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Friday June 4th is National Donut Day. Another day, another meal vacation, right?
Not exactly. National Donut Day began in 1938, long before almost every box on the calendar was branded as an opportunity to post photos to fill out on social media. It was originally designed as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army, which sought to help those in need as the country left the Great Depression behind.
Donuts were a natural choice for the organization: Salvation Army donut lassies had served the round candy to soldiers during World War I. In addition to helping the Salvation Army financially, the fundraiser was a way to honor the frontline volunteers. who often cooked the pastries in the soldiers’ metal helmets.
As far as we can tell, no one in Denver bakes their donuts in helmets, but there is an ever-growing plethora of other options in town. You may be tempted by national chains offering giveaways to celebrate this slightly more legitimate than ordinary food holiday, but instead of falling into a sugar coma courtesy of Krispy Kreme, consider your alternatives.
Denver’s list of donut shops is long, but we’ve featured six great items that should be on your National Donut Day shortlist.
3920 Tennyson Street
Sure, freebies are fun – so why not take advantage of this independent offer in the Hops & Pie bakery? Berkeley Donuts is giving away honey-glazed sourdough donuts on June 4th from 7:30 a.m. while supplies last. The bakery also released their recipe for chocolate donut holes so you can make the little ones at home. If you decide to fire up your blender, you’ll learn not only that the recipe for potato fritters really features mashed potatoes, but also how many donut holes you can eat in one sitting – because you’re going to make forty of them.
Dochis Mochi Donuts made their Denver debut.
2449 Larimer Street
Dochi isn’t the first to bring Japanese mochi donuts to Denver, but it’s definitely the newest. Dochi opened its doors on May 29, making it the sixth location for a company founded in Orlando in 2018. The donuts, which come in flavors like Oreo Matcha and “Ube Bae”, are made from rice flour, resulting in a light, airy texture. They also look a bit different from typical donuts – more flower-like, with sections that are easy to pull apart and divide (although you can keep them all to yourself).
The donut club
Ondrea and Marquez Fernandez’s journey to donut dominance in Colorado began with something healthier: high-protein baked snacks, which earned the couple an appearance and deal at Shark Tank in 2018. After moving to Colorado from California, they opened their first Donut Clubut location in Fort Collins in 2019. Now, with locations in RiNo, Lakewood, and another opening June 11 in Central Park, the baked goods are The Cookie Monster and Plant Daddy-themed bakery is really on the rise.
2962 Welton Street
It might be a little disrespectful to name your donut business after a worldwide air sickness, but Pandemic Donuts was born out of the troubled times created by COVID-19 and the restaurant restrictions that resulted from it. As a result, it received our award for Best Pandemic Donuts in the 2021 Best of Denver edition. Gabrielle Henning and Michael Milton were fired from their jobs in the restaurant industry when the pandemic broke out in March 2020 and turned to donuts being made in their country kitchen to make ends meet. The donuts, so light and airy that you can eat several, were so good that the two couldn’t keep up with the demand. Now they have their own bakery at Queen City Collective Coffee in Five Points, and the donuts are flying out the door. The sweet treats are also available every Saturday throughout summer at the City Park Farmers Market.
Third Culture’s Butter Mochi Donuts are baked, not fried.
9935 East Colfax, Aurora and 2500 Lawrence Street # 200
Gluten-free mochi donuts (and muffins and brownies) aren’t the only sweet reasons to check out our Best of Denver 2021 picks for the best mochi donut shop. The growing group of bakeries owned by Sam Butarbutar and Wenter Shyu has become a way to support causes that matter to them; In the past few months, they have raised money to build security kits that they are distributing to the AAPI, Black, and LGBTQ + communities. Oh, and Third Culture is also offering a National Donut Day freebie: a mysterious mochi donut flavor with every transaction while supplies last.
1301 South Broadway
Of course, we can’t talk about round baked goods without our 2021 Best of Denver picks for the best donut. Veteran donut baker Juan Lopez bought a Winchell’s franchise in 2019 with an understanding that he would convert it into an independent bakery in the next year. In July 2020, he officially launched Wake & Bake with his own recipes and made a variety of classic donuts for the workers in the morning, noon and evening. You’ll find a few nod to modern trends (some oreo crumbs here, some bacon there), but old favorites like the buttermilk bars, maple donuts, and cinnamon crumb cake donuts are so good they taste like a revelation.
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