When it comes to celebrating a food, I don't think you should need a special day to do it. Like, if you need a sanctioned holiday to eat a doughnut, we're probably not sexually compatible.
That being said, I can't simply let the day pass me by without saying anything, as I consider myself a sort of champion of the noble pastry. Also, I just enjoy any excuse to talk about doughnuts.
In celebration of this magnificent culinary creation, I would like to share with you my Top 10 Doughnuts of All Time. These doughnuts were chosen for their great taste and cloud-like texture, but also for the many happy memories associated with them.
10. Giant Apple Fritters My Co-Worker Use to Bring in From This Cuban Place in Clearwater
I wish I had more information to give you as to where these doughnuts came from, but my memory is surprisingly bad. All I can tell you is that a guy named Phil would bring them in every once in a while, and they were freaking huge, like size of my face huge. (I have a very big face.)
They were also amazingly tender, with soft apple pieces strewn throughout, and coated with the most delicious, glassy glaze. I would take one with the plan to "eat it throughout the day," but would usually devour it by 10:45, ruining my lunch, mood, and will to work. (Worth it tbh.)
9. These Impostor Cronuts I Made for You Guys Way Back in the Day
Oh man, this takes me back. I made these fauxnuts for you guys almost three years ago, and I still remember how sweet and fluffy they were. I also remember being super proud of how the article turned out, and super happy about how excited the readers were about it.
8. Maple Glazed from Krispy Kreme
I used to go to Krispy Kreme with my mother every weekend, usually after a trip to Target, where we would get a hot and fresh each (with a whole milk) along with a dozen assorted to go. I would usually get a couple of novelty 'nuts, but the box was mostly full of plain glazed and these, which are topped with the most delightfully cloying, almost pancake syrup-flavored maple glaze. I haven't had one of those in a long time. This should be fixed.
7. Crème Brûlée Doughnut from Blue Star Doughnuts
This was the celebration doughnut I bought myself for getting published in Cherry Bombe, and it just seemed right that pastry superstar Christina Tosi was not only on the cover, but repping doughnuts hard.
Though I'm not usually a huge fan of filled doughnuts, I love crème brûlée, so that was a filling I could get behind. The glaze had been torched to get that great, crackly caramelization, and it even came with a little pipette of Cointreau.
6. The Coconut of Conformity from Doughnut Friend
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was lucky enough to meet up with two of my former forensics coaches, who happen to be my favorite teachers of all time, as well as two of my favorite people.
Because they know me very well, they brought amazing doughnuts form Doughnut Friend, and I devoured this coconut-encrusted delicacy, which had just the right amount of lime zest.
5. Foie Gras-Filled Doughnut Holes From Bern's Steakhouse
If there is one thing I miss about living in Tampa Bay, it is Bern's freaking Steakhouse. I have yet to find a steakhouse anywhere else in the country that provides the same experience Bern's does, and I find myself thinking of it wistfully at least twice a month. (You should check out their website, but it really doesn't do it justice.)
In addition to their classic menu, they have a changing "Kitchen Within a Kitchen" menu that features slightly edgier fare. It was on this menu that I found these foie-filled delights, which were dusted with peanut powder and much lighter than you would think. The foie was present, but not overwhelming, and melted in my mouth along with the fluffy, yeasted dough.
4. Chocolate Salted Almond from Blue Star Doughnuts
The ganache on this thing is unreal. It's so dark, and so delicious and — unlike most salted sweets — has just the right amount of sea salt. I don't have a particularly emotional memory associated with it, just the memory of complete mouth bliss.
3. The Sour Cream Doughnuts From This Little Stand in Burbank
When I was around nineteen, I would stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning on Friday and Saturday nights, drinking whatever alcohol I could beg or borrow, and playing Settlers of Catan. There was a little doughnut stand that started making doughnuts at around 2 a.m., and me and my dirtbag friends would sit at the picnic table outside, eating fresh doughnuts as they came out of the fryer. The sour cream ones were so tender, so warm, and so freshly glazed that the sugar hadn't even had time to set.
2. Beignets from Cafe Du Monde
My family is obsessed with Cafe Du Monde, and — unlike a certain Portland establishment — this is one tourist trap that I think is completely worth the wait. I have been going to New Orleans and eating these hot little squares of doughy joy with their mountains of powdered sugar since I was about six, and I still consider Cafe Du Monde a must. I used to get them with a milk, but now I opt for a Cafe Au Lait, either hot or iced, depending on the weather.
1. Hot and Fresh Plain Glazed From Krispy Kreme
Out of all the fancy doughnuts I've ever put in my mouth, my favorite pieces of fried dough are still those perfect little hot circles from Krispy Kreme, and I refuse to apologize for it.
In addition to enjoying them with my mother after many a shopping trip, I have fond memories of making a midnight run for them with my college roommate. I would eat two, but Brittany would soldier on. I once saw her eat five in about ten minutes. It did not end well.
What are your favorite doughnut memories? Who do you think makes the best plain glazed? Oh, and if you want to know where to get free doughnuts today, check out this article from USA Today.