Sometimes it's the simple things that are the most difficult to do well. Take the glazed donut, for example.
A bakery cannot hide an inferior glazed donut under mounds of cinnamon sugar. A dry one cannot be kept tender and moist by being stuffed with filling. Off flavors cannot be masked with chocolate or maple icing. The glazed donut stands almost naked, enrobed in just a gossamer veil of sugar.
As unlikely as it may seem, you can experience an admirable version of this classic at a place called The Cookie Factory in Troy.
It's harder to find a great glazed donut than you might think. There are some shops that make luscious filled donuts and orchards that make memorable apple cider donuts, but for a long time finding a simple glazed that was worthy of its fat and calories was elusive.
So what makes the common glazed donut something special?
Well, for starters these are yeast donuts, which means they should be light and airy. Donuts are also fried, which gives them a beautiful burnished exterior. At its best, this combination of fat and yeast produces a rich, meltingly tender crumb. Unlike croissants, a good glazed donut should not snap back into shape, but rather obediently yield to your bite.
That is, of course, once you get past the glaze. The glaze should not yield. The glaze should stand firm. It should crackle and break under pressure. But at the same time it needs to be thin enough that the balance of rich to sweet isn't tipped to the cloying side.
Glazed donuts at The Cookie Factory meet all of these criteria and more.
The first thing you'll notice about these donuts is the size. They are large, and for donuts that is not always a good thing. But The Cookie Factory's donuts aren't large because they are trying to give you the biggest bang for the buck, they are large because the yeast is allowed time to do its job. This produces a donut that is so light and airy, when you hold it in your hand, it feels impossibly weightless.
If you are a purist, you should be forewarned that The Cookie Factory's glaze has a hint of citrus -- lemon, to be precise. It's not overpowering, but it is there. Frankly, I think these would be even better if left unadorned. But even still, these are among the best glazed donuts I've had in my life.
At $3.50 per half dozen these are significantly less expensive than the substantially inferior glazed donuts from the major national chain that litters our landscape. If the hint of lemon isn't a deal beaker, they are easily worth a thirty minute drive (in each direction). Just be advised, The Cookie Factory is set up primarily for take out.
Their chocolate frosted are pretty special, too -- but it's their glazed that are remarkable.
Daniel B is the proprietor of the FUSSYlittleBlog.
Earlier on AOA: A short tour of Capital Region doughnuts
The Cookie Factory
520 Congress Street
Troy, NY 12180
Hours: Tues - Sat 7:00 am - 7:00 pm, Sun 7:00 am - 5:00 pm, closed Mon
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