When beseeched to write the consummate list of the world's best doughnut styles for TheTakeOut.com, The Onion's non-satirical foodie blog, I unintentionally struck a nerve. I awarded buttermilk bars the bronze, but described them as "the augmented version of an old-fashioned...ameliorated by the use of buttermilk in the cake batter in lieu of regular milk (there's a reason pancakes are made with buttermilk!)."
- Brian Yaeger
In a list that was otherwise unassailable and irrefutable, people had some thoughts on omitting old-fashioneds. I get it. When presented perfectly, the glazed craggy ring is one of the most perfect doughnuts. So along with a growing cadre of judges in these quarterly round-ups—from almost-middle-school aged to almost-mid-life—we set out to discover who makes the best, local old-fashioned.
The fact that one of Bend's four brick'n'mortar doughnut shops only makes them intermittently—tsk tsk, The Dough Nut—makes me realize that such a bakery without old-fashioneds would be like a brewery without an old-school classic pale ale. Given that I've awakened to the simple, ecumenical beauty of old-fashioneds, we had one last step in determining the best in Bend. We collected both the quintessential glazed version as well as chocolate-frosted, and even a few others such as cinnamon-sugar, maple-iced and true O.G. plain (like an unglazed cake doughnut, these are only intended for dunking in coffee or hot cocoa), but since not everyone makes all of the above, only glazed and chocolate competed. Here are the results.
- Brian Yeager
Despite not placing at the top of the list or even second, Richard's ranks first because the glazed old-fashioned scored the third highest while the chocolate came in fourth. The glazed struck all the right chords with its perfect crispy outer shell and "cakey," "fluffy" center. One taster said through his drool: "It had all the right crunch in all the right places." The chocolate version received raves for the thorough layer of cocoa when others were wildly uneven. Bonus: These are the cheapest in town. $1.15.
61419 S Hwy 97, 541-385-3310
What a chocoholic like myself finds amazing is that, across the board, the vanilla glazed old-fashioneds ranked higher than their chocolatey siblings. That's bonkers, but Sweetheart had the second-biggest disparity between the two, though the regular scored high enough to earn silver in this roundup. One judge proclaimed it had "just the right amount of everything: perfectly moist inside, crunchy outside and balanced sugar." Another remarked, "A true delight." Meanwhile, the chocolate one made one judge swear off chocolate-frosted doughnuts altogether $2.
210 SE 3rd St, 541-323-3788
This bakery scores so well in these quarterly roundups it's almost unfair to have it compete with the Bend shops. But a funny thing happened on the way to Sisters or, rather, once their morsels were retrieved from there. The glazed version indeed topped the podium achieving an average of 8.7 out of 10. One judge raved about its texture. Another went ethereal and applauded its "dimension" as if it came from another one. One young fan simply dubbed it, "the best of the best." So imagine our shock when we collectively ranked the chocolate one the cellar-dweller for tasting like a day-old chocolate-iced cake doughnut that had neither the appearance, texture, nor most importantly, taste, to call itself an old-fashioned. $3
251 E Cascade Ave, Sisters, 541-549-0361
Here's the thing about Delish's old-fashioneds. The standard glazed one was "fine" as a dunker, but ultimately most judges dinged it for being exceedingly "dry." But the head-scratcher was that the chocolate version saw the already-glazed version get lightly dipped in chocolate. It cost 20 cents extra, but featured scarcely more than a trace of the second layer of sugar. While some judges appreciated the light touch (considering we've determined that chocolate frosting doesn't work as well on an old-fashioned), the most generous judge commented, "The double-glazed situation was a distraction." $1.55/$1.75
3188 N Hwy 97, Ste. 104, 541-647-2337