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17 Donut Alternatives Worth Traveling Around the World For

June 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM | by | ()

Happy National Donut Day! Aside from giving everyone a reason to justify a visit to the sweeter end of the baked goods counter, National Donut Day allows us to reflect on the many other treats we turn to when a donut just won't do. Blasphemy, right? Well, travelers soon find that donuts are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to anytime indulgences.

Here, our 17 favorite donut alternatives from around the world:


Where to find them: We're cheating a little here, in that Pfannkuchen are essentially just jelly-filled, sugar-dusted donuts. They differ from a typical donut in the fact that Berlin treats them as a pastry, and so typical are they of the city that other countries simply refer to them as "Berliners." This is how President John F Kennedy came to be known for calling himself a donut, when he declared, "Ich bin ein Berliner," when he should have said "Ich bin Berliner."


Where to find them: Head to the heart of Brazil for these, which can be found in any self-respecting bakery throughout the country, but especially in more traditional areas like Old Rio or the city of Salvador da Bahia. Our friend Gaby of Whats Gaby Cooking, describes them as "super sweet, gooey, dense and will satisfy any sweet tooth like whoa!" They're extremely simple to make, of only three ingredients: "made of condensed milk and cocoa powder plus a touch of butter, these will be ready to go in no time." Okay technically it's four ingredients when you count the chocolate sprinkles that form the finishing touch.


Where to find them: Again we head to Brazil, for a necessary dose of cheese. At the belle époque Confeiteria Colombo, in the middle of Rio's Centro neighborhood, pastry cases of glistening tarts and sweets tempt, but do not fill up a plate without a Queijadinha. It's essentially a Brazilian macaron, with cheese added into the typical mix of coconut, eggs and sugar.


Where to find them: Where you'll find some of the other tastiest food in the world: Hong Kong! These waffles of egg custard are typically cooked up quickly and served by street vendors.


Where to find them: These balls of dough scraps (often then coated in chocolate or powdered sugar and broken to pieces with a mallet for easier eating) are a specialty of the German walled town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Although they're essentially only found in that part of Bavaria, we recently spotted them enjoying a pocket of popularity at bakeries in Seoul, South Korea.

Pumpkin pie bao

Where to find them: Beginning in the autumn through the winter season, the Chicago fast food company Wow Bao pumps asian buns with pumpkin pie spiced filling and we've seriously contemplated a weekend hop to Chicago just to grab some.

The "TKO"

Where to find them: "TKO" stands for "Thomas Keller Oreo," which means you'll have to purchase these large sandwich cookies from one of the few Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery locations (New York City, Napa Valley, Las Vegas, Beverly Hills).

'Sconset Sweets

Where to find them: On the island of Nantucket, there is a tiny bakery a bike's ride from the center of town. Its name is simple enough—"Nantucket Bake Shop"—but the nutty delicacies in which they specialize are a little more complex. In fact, we attempted to explain them as "like if ruggelach and apple strudels got together and did the nasty to have a cute baby."

Toblerone pastry

Where to find them: Toblerones may be the favorite impulse purchase of duty-free stores around the world, but pastries made with their chocolate, honey and almond nougat recipe baked inside can only be found in the fresh pastry case of Swiss grocery stores. We found this one inside a Migros in Zürich.

Coolhaus ice cream sandwich

Where to find them: We spent the summer of 2012 in the grips of a new addiction, that of the fancy ice cream sandwich. This is thanks to the inspired ice cream flavors, like "beer & pretzels" and "Guinness chip," of the Coolhaus chain of food trucks. These silver trucks roam New York City, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Finding the trucks can be a bit of a wild goose chase every day, but their individual twitters help. They also have one store, located in Culver City, CA.

Italian cookies

Where to find them: No matter what city you're in, two words will aid you in a search for counters like this: "italian bakery."


Where to find them: The above pictured churros came from a dedicated churros truck in the Bellavista neighborhood of Santiago, Chile, but you need not travel so far to try some. Churros are frequently sold in the subways of New York City, on the streets of Chicago, and practically anywhere with at least a small population from south of the border.

Momofuku Cake Balls

Where to find them: These condensed bunches of cake-y scrumptiousness can only be found at one of the Momofuku Milk Bar locations in New York City (there's five of them!) or Montauk, NY.

Kinder eggs

Where to find them: Everywhere but the United States, it seems. The US has banned the Kinder Eggs from sale for being a choking hazard. If you're outside the country, you'll need to know these international names for the chocolate egg with a toy treat.

Stroopwafel (and Biscoff)

Where to find them: The magic place for devouring both these yummy cookie types is the KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport (where this photo was taken). Outside the airport, the Stroopwafel is found throughout the Netherlands and in some Belgian- and Dutch-leaning bakeries in the US.


Where to find them: The first time we ever saw a Lamington was in the pastry case of a Starbucks at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo. Alas, this square bits of sponge cake coated in chocolate and coconut are an Australian specialty.

Pineapple buns

Where to find them: One of many tasty, sweet Asian pastries, pineapple buns are best from the in-house bakery at the The Peninsula hotel in Hong Kong.

[Photos: Jaunted, ashleypalmero, jamieanne, stu_spivack, rick]

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