Timeout New York Kids

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Best doughnuts in New York City

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  • Honey-dip

  • Frosted with sprinkles

  • Chocolate glazed

  • Glazed and chocolate doughnut holes

  • Blueberry

  • Banana-pecan

  • Vanilla-bean-glazed with blueberry jam filling

  • Boston creme

  • Bouchekins

  • Pistachio

  • Chocolate-glazed

  • Sugar

  • Boston creme

  • Traditional creme

  • Jelly

  • Chocolate glazed

  • Traditional glazed

  • Whole wheat

  • Chocolate cake with coconut

  • Cinnamon

  • Creme-filled

  • Glazed bowtie

  • Left: Cream cheese-filled; Right: pumpkin

  • Red bean

  • Coconut

  • Marble crueller

Honey-dip

Photographs: Cinzia Reale-Castello

My kids and I toured NYC in search of the boroughs' best doughnut shops (hey, someone had to do it). Our cross-cultural journey led us to a Polish bakery in Brooklyn, a Korean caf in Queens, a Manhattan patisserie—and not a single store with the initials DD. Here, we present our somewhat idiosyncratic and rather biased doughnut awards.

Old-school favorite: The Donut Pub
This mom-and-pop shop—with its namesake toy truck in the window—has been a fixture on 14th Street since 1964. We go for the renowned honey-dip variety (pictured) as well as the excellent chocolate glazed ($1.10 each, $13 a dozen). Can't make up your mind? Get six doughnut holes for $1.50. 203 W 14th St at Seventh Ave (212-929-0126)

Hipster hang: Doughnut Plant
Choose yeast (lighter, fluffier, stickier) or cake (denser) at this funky outlet decorated with colorful handmade tiles shaped like the signature pastry ($2.25--$2.50). My kids and I like to split the banana-pecan cake-style number (pictured) and a vanilla-bean-glazed yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jam. But any flavor—how about a peanut-butter glaze? crme brle?—is worth the hassle of braving the long lines. 379 Grand St at Norfolk St (212-505-3700, doughnutplant.com)

For weekend warriors: Bouchon Bakery
This Time Warner Center retail counter's doughnuts taste all the sweeter for their rarity. Available Friday through Sunday, the delights here are truly decadent: A huge Boston cream doughnut (pictured; Saturdays only) arrives studded with chocolate nonpareils. The indulgence will set you back a whopping $4.06 with tax, but it's plenty large enough to share. Even easier to split is a six-pack of Bouchekins ($3.50; Saturdays only), a mix of cinnamon-sugar and powdered doughnut holes. 10 Columbus Circle at Broadway, third floor (212-832-9366, bouchonbakery.com)

Morning munch: Balthazar Bakery
Here's the reason Continental breakfasts, as opposed to the all-American eggs-toast-potato trifecta, conquered Europe. This French shop's petite treats are exactly the right size for an a.m. boost. Take your time choosing between the pistachio (pictured) and the chocolate-glazed doughnuts ($2.50 each)—or try one of each. The storefront doesn't offer much in the way of seating, but there are a few benches out front. 80 Spring St at Crosby St (212-965-1785, balthazarbakery.com)

Recession-proof: Mike's Donuts
At this wallet-conscious shop, a Bay Ridge stalwart since 1976, my kids and I favor the Boston cream (pictured) among the more than 30 mostly classic types available (60 cents each, two for a buck or $5 for a baker's dozen). After your nosh, head across the street to the Alpine Cinema, where the $7 adult matinee seats and $5.50 children's tickets will complete your family trip back to a simpler era. 6822 Fifth Ave between Bay Ridge Ave and 68th St, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-745-6980, mikesdonuts.com)

Eastern European flair: Peter Pan Bakery
Uniformed staffers dish out some 20 old-fashioned varieties to the many regulars and day-trippers at this Polish pastry shop. Eighty-five cents will procure a chocolate cake with coconut (pictured), sour cream, cinnamon or red velvet doughnut. Belly up to the curved counter and get an earful of the latest Slavic gossip. 727 Manhattan Ave between Meserole and Norman Aves, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-3676)

Most unusual flavors: Paris Baguette
I believe that you can feed anything to a child if it's shaped like a doughnut. Case in point: My kids love the Asian tastes at this Korean chain, whose only New York location is in the posh Queens Crossing shopping center. Grab some tongs and fill a box with pumpkin-and-sesame (pictured), red bean or cream cheese ($1.40 each). For a somewhat less filling treat, opt for the chewy, sticky sesame tapioca doughnut stick ($1). 136-20 38th Ave between Main and 138th Sts, Flushing, Queens (718-713-0404, parisbaguetteusa.com)

Early-bird (or night-owl) special: Alpha Donuts
If your kid keeps vampires' hours, she'll meet her spiritual brethren at this 24-hour coffeeshop, which attracts cabdrivers and anyone else who thrives after dark and before dawn. Even after a long, filling weekend of doughnut research, my six-year-old daughter tackled her enormous marble cruller with gusto. Other $1 sugar fixes include apple crumb, whole wheat, chocolate glazed and coconut (pictured). You could order a diner breakfast at the counter, whose low stools are perfectly scaled to short legs. But in the face of all this sweet bounty, why would you? 45-16 Queens Blvd between 45th and 46th Sts, Sunnyside, Queens (no phone)

 

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