Kinnikinnick's Vanilla Glazed Donuts

Kinnikinnick's Vanilla Glazed Donuts

I Paid: $6.99 for six doughnuts (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 1 stars

Nothing says “bummer” like a gluten-free doughnut—there’s something downright mopey about the collision between health-based self-denial and what would otherwise be a moment of hedonistic abandon.

Kinnikinnick Foods, however, specializes in gluten-free foods, and it brings that expertise to bear on the project of creating a plausible gluten-free doughnut. It half succeeds. Its frozen Vanilla Glazed Donuts are only vaguely doughnutlike, starting with the fact that you’ve got to zap ’em in the microwave for about 20 seconds before you can eat them.

Made with white rice flour and tapioca starch, these doughnuts are much denser and weightier than their namesakes. I’d put even odds on their being able to break a window when frozen. However, if you think of them as miniature iced Bundt cakes, the whole situation evolves in a positive direction. Eating a superheavy, sort-of-grainy doughnut is unpleasant; forking away at a dense, sweetly iced, spiced miniature Bundt cake is kind of fun and indulgent. The nutmeggy spice flavor is good, the icing is sweet without being obnoxious, and the balance between cake and frosting is well calibrated.

So, those avoiding gluten—or dairy or soy, for that matter—be warned: These “doughnuts” are only vaguely evocative of the real deal and may irritate on that basis. But if you’re just looking for a serious gluten-free dessert, they’ll fit the bill nicely.

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