Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Kane's Donuts: December Specials, Farmer Willie's Ginger Beer to Privateer Rum

Who doesn't love a fresh, delicious donut? You can enjoy them all day, and not just for breakfast. They come in a myriad of flavors, ensuring that they appeal to everyone, no whatever your personal preference.

As I've said before, "Donuts can be such a hedonistic pleasure, especially when they are made by small, independent shops who truly care about crafting a tasty donut. The large chains cannot compete in quality and taste with these small shops." These independent shops often charge more for a donut than you'll pay at one of the large chains, but they are well worth the extra cost, for their freshness, higher quality, better ingredients, and craftsmanship.

Located in Saugus, a short distance off Route 1, is a famous donut institution, Kane’s Donuts, which has been producing excellent donuts and baked goods for over 60 years. Check my prior post for more background information on Kane's. They have opened a location in Boston and will be opening another spot on Route 1 at Essex Landing. Yesterday, I visited their Saugus location, which has its own small parking lot as well as some on-street parking. There are tables outside, which are best when the weather is warm, and several tables inside.

Every month, they offer several special new flavors and I was invited, as a media guest, to check out their December specials as well as a couple of their regular donuts. Mid-morning, the shop was constantly busy, with new customers walking in the door on a regular basis. Their monthly specials will be available throughout the month of December at both of their locations, Saugus and Boston. And after my tasting, I highly recommend you drop by to check out these new donuts.

Donuts cost $2.25 each, with no discount for a dozen. That might be more expensive than you'll find at the major chains, but Kane's donuts are certainly worth the added cost, due to their greater size, higher quality and better taste. In addition, their donuts are less expensive than the newer independent donut shops in the Boston-area, where donuts usually run from $3.00-$4.00 each. You can also order Muffins ($2.75) or Cupcakes ($3.85). Plus, you can order one of their legendary, huge Coffee Rolls for $12.95, which can easily feed four or more people, or even get a Small Coffee Roll for only $4.00.

One of their iconic donuts is the Honey Dip, a yeast donut made with local eggs, butter, & flour and glazed with organic honey. The fresh donut itself is light, airy and moist, with a tasty sweet glaze that doesn't overwhelm. It's exactly what you want from a Honey Dip and there isn't a large donut chain which can come close to matching the quality and taste of this Honey Dip.

Another one of their standard donuts, a more unique creation, is the Créme Brulee, which is also a yeast donut that is filled with a vanilla-bean custard. The donut is then dipped in a honey glaze and caramelized by a hand torch. The brûlée crust was perfect, that thin, crunchy sugar layer which is one of the best parts of a créme Brulee. The donut itself was light and airy, with a creamy custard and a delicious vanilla flavor. The combo of textures was appealing and this was an amazing donut, highly recommended.

As for the December specials, the first is the Farmer Willie’s Ginger Beer Donut, based on a collaboration with Farmer Willie’s Craft Ginger Beer. Back in 2008, Willie Fenichel, aka "Farmer Willie," who worked as a goat farmer, started home-brewing ginger beer in his Cape Cod kitchen. Eventually, he partnered up with two two Brown University students, Nico Enriquez and Max Easton, to sell the ginger beer commercially. In March 2017, they moved their brewing operations to the Isle Brewers Guild in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, so they could increase production.

Farmer Willie’s Craft Ginger Beer is made from cold-pressed ginger, cane sugar, fresh lemon juice, molasses, and nutmeg. Each batch requires about 1,000 pounds of fresh ginger. The ginger beer contains ¼ of the sugar of other ginger beers, is gluten free, and has an alcohol content of 4.5%. During the Fall and Winter, they also produce a special Extra Ginger Beer, which is made with twice the amount of ginger and there is also a bit of cayenne pepper added.

The Farmer Willie’s Ginger Beer Donut is cake-style gingerbread donut which is first dunked in a glaze made from the Extra Ginger Beer and then topped off with a honey glaze. (Please note that the donut is not alcoholic as the alcohol burns off during the cooking process.) The donut itself has a pleasing gingerbread flavor and texture, with a prominent ginger flavor from the glaze, which is nicely balanced with the sweet honey glaze. There are more subtle spice flavors in the donut with a whisper of heat from the cayenne. Enjoy this ginger beer donut with a glass of dark Rum and have your own unique version of a Dark n' Stormy cocktail.

Another December special is the Privateer Eggnog Donut, based on collaboration with Ipswich-based Privateer RumPrivateer Rum is a local distillery that produces some delicious Rums. For some background on Privateer, check out a couple of my previous articles: Privateer Rum: Silver Reserve to True American and Andrew Cabot of Privateer Rum: History, Cheese & Jazz. However, it's time that I returned to the distillery, to see the changes and developments since my prior visit, such as their hire of a new Head Distiller, Maggie Campbell, as well as their new Rums and other spirits.

The Privateer Eggnog Donut is a cake-style donut made with Pure Country Eggnog and Privateer Silver Reserve Rum, and loaded with freshly ground nutmeg then dipped in a honey glaze. Kane's states that the Privateer’s Silver Reserve Rum "...boasts flavors of cocoa bean and cocoa butter plus baked pineapple, brown sugar, molasses, and clove." (Please note that the donut is not alcoholic as the alcohol burns off during the cooking process.) I've long enjoyed the Privateer Silver Reserve Rum so I was intrigued by the idea of this donut. It's taste certainly brought to mind Christmas spices with hints of tropical fruit and a touch eggnog flavor. A nicely balanced and tasty donut, this is perfect for the season.

We take pride in staying true to our roots here in New England and supporting other local and like-minded companies, and always using local ingredients when possible,” said Paul Delios, co-owner and president of Kane’s Handcrafted Donuts. “The holidays are about family and traditions and so are we. That’s exactly why we are partnering with Farmer Willie’s and Privateer to create donuts that pass on the holiday spirit and flavors to families this season.”

A third holiday special was the Kane’s Chocolate Candy Donut, which is a chocolate cake-style donut with a peppermint frosting that is topped with crushed candy canes. The rich, moist chocolate donut was pleasantly enhanced by the minty, creamy frosting as well as the crunchy candies, which also added a nice textural element. If you love chocolate and mint, this will surely please you on several levels.

Finally, their December Gluten Free option is the Chocolate Coconut Donut, a cake-style chocolate donut dipped in honey glaze and then rolled in shredded coconut. As you can see, it is loaded with coconut, which appeals to the coconut-lover in me. The donut possesses a rich chocolate flavor, with plenty of sweet coconut, and you would never know this was gluten-free. It simply is a delicious donut which I'd recommend whether you need gluten-free or not.

If you haven't ever visited Kane's Donuts, or it has been awhile since you last visited, you need to make the trip there soon and sample their delicious donuts or maybe go for one of those massive coffee rolls. The December specials are available all month and once January arrives, they will have created a bunch of new specials for your culinary pleasure, potentially flavors like Almond Joy, Apricot and Marble. Forgot those large donut chains and support this independent shop instead. The large chains might be more convenient, but that convenience comes with a cost, lower quality donuts.  Kane's Donuts is worth the effort to seek out.

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