As Jason mentioned back in November, MAD Donuts is a hot new spot in Westchester Mall serving up some of the best donuts in the tri-state area outside of the five boroughs and like many other places, with a new year and season comes their new menu.
This weekend, I made the trip out of the city and went to visit Jason in Westchester so we could try out some of the new items on the menu. Funnily enough, despite our love and constant conversation over the sweet treats, it’s not often we’re actually eating donuts together. I went for the Frosty Flakes and Maple Bacon and Jason went with the classic Cinnamon Sugar and Apple Fritter. While Jason’s were truly delectable and the Apple Fritter does indeed live up to the hype, the Frosty Flakes was my highlight of the day. These are yeast donuts so they’re quite large in size and powerful in flavor. The texture is pretty think for yeast and not so light and fluffy, but that is not a problem. The icing was the standout for me on this guy. Instead of a basic sugary vanilla coating with Frosted Flakes cereal on top, the brains at MAD Donuts made a cereal milk icing which really elevates the flavor and makes it just sweet enough and gives an incredible balance to the crunchy pieces of cereal.
The Maple Bacon is another great gem on their menu, albeit a bit more inline with others you can find around the area. The sweet maple is quite generously poured over the donut and the tiny bacon bits add just the right amount of chewy texture without it becoming the main focus. The icing was like a sheet and broke off in chunks which made getting all the flavors in one bit a slight challenge, but a rewarding one at that.
With Fall Flavors officially behind us, I’m a bit late to the game in trying the holiday donuts from around town. Much like Apple Cider dominating autumn, Chocolate Peppermint and Eggnog are common flavors for this time of year. I still plan to round up some of those before the new year, but started off my seasonal adventure with two that were a bit more fun and festive.
For the holidays, Doughnut Plant is in full celebration mode offering up seasonal specials like Gingerdough Men, Christmas Trees, Gingerbread, Coconut Snowman, and Marzipan (in both star and jelly filled varieties). I kept things a bit basic and opted for a Gingerdough Man and a Christmas Tree. Both are larger than the average circular donut and the fun shapes add to the holiday bliss and while I tend to always stick to cake over yeast, for the holidays I made an exception.
The Gingerdough Man was heavy and dense, more so than most yeast donuts, and the sugar coating really packed on the sweetness. The dough itself was extra chewy and the size, density, and texture really made it quite filling. The Christmas Tree was also on the larger size and its bright green glaze really added the festive nature to the enhance the shape. Underneath the minty outer shell (which reminded me of a lovely Andes candy), the yeast donut is filled with a rich chocolate pudding that takes each bite to another level and perfectly achieves the chocolate and mint pairing so one never overpowers the other. Doughnut Plant always excels in the look of their treats, perfectly round with an immaculate shine, each one looks like it could’ve come straight from a display case and not just a shelf behind the counter. These holiday donuts take it up another level so not only is each bite delicious, but just staring at them will put you in the holiday spirit.
Boca Raton’s Doughboy is a sleek donut shop that specializes in gourmet mini cake donuts with extensive flavors. Their shop is small, but sharp and clean. Exposed bricks are covered in white paint which gives the shop a chic look and each of their donuts are made custom to order. The menu is pretty diverse with over fifteen flavors to choose from and you can order in bulk sets with up to 25 donuts in an order. Naturally, I walked in and said “I’ll have one of everything, please.”
The bite-sized treats are soft and chewy and the flavors really pack a punch. Everything ranging from Fruity Pebbles to Nutella filled to bacon with maple frosting, the variety is extreme and allows for the guests to have a wide sample of tastes. Since each order is custom made, the wait can feel a bit extreme (I was lucky enough to be there on a day when there were no other customers, but I can see the wait time getting a bit intense), but the flavors do more than make up for the lag time it takes to complete an order. In addition to some truly wild and bold flavors which are really great, the presentation is also top-notch. Unfortunately, there is no display case so you can only catch a glimpse of your own orders and there is no eye-candy to salivate over while you wait.
While the location feels a bit odd, it’s located in a strip mall, it does feel a bit like a diamond in the ruff and those lucky enough to come across it are in for a real treat. It’s an unsuspecting little shop filled with giant flavor. For me, no vacation is complete without a search for local donuts and Doughboy really hit the spot.
I was lucky enough to stop by the grand opening of MAD Donuts in Westchester Mall yesterday, and I was so happy for owner Matt and his family. While NYC is flush with gourmet and specialty donut shops, we are desperately thin where I live in the northern suburbs, so it’s exciting to have MAD open and changing that.
Matt and team did a great job on the aesthetics of the shop – it’s bright white inside and welcoming. The location is also prime, near a corner on the Retail 3 level across from the few chain eateries remaining now that the 4th floor “Savor” food court is open.
I knew I had to try the apple fritter, which is so big that it gets its own display case. I decided to stick with the Fall flavors theme and pair that with the caramel apple cider.
Other flavor options on opening day included pumpkin pie, cranberry iced, vanilla bean glazed, chocolate iced, PB&J, lemon meringue and brown sugar custard.
The apple fritter deserves the attention and press it’s been getting – the flavor balance and texture are awesome. You get a crunchy exterior, a touch of sweet with the vanilla and cinnamon icing, then a fun interior with soft apple bits and the classic yeast donut dough. The caramel apple cider also was great – not too sweet, which I really appreciate, with great apple flavor. The two together were a great pairing.
Scores: Apple fritter – 10/10; Apple cider caramel – 9/10
I am so pumped that MAD is open, and so happy to support a local small business owner where I live. You can follow MAD Donuts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Temperatures may be plunging outside, but Fall flavors are still in full effect on donut shop shelves around the city. Brooklyn’s vegan staple Dun-Well Doughnuts recently had an Apple Pecan on the menu , a bit of a different twist on the autumn standard, but one that still embodied the full tastes of the season.
Despite it feeling more like Winter than Fall these days, this treat from Dun-Well was perfectly balanced and with eyes closed hard enough, it was easy to picture a tree perfectly bursting with color. Dun-Well’s donuts are wonderfully soft, chewy, and just a bit sticky, not at all dense or overpoweringly sweet. For this one, it tasted almost as if you were biting into a real apple, the flavor perfectly spot-on, I almost checked to see if the skin was in the dough. A pure apple taste matched with a perfect pecan crunch, the textures were lovely compliments to one another and the nutty flavor added some new innovation to the mix. A bit late to the game, this was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one at that and nice alternative to so many apple cider / cinnamon donuts conquering menus around town.
With a new season comes a new menu from Brooklyn’s Du’s Doughnuts and like so many other shops around the city, they’re embracing Autumn with apple goodness.
While so many others are serving up their best version of some kind of Apple Cider / Cinnamon / Sugar concoction, Du’s has also rolled out their take on Caramel Apple. It’s an immediate attention grabber on looks alone. Covered in an almost neon green glaze with a caramel drizzle, this one is hard to miss upon first glance and is a cool, creative take on the farm stand staple. The vanilla cake is a subtle base for this treat, but the real flavor lies in that vibrant green frosting. The incredibly sweet shell knocks out any other taste that comes along, as an almost pure, candied sensation rushes over your tastebuds. The green apple taste is similar to hard candy and an extra tang sticks around for a bit of an aftertaste. There’s a little crunch sprinkled on top as well for some extra texture. Overall it’s a tad aggressive and while it will certainly satisfy the most extreme sweet-tooth it may be a bit much for the average consumer.
These days, Pumpkin has become the ubiquitous flavor of Fall to (in my opinion), an unhealthy degree. Whether it’s beer, bread, or the spiced latte, the festive gourd seems to be the official flavor for any food this time of year. However, the dudes from Donut Club are firm believers that if you’re in the North East, Apple is still the apex of Autumn and with that, we’re presenting the best in the region starting with Dough’s Apple Glaze.
Properly displayed as Apple Glaze with wildflower honey and almond streusel, this is of course another one of Dough’s monstrous creations. As is typical, the donut is a very heavy yeast variety, massive in size, but not necessarily in taste. The apple glaze is sweet and refreshing, a perfect fall pick-me-up, and the almond streusel gives it a bit of a cream cheese-y taste which is complemented nicely by the wildflower honey. While the gooey frosting really carries the entire flavor of the donut, the sheer volume of the treat is still a bit over-powering. Eating one whole donut from Dough still feels like an accomplishment and their seasonal offerings never veer from their classics. The taste of the Apple Glaze screams “perfect fall dessert” and while I still think it’s not to be missed, the overall result feels like a traditional Dough donut: big on texture and freshness, but just a bit short in flavor.
Doughnut Plant has spent 2019 celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary with monthly specials ranging from Black Sesame and Yuzu to Pumpkin Seed and Apple Cinnamon. In addition to these seasonal surprises, the local legend has introduced a brand new creation: the sourdough doughnut, aka the sourdoughnut, a six year in the making creation and a cool new addition to their cake and standard yeast offerings.
Flavors of the sourdoughnut range from Orange to Pistachio to Cacio de Pepe to Dark Chocolate, the later being the one I opted for on my first tasting. The sourdough brings to the table a light, airy option that doesn’t carry the intensity of their impeccable cake masterpieces and provides a nice alternative to the standard yeast donuts. The fried, crispy exterior is wonderfully flakey and the natural yeast provides a noice moisture and richness that takes over every bite. There is a subtle taste that is just, well, sour enough to make the flavor linger just a bit longer than your typical donut giving it a unique, fresh finish, perhaps best washed down with some strong coffee. Covered in a bold glaze frosting, the dark chocolate is a bit overpowering and while it’s large in size, it’s not too heavy and a rather satisfying serving. In a scene dominated by two major varieties, it’s cool to see a new direction for donuts and obviously pleasing to see it done from true masters of their craft. While it doesn’t outrank its predecessor and isn’t going to become my new go-to, it’s a fun new addition to some of the best in the game.
Yes, the blog is Donut Club NYC, but the tagline reads “two dudes on a quest for every donut in NYC (and beyond)” so I’m happy to be writing our first ever non-NYC entry. Federal Donuts is a Philadelphia joint that specializes in Fried Chicken and Donuts (a killer combo) and has a few locations across the city.
On the donut side, they specialize in two things: “Hot Fresh” and “Fancy.” Your “Hot Fresh” donuts are flash fried and then covered in an assortment of sugar. They’re, as you’d expect, hot and incredibly delicious as they’re made to order. The “Fancy” variety is more of your traditional cake donuts with intriguing flavors. On my first visit, I opted for a few, but the Mississippi Mud is the one that will be featured here. It’s a dense cake donut that make your mouth immediately swell with saliva on first bite and it’s covered it rich cookie and peanut crumble giving it even more flavor. The chocolate here is over powering and each bite seems to become more and more sensational, the flavor somehow heightening with each mouthful. There’s an added dark chocolate drizzle underneath the cookie crumble so the chocolate overload on this one is no joke and certainly not for someone looking for a light treat. Still, despite the intensity of the donut, it’s fresh and moist which really helps the texture and is what stops the donut from becoming too much of a good thing.
The Salted Caramel Pecan is a wonderful vegan donut from the masters of Dun-Well Doughnuts in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Falling below the radar of the monstrous Dough donut, Dun-Well has become a low-key player in the yeast donut scene with a second location on St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan as well as distributing to Whole Foods in Williamsburg and other various locations. Their donuts are made up of light, fluffy consistency and they’re not nearly as overwhelming as some of their larger counterparts. So what truly separates them from the rest? Not only are their donuts some of my personal favorites in the city, but they’re vegan too. The Salted Caramel Pecan is a regular on the store’s rotation and it’s an underrated gem on the menu. Covered in a sticky frosted glaze, the caramel is buttery and sweet, melting right into your mouth and it’s topped off perfectly with pecan crumbs that give the treat an added crunch. These are sweet and mighty concoctions, but they’re perfectly sized to be filling, not stuffing. The light, airy dough is wonderfully flakey, chewy, an incredible consistency that still feels small batched and not overproduced. It has a classic-style taste, fresh and delicious and fits the old-school vibes of the shop’s interior and vintage charm.