2013 was most definitely The Year of the Doughnut on Gastronomy. Old school rings, new school thangs, and everything in between—I was an equal opportunity deep-fried dough lover these past 365 days. Thus, it should come as no surprise that nearly half of this year’s 10 best sweets were served up golden and glazed. Without further ado, here are the 10 best sweets that I ate this year…
Sea Salt Ice Cream with Caramel Ribbons from Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon
When salt and caramel collide, the result is usually more sweet than savory, but here, the scales tipped in favor of all that is good and salty. My first lick brought a rush of perfectly salted cream, followed by a deep and intense pull of caramel.
Huckleberry Doughnut from Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee in Costa Mesa, California
With bits of real berries embedded in the dough and glaze, the doughnut tasted genuinely fruity through and through. The cake doughnut, light as ever, really delivered. Sidecar’s signature flavor is astonishingly great.
Buckwheat Canale with Lemon Curd from Sitka & Spruce in Seattle, Washington
Perfectly waxen and caramelized on the outside, with distinctly custardy innards. Mmm…
Coconut Oatmeal from Good Girl Dinette in Highland Park, California
Inspired by the flavors of che troi nuoc, Chef Diep Tran soaks and simmers steel cut oats in coconut milk and drizzles them with ginger maple syrup—seriously, what could be better?
Blueberry Bourbon Basil Doughnut from Blue Star Donuts in Portland, Oregon
From the spring in the dough to the spot-on glaze, this doughnut was beautiful to behold and sensational to eat.
Oatmeal Brown Sugar Pie with Caramel Ice Cream from Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston, South Carolina
The sticky, sweet pie was nice, really nice, but what made this dessert amazing was the quenelle of ice cream heaped on top. Thick, luscious, and tasting of sugar on the cusp of being burnt, the caramel ice cream was magical.
The Kaya Doughnut from Spice Table in Los Angeles, California
The dough was plush enough to use as a pillow, while the pale green coconut and pandan glaze struck a sunny, tropical note. What really sealed the deal were the strategically sprinkled flecks of fleur de sel atop the doughnut; they proved to be the perfect foil to all the sweetness.
Tang You Guo Zi from Yulin Comprehensive Market in Chengdu, China
These warm doughnut balls, slicked with caramel, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and speared through with a skewer, were wonderfully crisp on the outside and airy and glutinous on the inside. I loved how the caramel coating teetered on a very fine line between sweet and burnt.
Figgy Buckwheat Scone from Bakeshop in Portland, Oregon
The swirl of fig butter coupled with the nutty buckwheat was nothing short of state of the art.
Lemon Ice Box Pie from Hart & The Hunter in Los Angeles
Pastry Chef Sarah Lange’s take on a classic southern dessert pairs a lemony semifreddo with a buttery, crumbly graham cracker crust. A lightly sweetened whipped meringue comes piled high and is blow-torched to order, offering the perfect finishing touch. Cool, light, smooth, and tangy.