Katie Rosenhouse — culinary consultant, pastry chef, winner of Food Network’s Sweet Genius, and now partner in a mini donut concept in New York City's Chelsea Market. Along with finance and consulting whiz Evan Feldman, Rosenhouse launched Doughnuttery Dec. 1, 2012, only two short months after they met.
The story goes like this: Feldman decided to go into the family tradition of opening a bakery, but wanted to bring in an expert to consult on the menu. A fan of the show Sweet Genius, he Googled "pastry chef Sweet Genius," and the rest is history — when the pair met, they hit it off right away, and the consultancy turned into a partnership.
Doughnuttery donuts are fun-sized because "all things are cuter in mini," as Rosenhouse says. It’s also built on her belief that dessert has a tendency to get humungous and overwhelming, but mini donuts are great anytime, whether it’s breakfast or a snack throughout the day. These bite-sized treats are sold by the half-dozen or dozen, (more or less) fried to order in trans-fat free shortening to ensure each customer gets the "hottest, freshest donut possible." Rosenhouse and Feldman are committed to putting out a product that "looks fantastic, is really fun, and is going to taste delicious."
The dynamic duo serve up classics like cinnamon sugar, powdered, and old-fashioned glazed, as well as 12 gourmet flavors with specialty infused sugars. Popular flavors include PBCP, a combination of peanut butter, cayenne, and pretzel; the creatively named Purple Pig — maple, purple potatoes, and bacon — as well as Paris Time, inspired by its namesake with an infusion of lavender, pistachio, and vanilla sugar. Customers can also choose from three fantastic DoughDips to dip their donuts into — pumpkin beer caramel, toffee sauce, or raspberry balsamic. (Luckily, these donuts are the perfect size to eat in three bites, so you can taste all three.)
The 12 specialty sugars all sound like hits, but there were also some not-so-shining-stars thrown around in developing the menu. Rosenhouse admits there was something "smoked salmon-y" that might’ve just been a poor idea. She also tried to incorporate Pop Rocks, but "it didn’t translate well." However, Rosenhouse is determined to figure it out, saying, "It’s my daily struggle to get Pop Rocks [on a donut]."
Paris Time is Rosenhouse’s favorite flavor on the menu, because "Paris is my favorite place in the world." She says. The Daily Meal doesn’t like to play favorites, but let’s just say the PBCP donuts disappeared as quickly as they appeared. Regardless of what flavor you choose, these piping hot bites have a great, light texture to them and the flavors in the infused sugars come through surprisingly well. The best part? The donuts are so lightly fried, they don't even leaving grease marks on the county-fair-esque brown paper bags they’re served in — no nasty puddles of oil here.
So what’s in the future for Rosenhouse and Feldman, donut extraordinaires? Phase Two involves an official display case, with gourmet decorated donuts sold solo. Rosenhouse wants them to be like a "plated dessert on a donut," creating a balance between the current rustic model and the sophisticated presentation that will be displayed in the case. Also, don’t forget about those Pop Rocks — they’ll be on the menu if Rosenhouse has anything to say about it!
Can’t get enough of Doughnuttery? Check out our slideshow for a behind-the-scenes look, and if you’re ever in New York City, these donuts are definitely worth a detour to Chelsea Market.
Marilyn He is a Junior Writer for the Eat/Dine section of The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_He.