For the most part, doughnuts aren't that surprising. They're made with dough, a glaze of some sort, and sometimes jelly. In fact, a doughnut with rainbow sprinkles is as wild as it gets in most shops.
We're not going to be discussing those doughnuts.
Instead, we're taking a look at the doughnuts that surprise us with their sheer audacity. Much like the hamburgers we discussed in a previous article, these doughnuts don't conform to normal tastes, shapes or culinary restraints. They're the weirdest, wackiest and most whimsical pastries from the wildest doughnut shops around, and they're all available in the U.S.A.
Here are six of America's sweetest, strangest and most outrageous doughnuts:
Dead Elvis, Psycho Donuts
If the King were alive today, he would almost certainly eat at Psycho Donuts. The shop, which has two California locations in Campbell and San Jose, features a doughnut called the Dead Elvis on their wildly inventive menu. Modeled after Presley's sandwich of choice, the Dead Elvis is a custard-filled doughnut with peanut butter, bananas, bacon and a swirl of jelly. They also serve "cocktail donuts" like the Strawberry Margarita, which boasts tequila cream filling, strawberry icing, a lime drizzle, freeze-dried strawberries and coarse margarita salt.
Maple Bacon Donut, Nickel Diner
Nickel Diner only serves five varieties of doughnut, but each is more unique than the last. Their most popular, and a must-have for anyone who walks through the door, is their Bacon Maple Donut. It's exactly what it sounds like — a doughnut dipped in maple glaze and chopped bacon — but the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Customers at this Los Angeles eatery can also choose to try one of their other creations, such as the Nutella Donut (made with Nutella and chopped nuts) or the Irish Car Bomb Donut (made with Guinness, Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson whiskey).
(Dynamo Donut & Coffee)
Molasses Guinness Pear, Dynamo Donut & Coffee
Beer drinkers won't want to pass up the Molasses Guinness Pear at Dynamo Donut & Coffee in San Francisco. This molasses doughnut is made with golden raisins, bits of crystallized ginger and Guinness-poached pears — and then it's topped with sticky Guinness glaze. Not a beer drinker? Try their Lemon Sichuan doughnut with lemon curd and fiery Sichuan spice, or their Monte Cristo doughnut with ham, Gruyere, powdered sugar and homemade plum jelly.
The Devil's Death Dance, Hypnotic Donuts
You know what's missing from most doughnuts? An extreme burning sensation. At least that's what they believe at Hypnotic Donuts in Dallas, where they bake up the Devil's Death Dance for customers with an affinity for sweets with heat. Billed as the world's spiciest doughnut, the Devil's Death Dance features fresh jalapeño, serrano and habanero slices along with icing made from ghost peppers (the hottest in the world) and a sprinkle of cayenne. Some of their less intense doughnuts include their Poppin Berry, with strawberry frosting and crushed Pop-Tarts, and their S'more doughnut, featuring chocolate, marshmallows and crushed graham crackers.
The Voodoo Doughnut, Voodoo Doughnut
Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon, is perhaps the most unique doughnut shop in America. In addition to wacky doughnuts such as the Mango Tango (a frosted doughnut filled with mango jelly and topped with orange Tang) and the Marshall Mathers (a vanilla-frosted doughnut dipped in M&Ms), they proudly serve their signature item, the Voodoo Doughnut. It's shaped like a voodoo doll, filled with raspberry jelly and frosted with chocolate icing. It also comes with a pretzel stick "stake" if you should feel the need to release your aggressions on the edible effigy.
Life's a Beach, O'Doodle Doo's
This list would be sorely remiss without mentioning O'Doodle Doo's in Suffolk, Virginia. With over 300 hand-decorated doughnuts (visit their Facebook page to see which varieties are available today), there's something for everyone on the menu. Some of their wackier offerings include the "Life's a Beach" doughnut, complete with sand, surf, fish and palm trees; their chocolatey Spider doughnut, featuring frosting fangs and eight protruding legs; and their TV Dinner doughnut, decorated to resemble a meal of chicken drumsticks, buttered mashed potatoes and green beans.