Doughnuts were once a hand-crafted treat — fried fresh and laboriously decorated.
These days, they're a mass-produced commodity, deep fried assembly line style and delivered to your corner doughnut shop to be sold at rock bottom prices.
But like cupcakes and grilled cheese sandwiches, doughnuts are undergoing a revolution
Call it a gourmet takeover. Call it a return to good old-fashioned craftsmanship.
Either way, independent doughnut shops are making a comeback. Think fresh toppings, classic flavors and outrageous combinations.
Here are four of the best. Read on to see what makes each of them special.
7906 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, 954-983-6631. Facebook search: Mojo Donuts
Shelly Neifeld says she and husband Shawn have done an awful lot of traveling. And every time they returned to South Florida, they missed the gourmet doughnuts they'd devoured in Chicago, New York, you name it.
"When we came back and thought about opening a business, we saw that not one person was doing doughnuts," she says. "So we jumped on the train."
Their Mojo Donuts opened in February. They start selling doughnuts at 6 a.m. and stay open until 5 or 6 p.m. Sometimes they sell out and shut the doors by 2 p.m., Neifeld says.
The buzz is about wild creations such as the 420-munchies doughnut, with chocolate and potato sticks, created "in honor of National Marijuana Day." Other interesting riffs on tradition include those with maple-bacon, sour gummy worms and red velvet.
Prices start at $1.16 and go to $1.85 for "biggies," such as apple fritters and coffee rolls. Open daily at 6 a.m. until the doughnuts are gone.
Our pick: Cuban-inspired guava and cheese, a yeast doughnut filled with cream cheese and guava jelly.
354 E McNab Road, Pompano Beach, 954-788-2338
Maybe you've heard of the cronut. It's a croissant-doughnut hybrid invented at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. Since launching in May, the lines have been so long that chef Ansel limits cronut purchases to two per customer. They cost $5 each.
Enter Remi and Yolanda Coulon, who've been making croissants and other French pastries for the past 10 years in Pompano Beach. They heard about cronuts on TV and started frying their own to sell for $5 a pop.
This South Florida version is filled with pastry cream and drizzled with Key lime curd.
Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
Our pick: Cronut
The Dandee Donut Factory
102 N. 28th Ave., Hollywood, 954-929-1118 and 1900 Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach, 954-785-1461
If you want to talk old fashioned, forget Krispy Kreme. Frank Pucine and Peter Spyredes have been making Dandee doughnuts since the mid-1990s, but the vibe at both locations would suggest they've been in business longer.
Forty-eight doughnut varieties, breakfast sandwiches and omelets, hot dogs and pizza add to the diner feel. Regulars in trucker hats populate the coffee bar and the doughnuts are made by hand every morning.
Single doughnuts start at $1.29. Open 24 hours in Pompano Beach and 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily in Hollywood.
Our pick: Sour cream, a creamy cake doughnut served with crispy, sugar-dusted edges.
Sweetness Bake Shop
839 W. 49th St., Hialeah, 786-615-4244 and 9549 SW 72nd St., Kendall, 305-271-7791
Sweetness started frying doughnuts about a year ago. But owner Stephanie Diaz-Perez went straight for gluttonous flavor combinations that reel in foodies and hint at her experience running the Sugar Rush food trucks.
Although styles always vary, past doughnut selections at Sweetness have included the indispensable maple-bacon, a variation of the Cuban dessert tres leches and a take on s'mores: a yeast doughnut dipped in chocolate glaze and topped with flame-torched marshmallows.
Both of Diaz-Perez's stores are low on space, so she does her baking off-premise. But every weekend — that's Friday through Sunday — the doughnuts are brought into both locations fresh from the Doral bakery. They cost $3 to $4.50 and are not sold Monday through Thursday.
Our pick: Maple-bacon, a yeast doughtnut with maple-flavored glaze and chunks of bacon on top.