Ich bin ein Berliner
They say you are what you eat. I’ve eaten a lot of jelly doughnuts.
I guess that means I’m mouthwateringly tempting on the outside, and sweet to the core. Or it could just mean I’m fried, man.
Dinkel’s is an old-school, traditional, neighborhood bakery of the best sort. When I was a kid, I thought of bakeries like this as the most important reason to live in a big city.
Dinkel’s elevates the doughnut without fetishizing it. Go to Dinkel’s for an assortment of classics: cider doughnuts, sour-cream-style rings with chocolate glaze, glazed raised, and fruit pastries. These are the traditional baked goods of your grandparents – the familiar doughnuts of decent family values. Dinkel’s does these doctrinal doughnuts expertly, with an old-fashioned sense of from-scratchedness. If your grandma was an incredibly gifted baker, Dinkel’s would be the only bakery in town she’d approve of. She’d claim their doughnuts tasted just like hers, and she’d be right. Dinkel’s is not, however, the kind of place to go for strawberry doughnuts filled with Jose Cuervo créme, or doughnuts coated with cream cheese, topped with an absurd amount of Canadian bacon, and then studded with jalapeño jelly. Grandma would so disapprove of those.
What I Had
I’ve had plenty of Dinkel’s doughnuts, and have approved of each one. I feel Dinkel’s quality is high across the board, but their bismarcks – also known as Berliners or jelly doughnuts – are real standouts: beautifully chewy exterior, fluffy interior, filled – filled – with jam or vanilla cream. The fat-to-sugar ratio is perfect: rich and satisfying without becoming too heavy; sweet, but not so sugary that it becomes shrill. The jelly doughnut is the boy-next-door of pastries: not nearly so refined as a chocolate croissant, yet interesting enough to steal your eye. When you take something like this and perfect it for what it is – make it of the highest quality through and through while leaving its character and identity intact – the result is … well, it’s Dinkel’s bismarcks.
What I Think
Dinkel’s bismarcks are bona fide indulgences – what I mean is, having one is a very special pleasure … whether or not you can be forgiven for having two is not something I can guarantee. Yet, for the sake of this post, I felt I had to have one of each – the jelly and the cream – in order to present to you, my loyal readers, a well-rounded story. Indeed, I feel that eating both these amazing cakes has made me more of a well-rounded person. Thank God shirtless grass-mowing weather is over. I can hide my well-roundedness under a t-shirt.
You’ll find Dinkel’s Bakery around the corner from the Ashland Whole Foods, not far from the Brown Line Paulina stop, at 3329 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago.
Dinkel’s also makes cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and sandwiches. No one solicited this post. I did not get free doughnuts in exchange for this post, dammit. You might find this interesting: jelly doughnut history, JFK’s famous speech.
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