To celebrate the return of Dunkin’s ice cream-inspired Butter Pecan Swirl (a pump of flavoring that can be added to customize your drink), it has released an entire Butter Pecan-themed lineup, including the original Butter Pecan iced coffee and the new signature latte and frozen coffee… which I’m going to ignore because the star of this review is the sole non-beverage addition, the Butter Pecan Donut. As someone whose college degree involved a research project that required standing outside a nut shop for four hours surveying tourists on how they pronounced “pecan,” I consider myself pretty much an expert on this subject!
Right off the bat, this donut smelled uniquely delicious. The scent was bready, of course, but also oddly… earthy? There was a sort of bitter, almost coffee-like aroma that didn’t quite match up with the super-sweetness I usually expect from Dunkin’s donuts, which made me even more eager to give it a taste.
This is a round donut with no hole in the middle, foreshadowing the buttercreme stuffed inside. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves because before you can get to that, you’ll need to chomp into the donut itself, which is nothing too special — yeasty, flaky, airy, and yummy. Similarly, the tasty-but-plain vanilla icing on top seems to be the same as you would find on what might be the simplest item Dunkin’ offers: its vanilla frosted donut. What sets this apart is its topping and filling.
Dunkin’ describes the thorough coating of little golden flecks as “butternut topping.” But I’ve got to be honest — I’ve never seen that word used to describe anything other than squash, so, while accurate (the topping is indeed buttery and nutty), the label left me with more questions than it answered. To shed some more light on this vague, vegetal moniker, I did some digging into Dunkin’s “Allergen and Ingredient Guide” and triumphantly discovered the topping goes by another name, “Buttercrunch Topping,” which is comprised of “Sugar, Coconut, Yellow Corn Flour, Caramel Color.” To my relief, there is no squash involved! Regardless of what you call it, this topping is toasty with a pleasing crunch, calling to mind a combination of crushed graham crackers and toasted coconut flakes. But it’s ultimately more of a nice garnish than a central focus.
There was also confusion involved in my encounter with the buttercreme filling; rather than the traditional glob in the center, in my first bite, mine appeared in a thin layer towards the very bottom of the donut (though fortunately, the next bites were better saturated). The buttercreme was sweet and silky, rich and milky, and apparently it’s butter pecan flavored as well, though I definitely got much more “butter” than “pecan” flavoring. It was more nuanced than I expected; my first comparison was Dunkaroos frosting, which I guess doesn’t actually sound very nuanced at all, but it’s seriously delicious and was my favorite part of the donut by far, elevating the unremarkable cremeless bites significantly.
Oh yeah, I should also mention that there aren’t any pecans inside or on top of this donut, which is probably for the best since that sounds like a choking hazard!
If you’re keen to teach an old ice cream flavor some new tricks, I think you’ll like this one; you might not exactly go nuts for it, but you’d be nuts if you didn’t at least check it out.
Purchased Price: $2.28
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 360 calories, 16 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.