A Brief Guide to the Wonderful World of Entenmann's Doughnuts

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[Photographs: Courtesy Entenmann's]

I love doughnuts of every kind. I wish I could say I was more discerning, that I was an expert on the best doughnuts in the U.S. or even in NYC, but truth be told, you stick any sort of sugar-coated, fried ring of dough in front of me and I am going to eat it and ask for more. I've also made known my love for a similar but different sweet treat—the snack cake. Where do these two worlds combine? Sweet, sweet Entenmann's doughnut, baby.

As I've mentioned countless times on Serious Eats, mine was not a childhood filled with treats. And yet there were those items that slipped through the cracks, that were so tempting and tasty that even my mom—she of the unsalted almonds—could not deny them. Entenmann's doughnuts fit the bill. We most often got the variety pack, with chocolate, powdered, plain and the coveted crumb doughnut. We would cut them into tiny quarters, savoring bites of each flavor. Well, savoring might be stretching it —that box didn't last a day.

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Recently, while waxing poetic on snack cakes, a couple of commenters brought up the big E, and suddenly, my love of these doughnuts was revived. Upon bringing them into SEHQ, I quickly discovered there are those of us who understand the exquisite perfection of an Entenmann's doughnut—and those who think it's just grocery aisle junk food, a pale imitation of the "real thing." I'm here to declare my public and fervent love for Entenmann's doughnuts.

As I commenced with my doughnut research, I learned there are many, many varieties at Entenmann's doughnuts, some I am not even familiar with. Below are some highlights.

The Basics

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Rich Frosted

My first, my last, my everything. Oh, ahem, I mean this is definitely my favorite of the bunch. Rich, impossibly smooth chocolate coating (technically frosting but that somehow doesn't feel like the right term) breaks to reveal a soft, yellow interior with that signature Entenmann's flavor. Can I describe that flavor? No, I cannot. You just know or you don't!

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Crumb

This is your basic glazed cake doughnut, with a generous coating of "crumbs" on top. Each crumb upon this doughnut is basically it's own tiny glazed doughnut. As a child I used to pick all of the crumbs off and eat them when the rest of the family wasn't looking. Well, when the box of doughnuts arrived at SEHQ...I ate all the crumbs off when no one was looking.

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Softee™ - Plain

Often ignored in my youth, I now realize this is an exquisite specimen best dunked in coffee. It has none of the unpleasant, greasy French fry flavor some other plain doughnuts do, and it's not overwhelmingly sweet.

Softee™ - Powdered

I have so much love for these doughnuts. I used to love the feeling of sticking my tongue on a powdered doughnut and then feeling that odd cold sensation as the powder melted on my tongue into a sweet, sweet paste. Reading back on that, it sounds repulsive. But tastes delicious. Give that little trick a try.

Softee™ - Cinnamon

As Teresa is to Barbie, so the cinnamon doughnut is to the powdered doughnut. It never quite gets the glory of the powdered, but is actually so much better.

Rare species

Devil's Food Crumb (The Holy Grail)

I've only had these once, but it was a time I will never forget. Two exquisite doughnuts combined into one moist, dense, chocolate-y, sugary, glazed ring of glory. If you can find these in the wild, buy them!

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Lemon Crumb

This interesting variety adds a candy-lemon flavor to the classic crumb. Surprisingly, this doughnut shows restraint, stopping just short of overly sweet, and is nice if you're looking for something different.

Rich Frosted Raspberry

Enhanced with a thin layer of raspberry jelly right underneath the chocolate skin, these doughnuts were fondly compared to old-school jelly ring candies, often found in a grandmother's candy bowl. Personally, I was just happy to find another spin on my beloved chocolate doughnut.

Party Doughnuts

These are straight-up dangerous. These "fun size" doughnuts combine one of my favorite things in the world— Entenmann's chocolate doughnuts—with one of my other favorite things in the world, colored sprinkles. The perfect execution of a party expressed in food form.

And More...

I know there are more of us out there! Entenmann fans, lemme hear ya!

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