Friday, December 14, 2007

Donuts: "Rocks", The Best Glazed Donut in the Universe

In The Netherlands Oliebollen, the parent of our American donut, are served mostly in the winter, from a sort of mobile bakery wagon. Bakery wagons show up at street markets, fairs and carnivals, and usually serve their hot Oliebollen dusted with granulated sugar. Delicious, they were, but American they were not..

In fact, in my five years (from 1979 to 1984) of living in The Netherlands I never saw an American style glazed donut.

Then, just six months before leaving the country glazed donuts appeared in our local Ahold grocery store. They were called Atomic Donuts, and of course I bought a boxed dozen. Unfortunately, they were stale, and nearly uneatable.

Determined to share my understanding of what makes a good donut, I went to the bakery where they were made (which wasn't easy to find), and explained the importance of freshness with respect to glazed donuts to the bakery’s owner. Although, he politely listened, he just never got it. He did, however, give me several dozen donuts from a stack of just filled boxes in the bakery. Fresh, his donuts were not bad.

In the 1980’s an expat American women (I think her husband was in the USAF) ran a small donut shop in Waterloo, Belgium, where she sold the most wonderful cake donuts. They were not just American style donuts, they were made with imported durum wheat, which is hard wheat, and they were American donuts,

Whenever I was visiting Brussels which is very close to Waterloo, which was about once a month, I stopped in the donut shop to order donuts. Starting with a dozen or so, I was soon ordering as much as 6 to 10 dozen donuts on each visit. This went on for a couple of years before I was asked for the name of the school I represented. I didn’t understand the question, but when they explained that buying so many donuts; surely I must work at a school, I had to fess up and admit that I just liked donuts. That was certainly true, but not the whole story. I always shared them with American friends near Amsterdam who had come to expect their monthly deliveries of fresh American donuts.

Arguably, the world’s best glazed donuts are from the Round Rock Bakery (formerly Lone Star Bakery) in Round Rock, Texas. Their glazed donuts called "Rocks" have an incredibly thin, sugary shell with a melt-in-your-mouth light yellow center. "Rocks" are large (about twice the size of a Krispy Kreme), and a not to be missed confection. On many days the fast moving line snakes out of the bakery's front door and around the building, the theater style ropes helping to keep everyone in an orderly line. To ensure freshness the folks at Round Rock Bakery make their "Rocks" continually through out the day.

The Round Rock bakery's website is:

By the way, pasta is also made from hard wheat, and Barrilla of Parma, Italy imports much of the durum wheat they use in their pasta from Arizona?


Graham said...

What was the name of the donut shop in Waterloo? I live in Brussels, and while I can't say I would go to Waterloo every month for real donuts, I might go every other month...

Thanks in advance

Her said...

I live in Brussels too and have been dying for American style donuts. What's the name of the shop in Waterloo???