Frost takes doughnuts to new heights of flavor, and price

Melissa Slager, December 25th 2009

It was like a real-life commercial for Frost Doughnuts.We were sitting around with friends at a holiday party when the topic of the Mill Creek bakery came up. Its exotic flavors. Its great taste. And, yes, its steep prices.

Frost bills itself as “doughnuts evolved,” and for good reason. Sure, you can find old fashioneds, maple bars and sprinkles. But those will be relegated to the bottom of the display case.Here, you come for the gourmet varieties that incorporate spiced chocolate, top-shelf bourbon and Bavarian creme.

The bakery opened in July 2009 and quickly became a local favorite. Its Facebook page has more than 2,000 followers.Recently, we decided to see what the fuss was about and ordered a mix-and-match dozen of evolved doughnuts ($16.99) to sample the wares. And, at that price, we admitted no sprinkles. (A mix-and-match dozen that includes “classics” drops to $14.99; a dozen of a single variety runs $9.99.)This kind of order is perfect for special gatherings. In this case, the gathering was a small group of women with their kids for a neighborhood play date. (But only grownups could offer opinions.)

Predictably, the smoky bacon maple bar drew the most comments: “What a good idea.” “Unexpectedly good.” “It tastes like breakfast.” The doughnut, one of Frost’s best-sellers, is a traditional maple bar topped with bits of maple bacon, both made daily. Like other doughnuts at Frost, the bar was deliciously moist and clearly made with quality ingredients.

Favorites among the sample also included the salted caramel, which features handmade caramel and Fleur de Sel; the cinnamon- and cayenne-infused Aztec chocolate, which has a nice spicy kick; the Southern red velvet, a cake in miniature that frosting lovers will adore for its cream cheese flourish; and the bourbon caramel pecan, made with top-shelf reserve bourbon and rolled in fresh chopped pecans.We were less enthused about the 10 Cane Rum eggnog doughnut, which was OK but not great.This was one of the shop’s holiday features, along with a snowy peppermint bark — an old-fashioned doughnut topped with candy cane bits — that could easily become a Christmas tradition.None of us cared for the white chocolate raspberry truffle, which is an old-fashioned dipped in white chocolate and drizzled with a raspberry reduction. It was too rich. Similarly, the Pink Lady — also a cake doughnut, this one crowned with pink strawberry buttercream frosting — was too sweet for our tastes.

Frost offers a different fritter and a different Bismark each day. So to fill out our order, we had the day’s black forest fritter — made with cherries and drizzled with dark chocolate — and the day’s banana creme and walnut Bismark.I generally dislike creme-filled doughnuts but was surprisingly pleased with the Bismark. Topped with chocolate and walnuts and filled with fresh bananas and Bavarian creme, it was a real delight.

Even with all that sampling, there were still a fair number of Frost’s offerings that went untested. But, of course, the shop’s flavors are ever-evolving.Simply put, the flavors are enough to say to hell with New Year’s resolutions, yet with prices high enough to make it easier to stay within — ahem — healthy limits. Single doughnuts run 99 cents to $1.89. A plain maple bar costs $1.49.It’s not uncommon for Frost to sell out of certain varieties. If you plan to order a dozen, you may want to place the order a day ahead, as I did. The box was ready for pickup at the time I requested.