Krispy Kreme's New Dessert Doughnuts Are A Delightful, Sugary Slog

Try as we might to convince ourselves otherwise, doughnuts are not breakfast—they're dessert. They're fried dough covered in icing, a type A funnel cake, if you will. There's nothing wrong with this; doughnuts are always excellent, no matter what time of day they're eaten. But I do appreciate it when they're honest about their nature, and to that end, the first thing you should know about Krispy Kreme's new line of Dessert Doughnuts is that they're pure sugar with extra sugar on top.

Though you can purchase them individually at stores, Krispy Kreme is advertising its three new limited-time-only flavors as a "collection," and you can order a Dessert Dozen for pickup or delivery. The Dessert Dozen contains three Banana Pudding doughnuts, three Coconut Cake doughnuts, three Mississippi Mud Pie doughnuts, and three Original Glazed doughnuts. Why, you might wonder, are the latter included, rather than just giving customers four of each dessert flavor? I can only imagine they're meant to be digestifs, because the dessert doughnuts are belly bombs that necessitate a nap immediately after eating. Again, not a bad thing! In a non-COIVD-19 world, this collection would have been purchased for office break rooms, with every doughnut cut into several pieces with a flimsy plastic fork for sharing. Instead, the doughnuts were delivered directly to my door, and even shared among my family of five (including four hungry males), we couldn't make it through a dozen of these, though we spent an entire day grazing on them. A word of warning: if you order the Dessert Dozen, plan on freezing several of them in a plastic baggie for later.

As for the quality and merits of the individual doughnuts, read on for my worst-to-best rankings.

Fourth place: Mississippi Mud Pie

The way to make a Mississippi mud pie version of any food is by adding an irresponsible amount of chocolate. This shouldn't be difficult to pull off, yet Krispy Kreme somehow fails. This is a regular yeast doughnut filled with "Chocolate Pie Kreme™," which doesn't actually taste much like chocolate at all. I know it's in there, as Krispy Kreme lists its ingredients as "sugar, water, palm oil, soybean oil, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), corn syrup solids," and about 14 other things. But, as with many foodstuffs where sugar is listed as the first ingredient, sugar is all the palate can taste. The texture is quite enjoyable, with the top covered in extra-crunchy cookie and graham cracker crumbles that add a nice contrast to the other elements. Unfortunately, those crumbles are affixed to the doughnut with "chocolate" icing (more sugar), and then drizzled with marshmallow glaze, which is gilding a lily that's already been so thoroughly gilded that it was crushed to death. Even my 12- and 13-year-old sons, whose bodies demand that they be fueled by as much sugar as they can get their grubby little mitts on, thought these were too sweet to be enjoyable and refused to eat more than two bites. As a doughnut enthusiast, it was disappointing; as a chocolate enthusiast, it was betrayal. My grade: D


Third place: Banana Pudding

Pudding is my favorite dessert, and banana pudding is damn near the top of my pudding list. I had extremely high expectations for this doughnut that it could never reasonably meet, but I will give this doughnut points for trying. Like the Mississippi Mud Pie flavor, this doughnut went a little overboard with the sugar, but not so far that it drowned out the rest of its flavors. The not-close-to-enjoyable Kreme™ makes an appearance here, but it's piped on top of the doughnut as mortar for three mini vanilla wafer cookies. I suggest plucking the cookies off the top and eating those, wiping the Kreme™ off the surface, and then enjoying what remains: a doughnut filled with banana-flavored pudding. It might not be the doughnut Krispy Kreme imagined for this collection, but it's dang tasty. My grade: B-


Second place: Coconut Cake

I'm a sucker for Krispy Kreme's cake doughnuts, which have a craggy texture with lots of crunchy bits. I was excited by the prospect of this doughnut, as cream cheese icing is a personal favorite for the way that it balances sugar with a bit of tang. If cut into small pieces and enjoyed over an extended period, this is a nicely balanced dessert doughnut with robust coconut flavor and intense sweetness that can easily be tempered with a good cup of coffee on the side. My grade: B+


First place: Original Glazed 

Krispy Kreme's biggest misstep with this promotion was including its classic doughnut in the box, because they are the ideal of the form, setting a bar so stratospherically high that few other doughnuts come close. After the Original Glazed spent a ten-second stint in the microwave to make it taste like it was hot out of the fryer, my family and I wondered aloud why we even ordered the other doughnuts. Kinda makes you feel bad for all the other doughnuts out there. They try, they really do, but there's just no beating perfection. My grade: A+++