Cafe Society

Krispy Kreme's new doughnuts -- lemony, limey and a bit old-timey

Cake batter fried in oil, then smeared with sugar icing.

Sometimes I wonder how the human race managed to survive the advent of doughnuts, and then the materialization of chains like Krispy Kreme.

Krispy's has been very, very successful at tapping into the fat-and-sugar lust that people inherited from their primate ancestors. And just when I think I've gotten strong enough to ignore the existence of doughnuts, Krispy's creates a new one like Glazed Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, or Key Lime Kreme Pie.

On National Doughnut Day, I decided it was finally time to venture out to the first Krispy Kreme I'd visited in more than a decade. The last time I succumbed to the sinful temptation of a warm Krispy's doughnut was back in the era when the Atkins Diet was taking its toll on the doughnut industry, and I was waging a personal protest over the vicious psychological warfare that had erupted over carbs, leaving us all with bun-less burgers, salads with no croutons, and social pressure to gainstay anything made with flour.

Krispy's sales took a massive hit at the time, though it's debatable whether the problem was the low-carb fad or the company's over-expansion and market-saturation. Either way, Krispy's wound up with just two stores in Colorado: one in Lone Tree, and the one I visited at 1051 East 120th Avenue in Thornton.

From a block away, I could see the furiously lit neon sign that indicated the doughnut machinery inside was in action. I don't care who you are, or how many Earth-years you've logged -- watching the doughnut-making machinery at Krispy Kreme is f*cking fun.

When I got to the counter, I knew I wanted to order the two new doughnuts and some sort of iced coffee drink. Of course, I ended up ordering a dozen mixed doughnuts because my brain was perfumed with the aroma of hot oil and sugar, which is Krispy's own not-so-subtle brand of psychological warfare. I'm still a primate, so well-played, Krispy's, well-played.

My dozen included five of the new offerings, and the rest old-timey faves like the sour cream doughnut, a cruller, a fried cinnamon bun, an apple filled, a maple-glazed raised doughnut, and two stuffed with custard. No sprinkled ones for me -- I find the jimmies to be problematic with my toofs, since they get wedged in places and I become frustrated.

I also ordered a Mocha Dream Krispy Kreme Chiller, which was a not well-made Buckies Frappuccino knockoff. I found big, untenable ice hunks in what was supposed to be a blended drink, and it had a troublesome burnt, instant coffee flavor.

I abandoned the drink and parked my box of sin at a table while I hustled over to nose-press the window by the doughnut apparatus. I love watching the little doughy bloops travel up the belt, then get mechanically plunked into the oil, and that breathless moment where you think one might get stuck in the flipper-part and not turn, but then everything is all right. And then there's the little glaze-shower they travel through on their way to the end of the line; that never gets old.

The employees making the doughnuts were friendly, but definitely aware of working every shift in a fish tank, gawked at by well-meaning spectators. Maybe that's how porno actors feel every day.

I had been really looking forward to the Glazed Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Icing -- it looked so appealing on TV. I wasn't disappointed, because this doughnut was an exercise in old-fashioned lemon cooler-cake goodness. It had the flavor and consistency of a dense, lemony slice of cake; the icing wasn't too thick or overbearing; and it was topped with little bits of lemon crumb. The oil-crisp outer layer was just as delicious as the cake inside.

I was more wary of the Key Lime Kreme Pie doughnut -- I figured it would either be acutely good, or as bad as those green Jello-y tinged slices of pie you get at truck-stop diners. I've been to Florida, and trust me when I say that natives take Key Lime pie seriously; I've witnessed heated arguments over pie authenticity more than once. I respect the sentiment.

As it turned out, the doughnut fell somewhere in the middle of my expectations. It was a bit too firm for my tastes and I wasn't 100 percent in lust with the graham cracker bits on top of the glaze, but the Key Lime filling was pretty good -- a fair balance of tangy and sweet, with a medium-thick consistency that worked well for a filled doughnut.

I would eat this doughnut again, but I would not parade around anywhere in Florida holding one.

After I'd eaten the two new doughnuts, I returned to my old favorites. I'd sincerely missed the Krispy's sour cream doughnuts and fried cinnamon buns. Both the cake and raised doughnuts can be unbelievably tempting; they satisfy primal urges almost as well as watching porn or slicing into a juicy steak.

Humans love doughnuts. And as much as I hate to admit it, when civilization crumbles, bagels may very well go first.

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Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz