About two months ago, Glazed & Infused Bakery opened up inside Fiore in Forest Park, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 7 a.m., people start lining up.
Erin Mooney is the baker and donut maker, and she has quite the resume, with stints in legendary places including Trio, Green Zebra, and Hot Chocolate. Mooney has been gratified by the public reaction to her selection of decorated toruses (New word? It means “donut or bagel shaped”). “Glazed & Infused has become kind of a destination,” she told us, “and a lot of our fans come to the Forest Park neighborhood from as far away as Deerfield and the city.”
Baked goods — with the exception of well-made bread — have not been among my favs, but then I tried some of the baked toruses from Glazed & Infused. We nibbled a few of Mooney’s donuts, and when I hit the Old-Fashioned, I was turned around: I really liked it; I even went back to Glazed & Infused specifically to pick up several more. “Old-Fashioned Donuts are,” said Mooney, “our biggest seller.”
There are a lot of other donuts to choose from at Fiore, like the Crème Brûlée, Maple Bacon Long John, Apple Fritter, Blueberry Cake, and Chocolate Glazed Cake with Sprinkles. But it’s the Old-Fashioned that caught my eye … because it looks like a mistake. Uneven edges, and kind of smashed looking, it may not be the most attractive donut, but it’s the one I go for.
The Old-Fashioned’s irregular shape, in fact, is one of the things I like most about it: the little outcroppings of crusty cake are easy to pull off and nibble, no knife required, and the crisp outer edges contrast nicely with the light interior. It’s a sweet thing, just what many people value in a breakfast food (and donuts are traditionally breakfast food, though as Mooney pointed out, “There’s no reason why you couldn’t have them all day long”).
The Glazed & Infused version of this classic is rather light, not airy, but almost delicate. There’s a thin layer of glaze on top that adds to the textural variation … and sweetness. “The Old-Fashioned Donuts just fly out the door,” said Mooney. “It seems like everyone loves the Old-Fashioned.”
Though the selection changes regularly, there are always several different kinds of donuts available at Fiore, and we asked Mooney about the characteristics of a great donut. “First and foremost,” she said, “it has to be moist, not dry. The bad doughnuts I’ve had were bad because they were dry. A good donut has to be moist, light, and fluffy. The right sweetness level is also important but difficult to achieve because, of course, [typical] donuts are super-sweet. But you want to try to make them so they’re not so cloyingly sweet that you don’t even want to finish one. So we play with the sweetness level; my favorite donuts are definitely sweet but not in-your-face sweet. My all-time favorite is the Old-Fashioned. It’s just wonderful.”