You may have read the news in late July that Krispy Kreme, with its glowing red beacon of “Hot Doughnuts Now” hope, opened a location near Charlotte, NC that serves ice cream as well.
Hot Doughnuts Now with ice cream?! This sounds like more sugar joy than one person could possibly contain. So our crew had to stop on the way home from Dragon Con to check it out.
Your options start with Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut-infused ice cream in either milkshake form topped with a miniature glazed doughnut (flavor options are Vanilla Glazed, Double Chocolate, Salty Caramel, Classic Strawberry, and OREO Cookies & Kreme) or in a “scoop sandwich,” which is a donut sliced in half, filled with the ice cream, and rolled in toppings. Those flavor options are Vanilla Sprinkled, Triple Chocolate, Cookies & Kreme, Vanilla Chip, Chocolatey Caramel Coconut, and Vanilla Fruity Crunch. The milkshakes are $4.49 and scoop sandwiches are $3.49—not too shabby compared to other treat and ice cream options.
The lactose-intolerant among you (sorry, no dairy-free options) can make a set of three ($4.99) or six ($8.99) custom doughnuts from five glazes, 10 toppings, and five drizzles.
First of all, be prepared to wait in line. This Krispy Kreme is just down the street from Concord Mills, a massive shopping mall, and a Great Wolf Lodge. It’s not exactly a bustling downtown, but it is a high-traffic destination, and we were there on Labor Day.
First up, the ice cream sandwiches. My companions who had these repeatedly moaned about the quantity of sugar they felt filling every corner of their bodies. And these are guys who just binged cookies, brownies, and rum all weekend—it’s not like they can’t hold their corn syrup and refined white sugars!
On to the custom donuts. This is an activity I enjoy at donut places across the country. You need custom donut recommendations from Portland to Philly? I am here for you.
You start with a pretty standard order form. You can choose one of their combinations, or you can design your own. But you can only order three or six. (The number of the ordering shall not be two! Seven is right out!)
And then your donuts get made! You can watch the process:
That’s my set of choices being made. I got the M&Ms and Oreo ones for my kids, and for myself, the lemon glaze with Fruity Pebbles and vanilla drizzle.
My first complaint is that there’s no divider between donuts, so you’d better like your friends’ choices if you’re not eating all three. I got my daughter peanut butter drizzle because she loves it. But I cannot describe to you how much I hate peanut butter. It’s like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans but with only the bad ones. I’d rather have gagh. Unfortunately, her donut was next to mine. I’m pretty sure even if you like peanut butter, it does not go with lemon glaze and Fruity Pebbles.
The second problem is more “could be better” than “gustatory horror show.” (Did I mention how much I hate peanut butter?) North Carolina already has several outposts of a magical delight called Duck Donuts.
Duck Donuts are the same glaze+topping+drizzle made-to-order situation with one important difference: the donuts are made hot to order as well. Because Krispy Kreme is known for the sheer joy of Hot Doughnuts Now melting on your tongue, I made the erroneous assumption that that was how the custom donuts would be served as well.
But after we stood in line watching the gloriously hot donuts flipping through the oil and onto a conveyor belt, we were greeted at the custom donut station with a wall of cold donuts:
And that’s what the custom donuts are made from. That’s not to say they’re terrible. They’re not. But anyone who has had hot Krispy Kreme and cold Krispy Kreme can tell you they are entirely different food items. The former almost melts on your tongue, while the latter is more like an ordinary grocery store donut.
I enjoyed my lemon and Fruity Pebbles (after making my husband bite off most of the peanut butter invasion). It was fine. But it’s not something I’m going to stand in line for again. Give me the classic Hot Doughnuts Now (or a trip to Duck!) for far cheaper instead.