Doughnuts are so frequent a topic of conversation in our house that we have given them a nickname: donees (sample usage: "Did you get your chocolate donee today?").
We debate whether "doughnut" is the correct spelling, or if it should be "donuts." We spend a lot of time figuring out the perfect dozen to satisfy the tastes of all six of us.
Having said that, I should add that we don't actually EAT doughnuts all that often. Readers picturing my 5-year-old taking hypertension medication will be relieved to hear that doughnuts are an occasional treat for us.
But they're one of our favorites, particularly for my husband. He started a "Doughnut Friday" tradition at work that he's maintained for years. For his last birthday, the kids and I bought boxes of doughnuts for him to share with his co-workers. And he has a carefully thought-out hierarchy of the best doughnut places in Utah.
We don't actually completely agree on that hierarchy, or even on what constitutes a really good doughnut. But, though I really like them, he's definitely more of a connoisseur than I am.
At the top of my husband's list is Dunford. To my in-house doughnut expert, the ranking doughnut on the list of Best Flavors Ever is the chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting. And, to him, Dunford's chocolate-frosted chocolate cake doughnut is the best of its kind.
It certainly is delicious: sweet, chocolatey cake and tons of frosting. Personally, I like a little less frosting on my doughnuts (sorry, honey!) but I always enjoy a Dunford. They're readily available in northern Utah at grocery stores and even 7-Eleven, which sells boxes of six for under $4.
But I highly recommend at least one trip in your lifetime to the Dunford factory store at 8556 S. 2940 West in West Jordan. There are tons of different kinds of doughnuts — raspberry fritters, Bavarian cream triangles, raised cinnamon-sugar — plus cookies, brownie bites, bread, rolls ... well, let's just say the air in a one-block radius around the store smells absolutely delicious.
Another Husband Favorite is Banbury Cross, which definitely falls into the "no frills" category. They spell it "donuts," and the workers can be abrupt, acting like you've just asked for the moon when you want anything but an assorted dozen that they pick for you.
The doughnuts are worth the trouble, though: from cake to raised to old-fashioned, they're tender, well-flavored and very fresh. Get there after about 10 a.m. and you'd better not count on getting the most popular flavors. A major plus: there's a drive-thru window. Just don't make that order too complicated or take too much time deciding.
Admittedly low on the husband doughnut rating, but higher on mine, is Beyond Glaze, a newer set of doughnut shops located in Draper and Salt Lake City.
A major strike against this place for my husband is the lack of cake doughnuts. But I like their focus on taking the standard "raised glazed" and elevating it into something unique.
I say "standard," but Beyond Glaze's products actually are perfect little round pillows of exquisite softness, with a firm outside that stands up well to glazing and frosting. There's a lot of that going on: the pastries almost don't look real, so detailed and careful are the patterns and colors piped onto them.
On a recent visit, I tried a mixed dozen that included grasshopper (chocolate mint), pumpkin chocolate chip, peanut butter raspberry, blueberry, cookies and cream, raspberry mango and nutmeg; plus two I was sure my husband would like, maple bacon and chocolate bacon.
Besides the bacon, all this flavorfulness was accomplished with glaze, and each was strongly and convincingly flavored. The peanut butter raspberry tasted like the world's most indulgent PB&J, while one of my favorites was the earthy but subtle nutmeg.
I liked the salty-sweet flavors of the bacon varieties (speaking of indulgent!), but to my surprise, my bacon-loving husband was a little scared of them. He said he'll stick with his usuals, of which he never gets tired.
That's OK, though. I've discovered that, while I'm on my culinary adventures, it's comforting to have someone across the table who's a traditionalist. He's lasagna, I'm squid-ink pasta. He's bacon cheeseburger, I'm avocado sandwich. He's Dunford chocolate-chocolate, I'm a "donee" that looks like a flower and tastes like blueberries.
I get a lot of mileage out of teasing him for his orthodox tastes, but the truth is, that's the flavor of love to me, and I never get tired of it, either.
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News.