Deep fried Twinkies, Artisan ice cream, precious little cupcakes — it seems like every dessert has been reincarnated in one way or the other and it was just a matter of time before it happened to donuts. Sure there was the Krispy Kreme craze of a few years ago, but this time around it's completely different. The new donuts are not simply glazed or adorned with a few sprinkles, they are instead thoughtfully designed, cleverly constructed and filled, topped and made from ingredients you would have never considered putting in a donut, until now.
A few months ago, I heard about a new place here in San Francisco called Dynamo Donuts. The city was particularly abuzz about their Maple-Bacon-Apple donut and recently some friends and I had the chance to give it, and a few other varieties, a taste. The day we went there they were offering seven different donut varieties, but at $3.00 – $3.50 a pop, we settled on five: Meyer Lemon- Blackberry, Guinness-Molasses, Chocolate-Almond-Rosemary, Maple-Bacon-Apple and, the most unusual sounding of the bunch, Monte Cristo, which had ham and Gruyere cheese baked into the dough and was filled with plum jam.
My initial thoughts were that they all looked great. As far as taste goes some were better than others, but all were quite nice. The unanimous winner was, not surprisingly, the Maple-Bacon-Apple. It got just the right amount of sweetness from the thick maple glaze and sauteed apples and was perfectly balanced out by the salty crunch of the bacon crumbles on top.
The least favorite on that day was the Chocolate-Almond-Rosemary. Don't get me wrong, it was a tasty donut, dense and chocolatey, but the rosemary taste was lost and it just tasted like a good chocolate donut, nothing too out of the ordinary. The Monte Cristo was great, light and airy and studded with chewy bits of ham. The plum jam in the center was both tart and sweet and played beautifully with the smokiness of the ham. The Meyer-Lemon-Blackberry was nice, but for some reason we had all envisioned a big glob of lemon curd oozing out as we cut into it and when it didn't, it was a bit of a let down. Finally, the Guiness-Molasses was deep and dark with exactly the smooth rich flavor you'd expect. Perfect with a cup of black coffee. As a matter of fact, all of them were perfect with a cup of coffee.
Dynamo rotates their donut flavors on a regular basis (with the Bacon-Maple remaining a constant) and I'm tempted to check back often to see where their creativity might take them next. In the meantime, I'm curious to see who else in the US is about to get creative with this dessert trend.