FEED ME: Death by doughnuts
You readers so owe me.
The plan on Sunday was to climb and ski the 11,939-foot Buck Mountain in Grand Teton National Park. What better fuel for a day in the mountains than doughnuts? By 9 p.m. on Saturday night, when I was told the adventure was off, I was getting into my car at Whole Grocer with the last of the 21 doughnuts that were to support the adventure.
What the hell does a single woman without roommates do with 21 doughnuts – from maple bacon long johns to blueberry cake, chocolate glazed raised, and randomly-sprinkled, maple iced crescents, among others – when there’s no longer a 5,000-calorie adventure on the schedule?
This single woman, in the service of you, dear readers, persevered and taste tested all 21 confections.
Before revealing what I came up with, a disclaimer: I bought my doughnuts around 9 at night and didn’t begin eating them until 9 the next morning, so they were not fresh. But the doughnuts – and I obtained samples from Smith’s, Albertsons, and Whole Grocer – were all equally un-fresh, so I think that levels the playing field. I also have a trick for resuscitating stale doughnuts, which I will share below, that I applied to each.
The upside to buying doughnuts late at night? Discount! (With the exception of Albertsons, where they were still full price.) I rolled into Smith’s around 8:30 p.m. and they had already boxed up all of the day’s leftover doughnuts into groups of a dozen, which cost $3.49. That might be the highest caloric bang-for-the-buck anywhere in the valley.
At Whole Grocer, I got a blueberry cake doughnut, a Harvest cinnamon roll, a Persephone cinnamon bun, a ham-and-cheese croissant, and a chocolate croissant for $2.49. Albertsons was the lone holdout on doughnut discounting. Four doughnuts there cost me more than the dozen at Smith’s.
The next morning, faced with 21 doughnuts, I first had to fortify myself with a double-espresso. (If you like espresso and don’t have an AeroPress, available for $30 at Pearl Street Bagels, you don’t know what you’re missing.) Doughnuts require coffee anyway.
As the espresso water was boiling, I also began to heat up a frying pan. This is my secret to stale doughnut revival: heat them up, on a stovetop, not in a microwave. Microwave re-heating requires that you eat the doughnut quickly, lest it get even chewier than it would have been if only merely stale. Stovetop reheating allows you to enjoy one leisurely, alongside a yummy double espresso.
Despite my proclivity for glazed raised doughnuts, the first one I reached for was the Albie’s blueberry cake doughnut. It just looked so wonderfully greasy.
And it was. After I had taken a sampling of everything else on offer, it stayed with me as the best of the bunch. Its blueberry flavor was more artificial than that of Whole Grocer’s blueberry cake doughnut, but the airy consistency of its cakiness was just perfect. WG’s and Smith’s cake is stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth dense. If you like to dip your cake doughnuts in coffee, which I don’t, WG and Smith’s might be more your speed.
If you like maple icing, I’d go with Smith’s, though the icing was often unevenly applied. Both the maple-iced cake doughnut and the maple, crescent thing-a-ma-bob was half dry.
I was eager to test WG’s maple bacon bar. Sadly, there were no day-olds left. I got two in my Smith’s dozen though. While I find Smith’s raised doughnuts too heavy across the board, I must applaud their generous bacon application. I got a good bit of bacon with every bite.
I really wanted to like Albie’s maple-iced cinnamon-swirled doughnut, which was so substantial I had to weigh it on my bathroom scale. It came in at .8 of a pound. One doughnut! The icing was a good half-inch thick on top in places. Not surprisingly, it was sickeningly sweet. I couldn’t manage more than three bites. And that’s coming from a woman who has no problems polishing off a pound of cookie dough in a single sitting (or tasting 21 doughnuts in one go).
And now, I’m going to start a cleanse.