Extra Hot. Extra Fresh: Made-to-Order Donuts at Your Whim
Over the last ten years or so, people have completely reinvented donuts as far as how they look and taste. But not many have changed the overall model of how we sell, make, buy, and eat them. Every shop, of course, has their own recipes, but the vast majority operate like a traditional bakery, baking and decorating their wares in the early morning and keeping them in racks or display cases. Customers then come in throughout the day, get their choices boxed up and head out on their merry way. But one of the things that makes donuts different from other pastries is that they’re fried rather than baked and that means they cook quickly. Some places are taking advantage of that, making their donuts fresh-to-order, dropping the bakery model and rethinking the way we eat donuts.
The time is here! Top This Donut Bar is ready to serve you Anderson! 7am-10pm! See you there! pic.twitter.com/FBZ7ZaFkmC
— Top This Donut Bar (@topthisdonuts) February 26, 2016
Toppings are, of course, the most exciting part of the donut, and some places have taken steps toward the made-to-order model by letting customers choose their own. Places like Cincinnatti’s Top This Donuts and Sugar on Top in Pennsylvania have basically stolen the model from top-your-own frozen yogurt places but with donuts as the base, making for a more creative and interactive donut experience. With toppings including bacon, cannoli filling, and fresh fruit, Top This and Sugar on Top’s creations are more of a full-on dessert or snack (or meal, depending on your self-control) than your typical donut and are intended to be eaten pretty quickly—an experience more like getting ice cream than getting a croissant.
Donut of the Day: Tiramisu!
Bavarian cream with ground coffee beans and chocolate sauce! pic.twitter.com/ZyZiagDKfl
— Sugar On Top-MU (@SugarOnTopMU) November 8, 2015
Other places take it a step further making and selling donuts the way you would make and sell, say, a falafel. Places like this food truck in Orlando, the mid-Atlantic chain Duck’s Donuts, and Shore Good Donuts in Long Island, all have their dough prepared ahead of time but fry it up for you when you order it. You may have to wait a minute after ordering but what you get is hot, fresh, “sizzley” goodness—and an experience that feels more like ordering food than buying candy. Some places like Florida’s The Donut Experiment, even combine that model with the top-your-own idea, making the donuts in front of you and then letting you choose the toppings for them. Again, all of these are intended to be eaten pretty quickly, which lets them get more ambitious with the glazes and toppings.
As more and more people apply their creative juices to donuts, it’s no surprise that people are re-thinking what culinary food groups they can belong to. As donut makers get more and more serious about crafting awesome donuts and crafting experiences that get customers to stop, think, and consider the thing they’re getting can only help them appreciate it more. The bottom line is: who doesn’t want a warm donut with their choice of toppings on it right now?