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School of Sprinkles 

We ate doughnuts every morning for a week and here’s what we learned

click to enlarge YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak

The idea seemed simple at first: eat doughnuts from a different bakery every morning for a week and see if we could find some of the best morning snacks our region had to offer. Here’s the thing, though. Eating doughnuts — and several different doughnuts, at that — every morning will make you hate doughnuts. And yourself.

After the third morning of what became known as the Chubby McPudge Memorial Doughnut Jamboree™, the smell of sugar hung heavy in our editorial department as a chosen staffer would dutifully cut up a dozen doughnuts into bite-size pieces and place scorecards next to each sample. Those samples added up to more than you think. By the time we’d made a lap around the tasting table, sugar highs were apparent, but soon that sweet rush gave way to self-pity and skipped lunches. We learned that the Inland Northwest knows how to make a good doughnut. We also learned several other things, which we shall list here in no particular order. (MIKE BOOKEY)

IT’S OK TO MESS WITH A CLASSIC

Loyal fans of old-fashioned doughnuts are appropriately wary of change. A light glaze, perhaps, with a mug of black coffee on the side — why mess with perfect simplicity? Who could ever require more than the contrast of expertly dense cakiness and crispy ridges? Well, it turns out the less traditional maple-glazed and cinnamon-sugar old-fashioneds from Rosauers earned the consistently highest praise around our table. Purists who prefer to stick with the lightest of glaze will find satisfaction at Donut Parade (2152 N. Hamilton St.), where the lightly glazed version is rich and not too sweet, and the version from Donut Dugout (1602 E. Seltice Way, Post Falls) also got high marks for just the right amount of glaze. (LISA WAANANEN)

APPLES MAKE A DOUGHNUT SEEM HEALTHIER

You can tell our office is a bunch of pansies when we’re trying to split invisible hairs over which doughnut is healthier. The presence of apples in a doughnut — no matter how much sugar it was shellacked with or what sort of viscous goo it was suspended in — doesn’t make it healthier. But the notion that it was made us order three different apple-flavored dougnuts from Mike’s Old Fashioned Donuts (11413 E. Sprague Ave.): the apple fritter, the apple-filled and the just-out-of-the-oven apple Persians. Of the three, we were all scrambling for bites of the apple-filled doughnut, which tasted less like a doughnut than a slice of Dutch apple pie. “I could eat this doughnut every day for the rest of my life,” one taster observed. It seemed that the simple fact that we felt less fat and horrible after eating apple doughnuts seemed to boost their overall scores, even though we still knew that, in the end, apple doughnuts are really just fruit-filled diabetes cakes. (LEAH SOTTILE)

DON’T DISCOUNT THE GROCERY STORES

Weaving your way through the fluorescent-lit aisles of canned goods and frozen pizzas isn’t exactly the most charming setting for procuring doughnuts. But there’s no need to write off the grocery store bakery selection entirely — a number of the doughnuts we sampled from local grocery chains held their own, and it’s hard to complain about paying less than $7 for a dozen. The cinnamon twist from Yoke’s Fresh Market was praised for being soft and sweet, and Rosauers made a strong showing across all the essential categories, from the maple bar to the chocolate-glazed with sprinkles. (LW)

JELLY CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU

To be quite honest, we ate some jelly doughnuts during the week that tasted like they were filled with cough syrup. And I don’t mean that in a novelty purple drank/sizzurp kind of way. I mean that they tasted gross. Despite our collective sweet tooths (sweet teeth?), too-sweet jelly was often too much for Team Donut, even if the surrounding pastry was awesome. Many jelly doughnuts were described as “sweet overload.” Others had the tendency to unwelcomingly spray jelly all over tasters’ faces — and no one enjoyed that. However, Rosauers’ sturdy jelly turnover fared best in this category, nailing the engineering of the jelly doughnut correctly. The filling wasn’t too sweet, and the fluffy doughnut structure was the perfect containment unit for the jelly. (LS)

DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING OUT OF THE BOX

Spokane’s doughnut scene may have a lot of ground to cover before it reaches the level of epic-ness that Portland’s famous Voodoo Donuts is known for. The good news? The Lilac City’s doughnut offerings are already well on the way to greatness, especially considering the following lineup, starting with a Voodoo-inspired bacon maple bar from Mike’s Old Fashioned Donuts. Maple and bacon aside, there are many other funky doughnut concoctions out there worth a taste. Case in point is the peanut butter and jelly doughnut from Scrumdiddlyumptious Donuts (1201 Barker St., Greenacres). This unusual creation scored points for creativity both in the balance of peanut butter and jelly between two puffy pieces of dough, and for not being overly sweet. If peanut butter is your weakness, definitely make it a point to check out Donut Dugout’s peanut butter chocolate creation, a fluffy triangle of dough stuffed inside with tons of creamy peanut butter. (CHEY SCOTT)

BLUEBERRIES IN A DOUGHNUT ARE SURPRISINGLY GOOD

Whereas blueberries by themselves offer a healthy dose of antioxidants, a blueberry doughnut is a damn good excuse to indulge in a sweet, deep-fried hunk of dough and feel slightly less guilty about it. One of the standout blueberry-laden treats came in the form of Scrumdiddlyumptious’ blueberry fritter, which gives just about any blueberry muffin a run for its money. This fritter offered a perfect blend of crunch, yet was sweet and moist, one Inlander doughnut critic noted. Rosauers’ blueberry cake doughnut offers a smaller-sized portion of mouth-watering sweetness, with a light drizzling of glaze and a soft, fluffy inside. (CS)

EVERYBODY LOVES A MAPLE BAR

Do not, under any circumstances, bring a box of doughnuts to your place of employment or family gathering without including maple bars in the mix. You’re likely to get your face smashed in for doing something like that. During the Jamboree, maple bars were both the most sought-after and debated doughnut we encountered. The highest rated confection of the week was a maple bar from Donut Parade, but places like Yoke’s and Mike’s Old Fashioned came in close on its heels with slightly different takes. Our tasters favored the classic maple bars, giving high marks to the standard sweet-maple-frosting-atop-a-fluffy-rectangle approach. (MB)

YOU SHOULDN’T EAT DOUGHNUTS EVERY DAY

Doughnuts are great. No one is disputing that. But after tasting more than 50 different doughnuts over a five-day span, it was difficult to look ourselves in the mirror and not feel a little bad for what we’d done to our bodies. Doughnuts once a week are an excellent treat. Doughnuts every day is a death sentence. If the weight gain doesn’t get you, the sugar crash will put you on the ropes by 11 am. Doughnuts are the reason at least one of our staffers swore he could smell maple in his sweat by Friday of our experiment. You’ve been warned. (MB)

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