I love donuts. A lot. And back when I could still drink it without it tearing my stomach to shreds, I loved coffee almost as much. I could go an entire day on nothing but a couple plain glazed, ten or twelve cups of coffee and a pack of cigarettes back in the days when my body was apparently capable of surviving on nothing but sugar, caffeine, nicotine and spite. And while I may no longer be able to live quite so well on quite such short rations, I can at least say that those days were not too long ago.
I heart you, pink sprinkly donut...
Back then, I had very definite views on what was the best coffee and donut shop on earth--an opinion that I shared with only several million people born and raised in the New England states. Dunkin' Donuts was it, baby--the be-all and end-all of places for a sugar junkie to get his fix. The coffee was cheap, powerful and awesome (and this was before anyone knew dick about coffee, by the way, and in an area of the country where most folks would've rather stabbed themselves in the eye than be caught standing in line at a Starbucks), and the donuts were simply the greatest things ever. Rolling into the neighborhood Dunkin' Donuts at about three in the morning with a crowd of your boys and eight or ten pints of Sir Arthur's black sloshing around in your belly was like being granted entrance into a bright, slick and plastic version of heaven.Such was my affection for the DD that, upon moving to Denver and realizing that the closest (and only) location was in Colorado Springs--a good hour's round-trip--I simply shrugged and started making the drive on a fairly regular basis, picking up coffee by the pound (this was before they started selling it in stores and online) and donuts by the double-dozen. To this day, I still can't think of Dunkin' Donuts without getting all nostalgic for the buzzing, blurry late nights I spent slumped over in one of those horrible molded plastic chairs designed deliberately to be cripplingly uncomfortable to any higher mammal dumb enough to spend more than twenty minutes sitting in one, early mornings standing in line, trying to burn the cotton out of my mouth and forebrain with paper cups of searing hot black coffee and the time one of my friends (stupidly) bet me triple the cost of a box that I couldn't eat twelve donuts in twelve minutes. I finished with time to spare, took his money and, being too drunk to know better but sober enough to walk, stood and strutted out the door with my head held high so that I could go and throw up out behind the dumpsters like a dignified gentleman.
The first thing I wrote that saw publication was scribbled down (mostly) in one manic burst of amphetamine-fueled creativity at a Dunkin' Donuts in New York (oddly, it was about a different donut shop entirely). When my parents used to come visit me in Colorado and asked if there was anything they could bring me, I would always ask for a cheeseburger with hot sauce from Schaller's (which they never got, because it wouldn't have survived the trip) and coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. And, as I have made abundantly clear here, I can't even write a simple blog post about a donut-inventing contest at Dunkin' Donuts without it turning into a massive ode to what I now consider to be the second-best donut shop in America (and no, I'm not saying what the first-best is).
But anyway, for those of you who've hung with me through this little trip down memory lane, here's the nut of what I meant to be saying a thousand words ago: the results are in and Dunkin' Donuts has just announced the twelve finalists in its "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" contest. Launched just two months ago, DD corporate apparently received nearly a hundred thousand entries from fans all across the country. These twelve finalists? They each get $1200 for their efforts. More importantly, they're each granted a year's supply of donuts (which, for me, would be such a fantastic number that I can't even guess at it) and will be competing in a donut bake-off at Dunkin' Donuts headquarters in Massachusetts.
My original thought here was to assume that the good people of Seattle (which has, it should be noted, not a single goddamn Dunkin' Donuts anywhere within 50 miles...) would easily be able to come up with better donut inventions than these schlubs. But after taking a look at the list, I don't know. They all look pretty friggin' good.
Here, courtesy of mashable.com, are the twelve finalists:
Cop Cake - A cake donut with chocolate icing, topped with white sprinkles and chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Created by Chris Schinnerer of Clackamas, Oregon.
Full Moon - A cheesecake kreme-filled donut with white icing, topped with shredded coconut and Hershey's Vanilla shavings. Created by Pat Coope of Ponte Verde Beach, Florida.
I Like You a Latte - A chocolate cake donut with maple icing, topped with white and chocolate sprinkles. Created by Rosemary Burian of Joliet, Illinois.
Let Freedom 'Ring' - A blueberry cake donut with white icing, topped with red and blue sprinkles. Created by Jack Turchetta of Cranston, Rhode Island.
Mango Fandango - A berry mango-filled glazed donut, topped with pink and orange sprinkles. Created by Rachel Llanes of Miami, Florida.
Monkey-See Monkey-Donut - A bananas foster-filled donut with chocolate icing, topped with Reese's Peanut Butter Cup shavings. Created by Rachel Davis of Sharon, Massachusetts.
Mornin' Paper - A chocolate butter kreme-filled donut with white icing, topped with chocolate sprinkles. Created by Catherine Kunkle of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Much A Do About Nut Things - A chocolate cake donut with peanut butter icing, topped with shredded coconut and chopped roasted almonds. Created by Stefanie Schwalb of New York, New York.
Nut N' Fancy - A peanut butter-filled donut with chocolate icing, topped with Reese's Peanut Butter Cup shavings and whole Reese's Pieces candies. Created by Lisa Burns of Medford, New Jersey.
Pumpkin to Pie-n For - A pumpkin cake donut with maple icing, topped with Hershey's Cinnamon Chips shavings and graham cracker crunch. Created by Kelly Rice of Orlando, Florida.
S'morgasbord - A marshmallow-filled donut with chocolate icing, topped with graham cracker crunch. Created by Chris Wiley of Medford, Massachusetts.
Snack-o-Lantern - A pumpkin cake donut with maple icing, topped with Hershey's Cinnamon Chips shavings. Created by Jennifer Hayes, Hardwick, Massachusetts.
Dude, I need an insulin shot after just reading that list. But if you saw something in there that really struck your fancy, you can vote on your favorite at the Dunkin' Donuts website. While there, you can also fuck with their donut creator (just for fun, of course) which, for a serious donut freak, is basically like designing your own food porn.
And of course, if you think you've got something better (or, if you run a local donut operation and think you already have something better on your board), just drop a comment below. Who knows? Maybe Seattle really does have some kind of Donut da Vinci lurking out there somewhere, just waiting for his moment.
This would be it, fella. Let's see what you got.