were a bit heartier than the crumbles. For a bun, I used two donuts. This was inspired by Peculiar Fare’s version with Krispy Kreme donuts. And like the Krispy Kreme version, this was delicious. It was the best Sloppy Joe sandwich I have ever had! Afternoon snack time rolled around and another donut was in order. I bought frozen gluten-free Kinnikinnick donuts at Hy-Vee and based on the weight of the box, was guessing it contained 6 bricks instead of 6 donuts. I warmed my donut up in the microwave and had a scoop of the amazing Fleur de Sel ice cream with it. The ice cream was good, the donut was just okay. It was very dense and the vanilla frosting was very, very sweet. Unlike eating a fluffy, airy, donut, these donuts let you know you have eaten something. And they are the second Canadian-made donut I’ve tried. Canada seems to have better standards when it comes to restricted-content foods, like peanuts or gluten. My original plan for dinner was to special order glazed, unfilled long john’s at a local donut shop and then stuff them with a hamburger substitute, cabbage and onions, kind of like Bierocks but with a donut. Em suggested I try something similar but with roasted pears and brie. Since buying a store-bought donut was out, I had to find a gluten-free alternative and came across this recipe for Sufganiyot, a jelly-filled donut served during Hanukkah. I made the dough and it was a much more roll-able dough than the donuts I made in the morning. While letting the dough rest, I roasted the pears in the oven, sliced the brie and chopped up a few walnuts for a little added crunch. These fried nicely and made a really yummy dinner. The recipe made enough dough for at least 16 so I only used half of it, freezing the rest for another day when I can try the more traditional Bierocks filling. I dusted the pear and brie donuts with a bit of sugar, but this was an otherwise relatively unsweet donut. Even though I had to make a few changes to my plan for National Donut Day, it was still a success and I tried lots of new donuts that I would have otherwised overlooked. I learned a lot about gluten-free baking in one day and have so much more to learn. Hopefully I’ll get a reprieve from the gluten-free diet soon, but if I don’t, I know there are lots of donut options still available to me. Or I’ll just tag along with everyone else and blog about their donut adventures!