What is it about coffee and doughnuts? Why are they such a magical combination, the true breakfast of champions?
The folks at Westport, Connecticut's Coffee An' Donut Shop know a little something about it—specifically about spectacular, crispy on the outside yet pillowy on the inside cake doughnuts. And the springy, sugary glazed variety. And the twist. Oh, that twist. But let's not get ahead of ourselves—first, let's analyze the brilliant beverage/baked good match-up.
One of life's perfect pairs—just like the Captain and Tennille—a mind-blowingly good doughnut can somehow make even subpar, all-night-diner quality coffee taste miraculous. (The Captain is obviously coffee in this situation: Solid and staid, he's the anchor of the two. Tennille is the sweet and boppy one, the sugar-bomb French cruller who also happens to be more, you know, fun.) Does the pastry's sweet yeastiness mask the inevitably bitter edge the caffeine-delivery systems at these types of places has? Does the pungent, roasty flavors from a pot of coffee that's been cooking down on a hot plate add a kind of burnt-marshmallow character to the doughnuts' candy-like crust—i.e. the supreme breakfast Malliard reaction?
And to be totally honest, when something tastes this good, do the "why"s really matter?
With the perfect layer of deep fried crust giving way at first bite to a fluffy, soft, sweet but not cloying middle—even with a sprinkle of powdered sugar—Coffee An's cake donuts are the perfect dunk. They're thick enough to withstand moisture without crumbling, rewarding the dipper with a buttery, pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth crumb. This cake was made for absorbing: It's the doughnut equivalent of drinking coffee through a straw. Great with milk-and-sugar-added java, these are even better with the deep-black stuff; it's hard not to feel like a cop in an old-time movie hunched over the cup and letting the excess liquid drip down your chin.
Another fine piece of confectionery work is the cafe's knotty, beautifully glazed chocolate-vanilla marble stick. Neither overwhelmingly chocolate nor blandly yellow-cakey, Coffee An's got this twist down, and its shape is obviously designed for dipping. (Can you use it to stir milk into your coffee? Maybe. Do we recommend it? ...Maybe.) The best part of this dunk is the thin slick of sugar left behind by the glaze dissolving in the coffee. Could that be what makes the cup suddenly transcendental?
Who cares. Give us more doughnuts.
Coffee An' Donut Shop 343 Main St, Westport CT 06880 (map) 203-227-3808
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