Doughnut Plant: The Original Square Peanut Butter and Jelly Doughnut
Chelsea, 220 W 23rd Street, New York, NY
As far as gourmet doughnut shops go, Doughnut Plant is one of my favourites. They did, after all, win Bobby Flay’s Throwdown with their trademark square peanut butter and jelly doughnut. The Doughnut Plant opened a second location a few years ago, located downstairs from the Chelsea Hotel. I had first heard about the Doughnut Plant years before Bobby Flay’s Throwdown even aired. Believe it or not, it was on Lisa Loeb’s reality dating show. Yeah, Lisa Loeb (years before she played Rufus Humphrey’s love interest in the final season of Gossip Girl) had a reality TV show titled No. 1 Single. For one of her dates, the guy took her to the container store and the Doughnut Plant, the flagship Doughnut Plant on the Lower East Side. Talk about a cheap date, huh? I did however want to try the square peanut butter and jelly doughnut ever since that one episode.
The unique thing about the Doughnut Plant’s filled doughnuts is that they’re square shaped with a hole in the middle and the filling is piped in so there’s a bit of filling in every corner. I swear, Vancouver’s hipster favourite, Lucky Doughnuts is a mere copycat.
My favourite Doughnut Plant doughnut is the peanut butter and jelly, the very doughnut that won Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. The big square doughnut is covered in crunchy peanuts and smeared with lots of sticky and sweet peanut butter. Inside is the tube of jelly filling that tunnels throughout the whole doughnut. The jelly is tart and sweet, a perfect pairing to the salty and sweet peanuts on the outside. The texture of the yeast doughnut was fluffy and soft, the perfect breakfast food for freezing New York mornings.
Another square doughnut that wasn’t available the last time I visited was the coconut cream. Covered in sweet and creamy coconut shavings, the inside of the doughnut was piped with creamy coconut cream. This doughnut totally made me think of my beloved Chinese coconut buns back in Vancouver from New Town Bakery.
The newest addition to the Doughnut Plant’s doughnut lineup are little filled yeast doughnuts aptly named doughseeds. We ordered the creme brulee and the chocolate hazelnut.
The creme brulee doughnut sported a burnt sugar shell, just like a creme brulee dessert. I loved that. It cracked when I cut the doughnut in half, and tasted deep, nutty and sweet, the sugar shards melting on my tongue as I chewed. The center of this doughnut was filled with thick, creamy and decadent custard, speckled with vanilla bean seeds and adding an intense richness to the doughnut. Thank goodness this little doughseed is so little. I would get full on just one.
We saved room for one more doughseed: the chocolate hazelnut. There’s only one other combo I love more than peanut butter and jelly and it’s chocolate and hazelnut. Covered with crunchy toasted hazelnuts, glaze and chocolate drizzle, this little doughseed was filled with a chocolate hazelnut cream reminiscent of Nutella but so much richer.
I also love the decor inside the Doughnut Plant. The Chelsea Hotel location is much larger than the flagship store on the Lower East Side. Both locations have the same benches covered with painted doughnuts and a large display case of the day’s fresh doughnuts.
The Chelsea Hotel location displays big fluffy doughnut pillows on the wall though, if my purse was bigger, I would’ve stuffed one inside.
I can’t wait to go back and try the other doughnuts at Doughnut Plant!