Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mister Donut Black Honey Soy Donut

Have you ever wondered why one particular variety of donut (or doughnut) is called "old-fashioned"? No, I hadn't really wondered about it either until I planned to write this post and started to do some research. Since the history of the donut can't be easily tracked. Let's face it, the concept of frying dough is one that could have occurred simultaneously all over the world once dough-making cuisine was common. It could have started with a clumsy pock-marked teen in a Dutch bakery in the 19th century who accidentally flung a bun ball into some oil nearby or it could have been a portly British fish and chip proprietor who ran out of things to fry.

At any rate, I never did track down why one particular variety is called an "old fashioned" donut. I found searching on the keywords to be too frustrating and it turned up too many results so I did what any good blogger would do: I gave up and figured someone smarter and more tenacious than me would give me the answer eventually.

One thing I didn't need to research was the fact that Mister Donut Japan pulled most of their old fashioned donut line some time last year. In particular, they removed their glazed old fashioned which my husband really liked. On January 6, 2010, they brought it back along with some new friends including the tasty number that I'm reviewing today. The old favorites that came back are plain, glazed, and chocolate and the new ones are green tea, green tea with chocolate, coffee, coffee with chocolate, and black honey kinako (soy flour). At present, there's a sale and all of these donuts are 100 yen ($1.09) each. That's about as cheap as they tend to get in Japan.

There's a Mister Donut about 9 minutes from our apartment, so we got super fresh ones. From a basic donut perspective, you really couldn't get a nicer basic bit of fried dough. The outside was a little crispy and the inside tender. The top was a little moist on mine where the black honey glaze had sunk in a bit. Before biting in, I gave it a sniff and it smelled like a regular, fresh donut.

At first, the black honey soy donut was sweet, but not incredibly sweet with a mild molasses and sugar-glazed flavor. The kinako added just a hint of soy. The donut became cumulatively sweeter as I ate it and by the end only felt a bit too sweet for my tastes. I had it with coffee, so I wonder if it might be too much if you just ate it without a beverage. I did note that this was one of the more fattening donuts at 328 calories.

Frankly, I don't know what black honey is, but I'm wondering if the glaze has anything to do with honey. Even the basic glazed donuts (both raised and old-fashioned) are called "honey". I wonder if the use of the word honey is just a naming convention. At any rate, this tasted like a mild "black sugar" (molasses/brown sugar) donut with kinako powder sprinkled on it. The flavor combination is very good, though I could have done with a little less sweetness and a little more kinako. I'd definitely recommend trying this though, and would get it again.

Mister Donut is offering desktop pictures for download here. If you'd like to put a food cue on your computer screen that will cause you to want to eat donuts everyday, you'll want to download them.


Sylvia said...

Just a note on the donut origins - I entirely agree with you that the thought is not unique and no doubt occurred to pretty much everyone all over the world who ever had both dough of some kind and oil available.

But it can't have first occurred to a fish&chips merchant or a 19th century bakery apprentice, because in the "Nibelungenlied" and other medieval German literature, sweet baked goods (with apples and honey in this particular case, IIRC) are already mentioned. :-)

That pushes the invention of donuts back to the 13th century, and they can easily have been around sooner than that. Just thought you might want to know! ;-)

sasamarly3 said...

Hello! I just started reading your blog and it's really fun, thanks. You don't say what the Japanese name is but if it says "kuromitsu," then I don't think the translation would be black honey - it's actually an old fashioned Japanese sugar syrup that often goes with kinako.

Sarah said...

Hey, I finally ordered the durian HiChew. A week ago. Then I got the courage to try it tonight with friends. One of my roommates threw up....I couldn't even finish it, and I can usually force myself to eat ANYTHING. I will say, it doesn't have that durian smell, but OH BOY does it have the taste. Forgive me for posting this on a post about donuts.

Orchid64 said...

Thanks to everyone for commenting (and reading), and I agree with your correction, sasamarly3!

Sarah: I think I'll pass on the Durian Hi-Chew now. ;-)

Sarah said...

I assure you, that is in your best interest. Half eaten candy in the garbage smelled up the house so badly that I've been lying down ill until now. (We also have a small apartment, like Japan-normal size) Something about that combination of boiling onions and fruit, with just a dash of offal, makes me never want to eat again. D:

Orchid64 said...

Sarah: It sounds like I'd definitely have to make that "vomiting sumo" rating graphic if I bought it. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh at this post... oh my goodness.. you and I must have been on the same wave link!!! We had a Mr. Doughnuts near the condo, just across the street.. well not directly across but not far..

The old fashioned variety is my favorite too.. GLAZED, I hadn't had them in a long while so I didn't know they totally removed my favorite... Anyhoo.. the Mr. bought some last night with our Thursday night movie night... and I tried the custard, it was surprisingly DELISH... I didn't care for the old fashioned coffee though.... my favorite has been the old fashioned with crystalized honey sugar? Or kinako?

Sylvia said...

Forgot to say that the sweet baked good in the 13th century was fried in oil! I think it was clear from the context, anyway, but since the fried in oil part is the relevant donut connection, thought I'd mention it again. In the interest of historical accuracy. ;-)