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Glaze of glory: Winnipeg doughnut maker finds city can't get enough of her sweet pastry

Last week, Internet news service BuzzFeed released a list entitled "33 Doughnuts You Have to Try Before You Die," as voted on by North America sweet-tooths.

The run-down included such inspired concoctions as the salted caramel and balsamic vinegar doughnut from Sublime Donuts in Atlanta, the apple cider fritter from Blue Star Donuts in Portland, Ore., and, last but not yeast, the Evil Elvis -- crowned with peanut butter, bacon and banana -- from Hypnotic Donuts in Dallas.

Moments after it came out, Winnipegger Amanda Kinden re-posted the hole, er, whole list on her Facebook page, along with a note reading, "Maybe one day I'll make it on a BuzzFeed list."

Here's guessing her wish will come true sooner rather than later.

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Last week, Internet news service BuzzFeed released a list entitled "33 Doughnuts You Have to Try Before You Die," as voted on by North America sweet-tooths.

The run-down included such inspired concoctions as the salted caramel and balsamic vinegar doughnut from Sublime Donuts in Atlanta, the apple cider fritter from Blue Star Donuts in Portland, Ore., and, last but not yeast, the Evil Elvis — crowned with peanut butter, bacon and banana — from Hypnotic Donuts in Dallas.

Amanda Kinden's Oh Doughnuts is Winnipeg's first gourmet doughnut company. She distributes her goodies to a few local restaurants and coffee shops.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Amanda Kinden's Oh Doughnuts is Winnipeg's first gourmet doughnut company. She distributes her goodies to a few local restaurants and coffee shops. Purchase Photo Print

Oh Doughnuts's Cinnamon Valentine's Day creation.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Oh Doughnuts's Cinnamon Valentine's Day creation. Purchase Photo Print

Moments after it came out, Winnipegger Amanda Kinden re-posted the hole, er, whole list on her Facebook page, along with a note reading, "Maybe one day I'll make it on a BuzzFeed list."

Here's guessing her wish will come true sooner rather than later.

Kinden is the owner of Oh Doughnuts — a six-month-old operation that supplies gourmet-style doughnuts to an increasing number of Winnipeg restaurants and coffee shops. Kinden's treats, made with locally produced organic flour and eggs and, when called for, fair-trade organic chocolate, are as imaginative as they are mouth-watering; among the dozens she's come up with to date are crème brûlée, Bailey's glaze with Guinness brownie chunks and — we'll take a dozen, please — root beer float.

"I make a couple of different ones each day and announce what they are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, first thing every morning," she says. "A few people have asked me if I can post what's coming out for the entire week, so they can plan their doughnut-dates around it."

Around this time last year, Kinden, a co-ordinator with Green Action Centre who did some catering on the side, was asked to prepare dessert for a Manitoba Eco-Network event. The self-taught chef had experimented with doughnuts before so she decided to go that route again, primarily because it allowed for a few vegan and gluten-free options.

Her doughnuts, which are significantly larger than ones served at coffee shops named after songbirds or former NHL stars, were an immediate hit — so much so that people approached her after the get-together, asking where they could purchase her fare, on a regular basis.

"That's when I kind of wondered why Winnipeg didn't have a locally-owned, gourmet doughnut shop, like a lot of other cities in Canada and the States already did," she says.

Coincidentally, Nils Vik, owner of Parlour Coffee at 468 Main St., had been asking himself the same question.

"To be honest, we'd wanted to carry doughnuts since the day we opened (in 2011) but we could never find any that were inventive enough — and of high enough quality — that we could stand behind, at the shop," says Vik, who also co-owns Little Sister Coffee Maker in Osborne Village.

Last August, a friend of Kinden's mentioned her pal's doughnuts to Vik, while she was at his establishment ordering coffee. Vik got in touch with Kinden right away. A couple of weeks later, Kinden showed up at Parlour with two varieties for Vik and his staff to sample: a buster-style doughnut filled with grapefruit curd and a ring doughnut topped with lavender glaze and vanilla sprinkles.

"We were quite impressed by what we saw — and tasted — so we said, 'Yeah, let's do it,'" says Vik, adding his customers haven't balked at paying $3 (including tax) per doughnut. "There's this misconception that Winnipeg might be lacking in certain offerings because we're cheap but that's just not the case. I think Winnipeggers are after the same thing as any other person in Canada is and I believe there will always be a market for creative and high-quality products.

"Our clientele also seems to understand and appreciate the fact (Oh Doughnuts) are made fresh and don't contain any weird preservatives in the glazes or fillings."

By October, Kinden had left her co-ordinator's job to devote her attention to doughnuts, full-time. Six nights a week, she rents space in the commercial kitchen at Knox United Church on Edmonton Street. She starts cooking at around 1 a.m. — a tad later on those mornings her mom drops by to lend a hand — and is usually behind the wheel of her car by 6 a.m., to begin her round of deliveries.

"Omigosh, it's the best air freshener in the world," she chuckles, when she is asked how aromatic her vehicle is, when it's loaded top-to-bottom with doughnuts, minutes removed from the deep fryer.

As of last week, Oh Doughnuts (www.ohdoughnuts.com) were available at five spots around town. In addition to Parlour Coffee and Little Sister Coffee Maker; you can also pick them up at Folio Café, on the Canadian Mennonite University campus, Thom Bargen Coffee & Tea on Sherbrook Street and the Tallest Poppy, also on Sherbrook.

She's heard whispers a local health food chain is interested in carrying her organic creations, and that at least two other independently run coffee houses will be in touch.

Obviously, Kinden wants as many clients as she can manage but she admits she's still hoping to open a locale of her own, one day.

"That's the end-goal, obviously. As a matter of fact, as I was driving here I was thinking I should be keeping my eyes open, in case I pass the perfect location," she says.

Oh, and if you're reading this on Valentine's Day and are still hemming and hawing over what to get for your sweet babboo, there might still be time to nab some of Kinden's fireball cinnamon cream doughnuts, topped with pink sprinkles and shaped — natch — like a heart.

 

david.sanderson@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by David Sanderson.

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History

Updated on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 4:20 PM CST: Alters name of television program.

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