REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut

I sometimes allow myself to think that maybe, just maybe, some research and development person in the fast casual industry will hear my ideas and implement them. Usually this isn’t the case, but my 2014 review of Dunkin’ Donuts’ Croissant Donut might’ve been the catalyst for Dunkin’s new Fudge Croissant Donut.

…the single-flavor fails to capitalize on a host of sweet croissant fillings, while coming across as overpriced and, yes, mass-produced. There was a part of me which wanted more distinctiveness in the interior layers, wishing for a truly pick-apart dough which was layered with chocolate or marzipan or any number of fillings.

Ok, so maybe attributing Dunkin’s latest donut to me and me alone is arrogant and presumptuous. But I know I wasn’t the only one who liked the original “Cronut” imitator but also thought it could be better. And since chocolate croissants are the logical first step from plain croissants, it only made sense that if Dunkin just added a chocolate filling to their Croissant Donut, it would be a game-changer.

Dunkin' Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut 2

Unfortunately, what Dunkin Donuts is piping into the many laminated layers of flaky croissant-donut dough is not fudge. There is definitely a strong, almost-dark cocoa flavor on the back-end, but the mixture itself is far from the buttery, milky, and intensely chocolaty experience you should get from fudge. It’s also not the hardened and concentrated pain au chocolat filling you might see in a real pastry. Instead, it’s somewhat viscous and tastes like artificially-thickened chocolate syrup. But most of all, it immediately comes across as far too sweet.

Also too sweet are the chocolate and white icings, which lack richness and taste mostly of hardened sugar. Granted, each drizzle is applied with impeccable craftsmanship, but for $2.49, I would hope the Croissant Donut’s value exceeds the aesthetic.

The cloying taste of the icing and the faux fudge might offset a genuine croissant, but because the Croissant Donut is already glazed with a thick and hardened coating of donut glaze, each bite is just sugar on top of sugar. Where the original version of Dunkin’s mashup had some of the savory, buttery aftertaste of croissant dough, this version betrayed too much of its mass-produced donut origins.

Dunkin' Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut 3

Speaking of donut origins, the texture definitely takes a step back from the original croissant donut; the layers are there, but they’re more fluffy than crispy, giving way with even the slightest pressure.

If Dunkin Donuts’s Fudge Croissant Donut was a hit, I’d for sure take credit for its existence and possibly even sue the company for copyright infringement. As it stands, I’ll save myself the legal hassle and just call it like I taste it: the Fudge Croissant Donut is an overpriced sugar bomb, and does neither a chocolate croissant nor a chocolate-iced donut justice.

(Nutritional Facts – 400 calories, 20 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Addition of chocolate filling into Croissant Donut. Indulgent dark cocoa flavored filling gets good coverage throughout the interior layers. Possible hope that fast casual research and development people read my reviews. Saving money on legal fees.
Cons: Chocolate filling doesn’t taste buttery or milky like “fudge”. Novelty of the croissant layers gets lost in the overly cloying icing and donut glaze. Too much donut taste and not enough buttery balance. More than half a day’s saturated fat.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut

Ever eaten a food that doesn’t live up to the only descriptor in its title? Like a spicy dish that was not spicy at all? If you have, you know it’s a frustrating experience. It’s kind of like a broken promise.

This was the case with Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut. See the word crunch there? I saw it too, and like a sad mindless sheep I gave DD my unconditional trust. Yet not one time did I hear something that even slightly resembled a crunching sound in my mouth whilst eating the donut. It was a more irksome experience than reading the children’s poem “Five Little Ducks” as a grown up.

So here’s the gist of the poem: Five little ducks went out one day, over the hill and far away. Mother duck said, “quack, quack, quack,” but only four little ducks came back.”

The trend continues until one little duck remains, and that little duck doesn’t come back either. And it isn’t until the last duck is gone that the mother duck shows any sign of worry. What kind of irresponsible parenting is that!? Don’t you think she would’ve called the duck authorities to put out a duck Amber Alert after her first kid disappeared? No, she waits until they’re all gone.

At the end she says, “quack, quack, quack,” and all the little ducks come back, but there’s no telling what kind of traumatic event they went through. They’ve probably been brainwashed by a duck cult, or a group of duck terrorists. Either way, the mother’s awful brand of parenting has assured these kids are going to live some ducked up lives.

Dunkin' Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut Closeup

Oh yeah, the donut. So it’s basically a fluffy donut with chocolate frosting on top, which is then sprinkled with crumbled Chips Ahoy! Cookies. Sounds good, and it was good, but the big problem is that the cookie crumbles aren’t big enough and they are not crunchy in the slightest.

The donut was almost like a cruller, not in looks or taste but in how light it was. It wasn’t totally filled with cake the whole way through, as there were air pockets in the middle of the donut. Because of this, it’s not a meal like some donuts, but more of a snack. The chocolate frosting was rather rich, and not having had a donut from DD in a hot minute, I forgot how good frosted donuts were. Hope this doesn’t put me back on the wagon…

Back to those cookie crumbles. They were more of a tease than anything else. Mine did not have big enough chunks to get a true Chips Ahoy! cookie taste, and again, there was a total absence of the promised crunch. The cookies were kind of soft. Maybe the crunch is supposed to come when I slam my fist down on the table in anger after eating it and realizing I’ve been lied to?

I almost went for the Chips Ahoy! Crème donut, but I’m a crunch guy so I went with my gut. I noticed that one also had crumbled cookies on top, and If I were you I would go that route. Again, this donut does not taste bad, but it’s a horrible lie. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… you won’t fool me twice, Dunkin’ Donuts, this is the last time! I’ll not subscribe to your tomfoolery any longer! FREEEEEDDOOOOMMMMM!!!

(Nutrition Facts – 310 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 360 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut
Purchased Price: $1.07
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tasty donut. Rich chocolate frosting is great. FREEEEEDDOOOOMMMMM!!!
Cons: Absence of crunch. Cookie pieces aren’t big enough and aren’t present enough. Irresponsible mother duck.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut

Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut

When it comes to cheese and desserts, I have mixed feelings.

Cheese and pie? No thanks. The last time I tried a slice of apple pie topped with cheddar cheese, I began gagging like my neighbor’s cat when it swallowed a whole hot dog. (Come to think of it, we never did figure out how poor ol’ Sassy Boots fit that 6-inch frankfurter down his esophagus, but damn, that’s one talented cat.)

Cheese and cake? Cheesecake!? Yes, please! I love cheesecake, so when I heard about the new Oreo Cheesecake Square at Dunkin’ Donuts, I began drooling more than my neighbor’s cat does whenever someone starts grilling a pack of Oscar Mayer Wieners. (Sassy Boots really, really likes hot dogs. Don’t judge.)

Available through April, the Oreo Cheesecake Square donut is frosted with white icing, topped with Oreo cookie crumbles, and filled with a creamy cheesecake filling. To be clear, Dunkin’ Donuts products and Oreos have mingled in the past, and Dunkin’ certainly isn’t doing anything radical or original here. Both Oreo and cheesecake flavors are hard to dislike, making the Oreo Cheesecake Square an easy shot at a crowd-pleaser.

Like most filled donuts sold at Dunkin’ Donuts, the Oreo Cheesecake Square suffers from PCD: poor cream distribution. With the filling concentrated entirely in the middle of the donut, all four corners of my Oreo Cheesecake Square were as empty as a mosh pit at a Bee Gees concert. (Ever try thrashing to “How Deep Is Your Love?” Yeah, not possible.) These first few creamless bites melded the sugary white frosting with the chocolate Oreo crumbles into a traditional cookies ‘n cream flavor.

Frankly, I’m surprised a cookies ‘n cream donut has yet to join the regular menu at Dunkin’, and this donut presents a glimpse of what we’ve been missing. The duo of white frosting and Oreo crumbles seems a perfect fit for the fluffy yeast donut base.

Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut 2

As I reached the center of the donut, I encountered the cheesecake cream. The filling’s most apparent trait is its cream cheese-like tang, which pushes to the forefront of each bite. The creamy, dairy flavor is more mild than in an actual cheesecake — this could be why the filling also feels less dense than an actual cheesecake. At times, the cream’s lukewarm temperature made me uncomfortable; I’m used to eating my cheesecake chilled, and I can’t help but feel this donut would be better after an hour in the refrigerator.

Though the filling inside of the Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square isn’t a perfect replication of cheesecake flavor, I enjoyed the creamy, chocolatey, and tangy characteristics of this donut. It’s just as tasty as the other donuts on the Dunkin’ menu, but because there’s nothing groundbreaking here, I can’t call it spectacular. In other words, it’s not worth a special trip to your local Dunkin’, but it certainly deserves a spot in your next dozen.

Ya know, maybe a little cheese in desserts isn’t so bad after all.

But definitely not with my Grandma Nadezhda’s Chocolate Head Cheese Surprise. Blech.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Donut – 370 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 400 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut
Purchased Price: $1.04
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Frosting and Oreo crumbles blend into Cookies ‘n Cream flavor. Tangy cheesecake filling. Feels less dense than actual cheesecake. Thrashing at Bee Gees concerts.
Cons: Lukewarm cream makes me uncomfortable. Not tastier than other Dunkin’ donuts. Cats obsessed with hot dogs.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Croissant Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Croissant Donut 1

I remember the first time I heard the name Dominique Ansel and something called a Cronut.

Shortly after learning she he was not a member of an Eastern European figure skating team, I decided that the SoHo, New York pastry chef was a freaking genius. Aside from the fact his combination of flaky, buttery croissant and yeasty, sugary donut may have been the most effective joint American-French venture since the Revolutionary War, the Cronut struck me as the perfect marriage of taste and texture with kitchen science and dedicated craftsmanship. Sonnets, I suppose, will one day be written on the cultural significance of the Cronut—an amazing feat, really, considering its relative isolation in New York City.

Well, that is, until now. Okay, so technically calling this 24-layers of fried, buttery dough a “Cronut” is incorrect, and, if you want to go all chronological on me, even national grocery stores like Safeway have been making Cronut knockoffs for the better part of 2014. But let’s not forget this is Dunkin’ Donuts. We run on this stuff, America, and if there’s one chain that can bring even a hint of Ansel’s epic creation to every corner of small towns and overcrowded suburbs, it’s Dunkin’.

Dunkin' Donuts Croissant Donut 2

The Croissant Donut I received was far from a geometric wonder. It’s not quite hexagonal enough to suggest complete machine creation and it’s missing the characteristic rounded edges of a typical donut. I would settle on a shape somewhere between “askew” and “jacked up.” Nonetheless, it smelled of the trademark Dunkin’ glaze. And it’s served in an adorable little container, which exhibits a sense of uniqueness.

Dunkin' Donuts Croissant Donut 3

I’ve always struggled with counting, but after cutting into the faux Cronut, I’m fairly sure there weren’t 24 unique and verifiable layers of buttery dough. All that said, I wasn’t too disappointed, mostly because the taste was very enjoyable. Yes, I said it: enjoyable. Maybe not the purported earth-shattering taste of Ansel’s original Cronut, but certainly better than the multiple grocery store imitators I’ve tried.

The interior dough has a moist, but light texture, like an actual croissant. It also certainly tastes like one. The interior layers, while not distinctively laminated in true pastry fashion, still gave an excellent contrast to the crunchy and ridged fried exterior, which was altogether more substantial than a typical donut. I liked that there was some heft to the Croissant Donut, which was far less airy and collapsible than the otherwise pipsqueak-sized regular Dunkin’ glazed donuts.

With all that said, I can see how it probably wouldn’t impress those lucky enough to have an actual Cronut. The glaze flavor is a classic touch, but the single-flavor fails to capitalize on a host of sweet croissant fillings, while coming across as overpriced and, yes, mass-produced. There was a part of me which wanted more distinctiveness in the interior layers, wishing for a truly pick-apart dough which was layered with chocolate or marzipan or any number of fillings.

Still, there’s no use covering up the fact that I really enjoyed Dunkin’s take on Ansel’s now-iconic Cronut. While I do think the mass-produced version is a buck too expensive and could be improved by adding flavor variations, there is something to be said for simplicity and accessibility. No, I’m sure it’ll never compare to the original award-winning Cronut, but Dunkin’ Donut’s Croissant Donut exhibits a great balance in texture and flavor and gives us non-New Yorkers something new and exciting to run on.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Croissant Donut – 300 calories, 120 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Croissant Donut
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Better than grocery store Cronut imitators. Moist interior dough has authentic buttery taste. Crunchy outside glaze provides great textural contrast. Feels and tastes more substantial than a regular donut. Available in suburbia without a long wait.
Cons: Interior lacks optimal flakiness. Generic glazed donut sweetness limits appeal. No guarantee of freshness. No way in hell it’s only 300 calories.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Coolatta

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Coolatta

Binge watching Gilmore Girls, knowing all the lyrics to “Drunk in Love,” enjoying the last Adam Sandler film – everyone has their own guilty pleasure. Mine happens to be my sick addiction for anything claiming to taste like pumpkin pie.

Unlike the crumbly, goopy mess of its cherry and blueberry cousins, pumpkin pie has its shit together. It’s an October tradition that’s sweet, spiced, and confidently autumnal. It’s also, in case you haven’t noticed, everywhere. And that’s fine by me.

Just as ubiquitous, especially in the northeast where I call home, Dunkin’ Donuts may take the prize for pumping out the most pumpkin-flavored products per capita. Say what you want about Starbucks, but I can see another Dunkin’ out the window from the one I am currently sitting in as I typing this. Both are more than eager to dole out my fix of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in whatever latte, coffee, donut, or muffin concoction they are currently pushing.

This fall, Dunkin’ Donuts introduced the Pumpkin Pie Coolatta, which I can only imagine was created by bored Dunkin’ executive sitting around a beach haphazardly pointing at things to get the pumpkin treatment. Pumpkin-lemonade no good? Then how about a friggin’ Pumpkin Slurpee!

In reality, Dunkin’ Donuts’ Pumpkin Pie Coolatta is not far from exactly that. Like the other Coolattas on the Dunkin’ menu, this one was icy and sweet…almost saccharine.

The difference is that the Pumpkin Pie Coolatta has small granules of graham cracker embedded in the drink, pumpkin puree, and, well, it’s also flavored like a traditional fall dessert, which I am pretty sure no other Coolatta can claim.

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Coolatta Closeup

But seriously, those graham cracker crumbles bring an unbelievable element to the drink. While they are small, their pie crust texture and flavor put the pie in pumpkin pie, as opposed to just reducing the flavor to the spices that dominate the filling of the dessert. The whipped cream also gives the whole concoction not only presentation points, but that real pumpkin pie feel. This is good because the actual pumpkin pie flavor leaves much to be desired, as the flavor leans closer to scented candle then to the authentic dessert itself.

But it’s far from terrible (don’t worry, I guzzled mine down like the sick addict that I am). Although I can’t imagine I will be ordering many more Pumpkin Pie Coolattas anytime soon since there are better pumpkin products to binge on. Like kindergarten, just because it was fun once does not necessarily mean that it needs to be repeated.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – 280 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 44 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 35% vitamin A, 20% calcium, and 2% iron.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Coolatta
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: Small
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Graham cracker bits and whipped cream add to the pumpkin pie flavor. Contains pumpkin puree. Whipped cream gives a real pumpkin pie feel.
Cons: Tastes like it was made by Yankee Candle. Not being able to go back to kindergarten. I know all the lyrics to “Drunk in Love.”

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Jamoca Almond Fudge Iced Coffee

Dunkin’ Donuts Jamocha Almond Fudge Iced Coffee

I sometimes use the seasonal flavors at Dunkin’ Donuts as my only calendar.

Say what you want about a system of time based scientifically on the position of the Earth as it travels around the Sun, but I can tell when it’s spring when the heart-shaped donuts get replaced by the donuts with Peeps on them. It’s that simple—no equinoxes or solstices required.

This year though, accompanying those little marshmallow chicks plopped on top of donuts, Dunkin’ Donuts teamed up with corporate homie Baskin-Robbins to bring two new coffee and latte flavors based on popular ice cream flavors from the frozen treat chain: Cookie Dough and Jamoca Almond Fudge.

I immediately went for the Jamoca Almond Fudge, a flavor I used to get at a Baskin-Robbins in my hometown back when it peaked in the summer of ‘07. This was before more exciting and trendier places like Cold Stone Creamery distracted people and my old Baskin-Robbins was eventually replaced, with true poetic irony, by a FroYo joint.

But, having long since gotten over the pain of losing that beloved ice cream shop in a global conglomerate chain of over 6,500 locations, I never really got over the pain of losing that Jamoca Almond Fudge. I have always been a fan of nutty/chocolaty combos and I was hoping that the Dunkin’ version would do it justice, because Baskin-Robbins are often hard to come by.

Dunkin’ Donuts Jamocha Almond Fudge Iced Coffee 2

Before I get started though, I gotta ask you all for some help. What the hell is “Jamoca”? Wikipedia tells me that it’s a portmanteau of the words Java (coffee) and Mocha, but doesn’t that just seem repetitive? Doesn’t “mocha” already mean chocolate and coffee? Is it possible that somewhere along the lines of coffee that is flavored like ice cream that is flavored like coffee and fudge that is flavored like almonds some things could have gotten a little mixed up?

But who cares! By the first sip all my etymological confusion disappeared faster than that late Baskin-Robbins of my younger days. I had opted for the iced coffee variety because I wanted to stay true to the whole “ice cream” deal and I was instantly thrilled. The first thing I noticed was that killer almond flavor, a perfectly nutty taste that went great with the original coffee-tinted ice cream, but even better in a cup of actual coffee. Fans of Dunkin’ Donuts’ hazelnut coffees rejoice—this one’s for you!

While it might sound obvious—it’s in the name for God’s sake—I couldn’t get over how distinctly fudgy it tasted. Seriously! All too often I find that things boasting a fudge flavor often just mean chocolate, and while there are of course much worse things in the world, I was definitely digging a true fudge flavor coupled with a lack of deception.

When it comes down to it, Jamoca Almond Fudge is perhaps the perfect flavor to transition over to an iced coffee. It maintains all the chilly creaminess and flavor of the original ice cream with the added benefit a more powerful coffee taste. While it may not be as much of an experience as an actual ice cream cone, this one, unlike the original from Baskin-Robbins, is perfectly socially acceptable to enjoy at 7:00 a.m. without looking like your life is falling apart.

(Nutrition Facts – Medium – 170 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 35 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Jamoca Almond Fudge Iced Coffee
Purchased Price: $2.39
Size: Medium/24 fl oz.
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Intensely satisfying flavor that really does Baskin-Robbins’ flavor justice. Corporate partnerships. The fact that I was literally sitting in a Dunkin’ Donuts looking out the window at another Dunkin’ Donuts a little ways down the road when I bought this.  
Cons: Ok, I only realized in retrospect that all three flavors come in latte and iced latte versions. (All the advertising I had seen made it appear that only buttery pecan comes in a latte variety. Whoops, I guess at the end of the day its all just a few squirts of flavored high-fructose corn syrup). Not socially acceptable to enjoy ice cream at 7:00 a.m.