Whether you're crazy health-conscious or still hoarding a box of flourescent orange Halloween cupcakes (Entenmann's are on sale right now!) few comfort desserts hit home quite like a fresh-baked doughnut. And while we're still anxiously awaiting an East Coast branch of Portland's unbeatable Voodoo Doughnut brand, there are plenty of local bakeries and fry factories that cook up these pillowy rings of wonder, just waiting for you to sink your teeth into them after your very worst Terrible No Good Very Bad Terrible Day. Or, like, every day. Whatever, kale, we don't care about you (until next week's Best Kale roundup!). Here are our favorite doughnuts in the city; as always, leave yours in the comments.
Courtesy midlakemarion's flickr
RED VELVET/GLAZED SOUR CREAM AT PETER PAN BAKERY: This Greenpoint bakery's doughnuts and crullers are so good that Tina Fey threatened to whisper sweet nothings into their fried little dough ears until they succumb to her every sexual whim. The red velvet doughnuts—chocolate-glazed melt-in-your-mouth halos cloaking centers of blessed bright red cakey goodness—have been lauded for an eternity, and leaving them off this list would be a sin of sorts. But their less lavished-upon glazed sour cream doughnuts are just as worthy of a mention, extra-moist and buttery like your grandmother's homemade birthday cake. Oh, and doughnuts are $1 each. Tell your pants they can thank us later.
Peter Pan Bakery is located at 727 Manhattan Ave between Norman and Meserole Ave in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718) 389-3676).
DULCE DE LECHE AT DOUGH: Leave it to this infamous Bed-Stuy fry factory to create one of the city's most spectacular confections. The solid-sized dulce de leche offering is a sight and taste to behold: a fluffy, airy, super sweet and moist ring of caramel and vanilla cake embedded with a whole bunch of savory, salty almond slivers. Eat a million of them, carotid arteries be damned; doughnuts are $2.25 each, $27 a dozen.
Dough is located at 305 Franklin Ave in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (347-533-7544). Follow them on Facebook.
TRES LECHES AT DOUGHNUT PLANT: Doughnut Plant is one of Gothamist's go-tos, and for good reason, as each one of their doughy masterpieces is a deep-fried work of art. But though we love them all almost equally, the Tres Leches doughnut is a King among Kings. Somehow, the evil geniuses over at Doughnut Plant have figured out how to maintain the little white ring's perfect shape, all the while filling the cakey part with scrumptious icing. On the INSIDE. Madness. Pure MADNESS. Do note that the $2.50 Tres Leches is a tad on the small side, though maybe that just gives us all the more reason to eat two or six of them in one sitting.
Doughnut Plant is located at 379 Grand Street between Suffolk and Norfolk Streets on the Lower East Side (212-505-3700, doughnutplant.com); and at 220 West 23rd Street between 7th and 8th Aves in Chelsea (212) 505-3700, doughnutplant.com). Follow them on Facebook.
NORBERWEIBERBERWEIBERHYDRAFAB AT CINNAMON SNAIL: Join us as we continue to lavish attention upon Cinnamon Snail, one of the finest vegan mobile eateries in All The Land. This week's Cinnamon Snail star: the Norberweiberberweiberhydrafab (also a smash hit in spelling bees!) This cruelty-free little creature is glazed with white chocolate, topped with dirty blonde streusel and stuffed to the brim with Makers Mark bourbon hazelnut ganache. Yes, there is bourbon in that doughnut. Run, do not walk, when the Cinnamon Snail man comes to town, and don't worry about pronouncing the $2 doughnut's name. Just slobber, pant and point; they'll get the picture.
APPLE CIDER AT CARPE DONUT: Apple cider doughnuts are an autumn staple, and nothing beats a fresh one with a cup of hot cider after a long, hard day of
raking leaves out of your driveway sitting on your couch watching Long Island Medium (whatever, Theresa Caputo is a WIZARD). Carpe Donut's handmade apple cider confection is arguably the best of its kind in the city, fresh, warm, pillowy and dusted with a thick layer of sweet cinnamon sugar. Doughnuts are $2.25 each, and if you're feeling really crazy, spring for the Frodo, their seasonal doughnut ice cream sandwich; you get all that fresh-baked fried apple cider goodness, plus a heaping scooping of creamy vanilla ice cream in the middle, for $4.50. Heaven comes in a food truck, y'all.
CINNAMON SUGAR AT DUN-WELL DOUGHNUTS: We too at Gothamist HQ have succumbed to the cult of Dun-Well, the East Williamsburg-based vegan bakery that has created such delectable round confections as the Peanut Butter and Jelly doughnut and the also peanut-buttery Elvis Presley. But Dun-Well's best offering is the Cinnamon Sugar doughnut, a fluffy, pillowy, totally non-greasy ring dusted with sugar crystals and covered with a thin, not-too-sweet glaze. Cinnamon Sugar isn't always on the menu, but when it is, spring for that $2.50 single, or, hell, go for a $25 dozen—these babies are on the small side anyway.
RASPBERRY SRIRACHA AT DOUGH LOCO: Newcomer Dough Loco is becoming a big name in the burgeoning upper Lexington Ave scene, taking its place in the East Harlem/Upper East Side sun alongside establishments like Earl's Beer and Cheese, the Guthrie Inn and wine shop Vinyl. Unlike its compatriots, though, Dough Loco doesn't serve alcoholic libations, appealing instead to the fried-dough addicts and frosting fiends.
Though the shop's got plenty of delicious, pillowy goodies to choose from, the Raspberry Sriricha sticks out among its baked good brothers, with a fluffy yeast bottom perfectly paired with a flavorful, ever-so-slightly spicy frosted top. These doughnuts tend to be on the large side, so they're more than worth the $16-a-half-dozen price; though show up early, because it's not uncommon for them to run out of the good ones before 7 p.m. closing time.
Dough Loco is located at 1261 Park Ave between 97th and 98th Street in East Harlem. Follow them on Facebook.
JELLY DOUGHNUT AT THE DONUT PUB: When I was a kid, doughnuts were only permitted at the dinner table on the first night of Hanukkah, with tradition dictating my health-conscious mother serve us deep-fried potato pancakes followed by a heaping plate of jelly doughnuts. As such, I've developed an affinity for these controversial confections, and though some people run screaming at the thought of jelly oozing out what should be an otherwise solid doughnut, I am a big fan.
The Donut Pub, an unassuming, old-school little shop just off the 14th Street F stop, makes killer jelly doughnuts, covered in thick powder or sugar and filled with an assortment of jams. The doughnuts are more than reasonably priced, too, running $6.30 a half-dozen and $13.69 for a full a dozen; Happy Thanksgivukkah, everyone!