ZOE TSENG/SAGAMORE STAFF
Doughnuts: not just for lazy cops who are slacking off work. A delicacy within their own right, Brookline and Boston are home to many different stores that specialize in all things doughnuts. We have broken down the best doughnuts for the next time you’re craving something sweet.
We went to four different places to get doughnuts and rated each of them based on appearance, dough quality and uniqueness of flavors. The stops were Union Square Donuts, Blackbird Doughnuts, When Pigs Fly and, of course, Dunkin Donuts.
From Dunkin Donuts, we got the Classic Glazed ($.99) as well as the Holiday Brownie Crumble ($.99). While the glazed doughnut was what you’d expect, the holiday brownie crumble was quite a disappointment. The brownie crumble added a grainy and crunchy quality, and the frosting was too sugary. But of course, if you are looking for a cheap grab and go option, Dunkin is always the place.You could say we went a little crazy at When Pigs Fly… We got donut holes, the Cranberry Glazed ($3.50), Almond Joy ($3.50) and Caramel Apple ($3.50). But hey, they only sell doughnuts on Saturdays so we had to take advantage of that. The Almond Joy, much like its candy bar namesake, was topped with shredded coconut and chocolate drizzle. While certainly on the sweeter side of the spectrum, it was an appreciated departure from your average doughnut. The cranberry glaze was an excellent surprise. Don’t let the bright pink color deter you. The flavor is just the right mix of tart and sweet.
From Blackbird Doughnuts, we tried the Banana Froster ($3.00) and the Pumpkin Cheesecake filled doughnut ($3.00). The Pumpkin Cheesecake was essentially just what it sounded like, pumpkin cheesecake filling in a doughnut. The Banana Froster, on the other hand, tasted more like the classic glazed doughnut with a hint of banana. For banana lovers, perhaps try When Pigs Fly’s Banana Peanut Butter doughnut for peak banana flavor.
From Union Square Donuts, we got the Pumpkin Spice doughnut ($3.25) and the Vegan Belgian Chocolate doughnut ($3.50). Vegans, we got you covered! The chocolate on the vegan doughnut was surprisingly rich and they nailed the frosting-to-dough ratio. There was no difference in terms of taste between vegan and non-vegan doughnuts. The only difference was the texture, with the vegan doughnut being much lighter.
Overall, if you are trying to get the biggest bang for your buck, definitely go to When Pigs Fly. The diameters averaged five to six inches, while Blackbird and Union Square were more average size and Dunkin Donuts, well…Dunkin Donuts was Dunkin Donuts.
If you’re looking for creative flavors…
If unique flavors are what draw you in, look no further than When Pigs Fly. This bakery provides an array of 12 revolving doughnut flavors every Saturday morning. On top of having your run-of-the-mill flavors like chocolate glaze, When Pigs Fly showcases a more creative side with doughnuts like the Almond Joy, Pecan French Toast and the Blackberry Glazed Honey Roasted Almonds.
If those don’t sound like your cup of tea, you could head to Union Square Donuts and select from their arrangement of fun flavors like their famous Maple Bacon and Sea Salt Bourbon Caramel or one of their many vegan offerings.
As far as dough goes…
If we were to use a mattress analogy for the different doughs, Union Square dough would be the dense memory foam mattress that leaves an imprint when you place your hand on it. When Pigs Fly would be the slightly-harder-than-average mattress that all hotels seem to have, due to the fact that they are primarily a bread shop. Blackbird Doughnuts falls squarely in the foam mattress category, and Dunkin Donuts would be your typical egg crate mattress. Despite the different textures and consistencies of the doughs, they were all fresh.
Depending on whether you want a chewy or airy doughnut, Union Square is the place for you. Their vegan doughnuts were fluffy and airy, while their non-vegan doughnuts had the satisfying chewiness of a well done doughnut.
If you’re looking at things on a surface level…
If presentation and appearance are key for you, Union Square is hard to beat. With trays on trays of perfectly frosted, sprinkled or filled doughnuts for all to see, it’s hard not to get hungry simply thinking about them.
Visually, Pigs Fly and Blackbird Doughnuts shared similar presentation styles: one display case containing each available flavor for easy viewing. On a purely aesthetic level, Blackbird Doughnuts beats When Pigs Fly; the bakers have clearly tried hard to make their doughnuts appear as pretty as possible while When Pigs Fly hopes to draw you in with interesting flavors and sizes.
And our favorite doughnut, drumroll please…the Pumpkin Spice doughnut from Union Square! While not as unique or topping-heavy as some other doughnuts, it was the perfect mixture of sweetness and chewiness, making both of us come back for seconds.