I recently read an article someone had posted on Facebook about the so-called Best Doughnuts in the city in which the person lived. Being the daughter and the sister of men who have made literally thousands and thousands of doughnuts between the two of them – and a doughnut-lover of the first degree myself – I was very interested to see just what sorts of doughnuts made the top 10 list.
After about the third doughnut on the list that purported to be a “healthier alternative” by being baked rather than fried, I abandoned ship. Donuts aren’t baked. Donuts are fried. Doughnuts, my friends, are not meant to be healthy. You want healthy, have a whole-grain bagel or a smoothie made with spinach and acai. My dad was rolling in his grave.
When we were in Italy back in 2008, we spent two weeks living in an apartment in Rome. Right across the street was a restaurant that opened in the morning and served food all day. Italians aren’t much for breakfast. They might have a doppio espresso or a cappuccino and something sweet if they have anything. Bill – a true-blue doughnut lover himself – had read that the Italian word for doughnut was bomboloni. So he walked into the restaurant the first morning, pointed to the doughnuts sitting on the counter, and confidently asked for two bomboloni. The man working the counter literally laughed out loud.
“No bomboloni,” he said, still snickering. “Ciambelle.”
Whatevah, Bill thought.
But having grown up around doughnuts, I knew why the man laughed. Bomboloni are filled doughnuts, what we might call bismarks. Ciambelle are the doughnuts with which many of us are most familiar – round with a hole in the middle, generally covered in glaze. It would be like going into a doughnut shop, pointing to a glazed doughnut and asking for one of those bismarks. A subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless. Those particular doughnuts – or ciambelle – were thickly covered in granulated sugar and sat on top of about a half-inch of additional sugar. They were delicious. I had one daily for the whole time we were in Rome. Bill would wash his hands after eating one. I licked my fingers. I wish I had one right now.
And they were fried, not baked. Because doughnuts are fried, no matter what country.
My brother, who has been in a bakery nearly every day of his life and KNOWS HIS DOUGHNUTS, told me this when I asked him what, in his opinion, constitutes a good doughnut: When I am testing doughnuts, I eat them with no glaze and cooled off. Because as dad said, you can put glaze on a hot pile of s**t and it would taste good. Not greasy and light is good.
Dave’s aforementioned quote from my dad is straight from the horse’s mouth, of course, curse word and all. My dad had a way with words. But it is how he justified people’s love for Krispie Kreme doughnuts. As you can tell, he wasn’t a Krispie Kreme fan, nor is my brother. I tend to agree. They’re good when they’re hot. When they’re cool, they’re ordinary.
By the way, we Gloors are all rather an opinionated bunch when it comes to bakery items, and to baking itself. One of my pet peeves when watching cooking shows is when the cheerful chef tells the viewer to put your cake in the oven and COOK IT for 40 minutes. Every time I hear that – EVERY SINGLE TIME – I say through gritted teeth, “Bake it, not cook it.” But I recently was with my brother when someone talked about cooking something in the oven, and I was pleased when I heard him say, “Bake in the oven, not cook.” There’s right and wrong, people.
But I digress.
I wrote a blog post not that long ago about doughnuts, because apparently I’m obsessed with them. Fried doughnuts, not baked. It was after I visited Voodoo Doughnuts, a doughnut shop that originated in the northwest and has since expanded to other states. Its popularity isn’t based on the doughnuts being inexpensive, as they ran in the neighborhood of $15 a dozen.
But even though in my opinion doughnuts are not supposed to look like this…..
….at least they were fried. See above. Have I mentioned that doughnuts are not health food?
One last thing I learned from my brother yesterday about doughnuts: one sign of a good doughnut apparently is if it has a clear skunkline. What is that, you may ask? I myself didn’t know until yesterday. The skunkline is the white line that goes around a nicely fried doughnut. Here are examples of doughnuts perfectly fried by my brother……
Having wasted over 800 words on the topic of doughnuts, I will leave you with this so that you can know that our love for doughnuts runs in our family, as Dagny demonstrates…..
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