I grew up in a church that served donuts every Sunday; and every Sunday, I would eat the same type of donut: cake donut with chocolate on top. Since then, my love for donuts has been strong...but I'm pretty snotty about it. I’ve never been one to get excited over Dunkin Donuts, Entemans or gas station donuts (Family Express), because not all donuts are created equal. Here are a few noteworthy bakeries and experiences that I’d like to share in my new search of finding the perfect donut.
Before I moved to Nashville, my mom and I drove into town for a visit to see my little brother, Graham, and Kait. We stopped first at Kait’s house, but because it was late and we were tired, Kait suggested that we meet at Five Daughters in 12 South to grab breakfast the next day. Five Daughters is exclusive to Tennessee: specifically Nashville, East Nashville, and Franklin.
The bakery in 12 South, itself, looks like that of an old house and they have these huge, beautiful, almost picturesque looking donuts there in display cases, in flavors such as: Maple Glaze / Vanilla Cream / Chocolate Sea Salt / King Kong (Maple/Bacon) / Vanilla Sugar/ and so much more, depending on what season you stop in. As we made our way through the line, I opted for a girl scout Samoa flavored donut and headed out on the patio to eat with the others. My Samoa flavored donut was so thick with frosting, filling, and sugar that I didn’t even eat the entire thing. I took the rest back to the hotel for a snack.
To this day, my friends are still loving and grabbing the same Five Daughters donuts, most of the time as dessert to a meal out, or a snack, and I’m not all that enthralled. They’re too much and too fancy for me. So, because of this and my Top 8 thinking I’m crazy because I’m not all that impressed with Five Daughters, I’ve made it my new mission to try out the donuts around town, even though, I still have a long way to go before I even make a small dent.
I was craving donuts when I woke up a few months ago, so I opened Maps and looked for a new donut place and found one called Shipley’s Do-Nuts, in Madison, TN., a city next to Nashville. Now, Shipley’s is in a handful of the Southern states and I had never heard of it before. I just woke up, wanted donuts and found this place, purely by accident. As anyone knows that goes to purchase donuts, you never want to be late to this game, otherwise the best flavors will be gone and everything will be picked over...and it’s a good thing I headed out slightly before 8am because when I got to Shipley’s, it was p o p p i n g. There were cars coming in, cars going out, and the line was out the door, already.
I stood in line and when it was my turn, I anxiously ordered a dozen different donuts and felt like the pressure was on: sprinkles, long johns, cinnamon, apple fritter, glazed, cinnamon, twist, and of course, a cake one with chocolate on the top. I grabbed a small carton of milk and headed back to my car to enjoy my donuts in private. Of course as I headed out of the parking lot, that white box was calling my name, so I opened up the tape on the side and grabbed that chocolate cake donut out of there and took a bite, and guess what!? It was almost like the ones that I loved as a child... almost. I took the rest home to share with friends during our get together that evening, and found out how popular Shipley’s Do-Nuts were. We talked about donuts and ate nearly the entire box of what I had purchased. (Why are donuts so yummy?!)
Then, a few weeks ago, while in Wilmington, NC, visiting friends, we decided to head to Carolina Beach Pier after dinner. “We should take her to Britt’s. You’re going to love these donuts”, my friend Sara said. I was skeptical, but it sounded better than after dinner ice cream, which is what we had originally planned (I know, I’m insane, not a huge ice cream fan). We stood in a line that easily had 30 people in front of us and we were still located on the pier and not even inside the little bakery, I looked behind us and saw the line grow longer and longer. It was finally our turn, so we ordered a dozen donuts and through a glass wall, I could see that the workers were busy rolling out dough, putting them in the deep fryer, or frosting them. *Sidebar-they only have one flavor and you get them fresh out of the oven. These were real life, handmade warm, gooey looking donuts.
When our order was finally ready, we grabbed napkins, some milk, and walked up to the benches to watch the sunset. I could feel the warmth coming through the white bag of donuts that my mouth was now watering for. When we found the perfect spot to sit down, Justin and Sara opened the bag and motioned for me to grab one. The donut was almost hot, but smelled magical and so heavenly. I took the first bite, and then another, and another. Before I knew it, I had completely inhaled my FIRST donut. The bakery, Britt’s Donuts, describe them as: Glazed, plain and delicious beyond comprehension, and that is truly what they were. If you’re anywhere near the vicinity of this pier, stop right now, today.
After we finished our delectable treats and began heading back to the car, we walked by Britt’s Donuts one more time. This time, the line had, easily, 75 people in it and wrapped all the way to the end of the shops. If that doesn’t tell you how amazing and heavenly these little things are, I don’t know what does!
And even though I’ve made it a new mission to find that perfect donut. Even though I don’t like a lot of fluff or fanciness when it comes to those round beautiful baked goods, maybe you guys will! Ultimately, I always go back, because I’m a creature of habit.. to Chuck’s Bakery, now called Henze’s Bakery in Valparaiso, IN, where I grew up. That same exact donut I ate every Sunday at church. The donuts that I eat when I go home to visit. That cake-like goodness with thick layer of chocolate on top that’s incredibly sweet and has an indescribable taste of youth, of memories, and chocolatey goodness. It’s that donut that has my heart, but I won’t discriminate towards the others and I’ll try them all.
PS. If you have donut places that I should try, let me know! Also, Britt’s Donuts only takes cash, so if you’re headed there, be prepared, or there is a little ATM right across from the store front.