It’s about time I started some donut love on the blog! Last Saturday (November 5th) was Donut Day (or Doughnut Day – I can’t decide which spelling I like better so forgive me if I started using them both interchangably in future posts) and I felt so lame for not having anything donut-related to post. Even though I don’t eat them on a regular basis, I enjoy donuts in all of their many sugary shapes and varieties. My favourites are ones with sprinkles (especially ones with chocolate sprinkles, and the pastel-coloured sprinkled donuts in the Bathurst subway station bakery!), Boston Creams, Sour Cream Glazed, cinnamon sugar dusted ones, and jelly donuts. Oh, and coconut cream donuts. That sounds like a whole lot! I promise I’m not a glutton like Homer with a bottomless pit stomach for donuts. Simply put, these are my favourites and if given a choice, I would choose these over other varieties in a heartbeat.
I’ve certainly eaten my share of these glazed, powdered sugar dusted, jelly-filled, cream-filled, sprinkled confections over the years, yet here we are with zero donut posts on the blog. A food blog with an undying devotion to sweets, no less. All of that changes today though, thanks to my dear Lisa of Le Dolci! She brought amazing, delicious, scrumptious mini donuts back to the studio for us yesterday and I loved them so much, I ate three of them and asked her where this mini donut heaven resided. She told me and I went to get myself some more today. Because they’re that delicious.
Behold, Little Nicky’s Coffee and the magnificent minis! I know, I couldn’t believe it either when I first found out that these fabulous mini donuts that sent my tastebuds over the moon came from a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop in downtown Toronto just off of Queen Street West and Peter Street. Finding out about Little Nicky’s reminded me of how much fun it is to visit every coffee shop in town and to see what goodies are hiding behind the espresso machines and coffee mugs.
Granted, coffee and coffee drinks should obviously be a coffee shop’s strong suit, but these shops function as more than just places to fuel up on some much needed caffiene. Coffee shops are meeting spots for friends, casual date spots for couples, and over the last number of years, the perfect place to get cozy with your laptop. Finding good eats and unique sweets is one of the best things about exploring coffee and tea shops and I’ve found some delicious sweets, baked goods, and tea time snacks in some of the most unexpected places. I couldn’t be more thrilled about these adorable mini donuts!
Little Nicky’s Coffee is a retro-style coffee haunt with cute decor to match – and I mean cute. They have 30s, 40s, and 50s style wall ornaments and framed posters on the walls, and even a retro Chiclet dispenser machine on the counter! I had to keep myself from snorting with giggles when I saw it because I remember how popular Chiclets used to be when I was little and how cool my friends and I felt when we were allowed to chew gum and got these in our Hallowe’en trick-or-treat bags. Or maybe that was just me. ANYWAY.
They serve both coffee and tea drinks including steamers, lattes, espressos, Americanos, cortados, cappuccinos, as well as hot chocolate, apple cider, and smoothies. They’re food menu consists of a daily assortment of baked goods (cookies, cake loaves, banana bread, and more) and toasted bagels and sandwiches to order. One of these days I’m going to have to go to Little Nicky’s earlier in the day because some of their baked goods were sold out when I arrived today. They had an empty glass cases/cookie jar that had a sticker on it that read “Oreo stuffed chocolate chip” which I can only assume refers to cookies. OREO STUFFED CHOCOLATE CHIP?! Sigh. Next time.
Their amazing, fresh, hot-out-of-the-donut-flippy-machine cinnamon suagr mini donuts are what draws the crowds to this coffee shop though! Nearly everyone in the shop walked away with either half a dozen ($2.75) or a dozen ($4) warm mini donuts and they are fantastic. Oh! And all prices are inclusive are tax. Hallelujah! Trust a Canadian like myself to get excited about something like that.
It’s so much fun watching them put together your donuts. The rings of donut dough float in a little vat of oil in the donut machine where a person uses a long chopstick-like stick to flip them over and guide them along until they reach the “conveyor belt” part of the machine. From there, the mini donuts fly off the moving chain conveyor belt into a large white catch basin where they rest until a generous amount of minis congregate. The mini donuts are then placed in a metal mixing bowl where they’re first tossed with powdered sugar between two mixing bowls (you can think of the toss and tumble process of the sugar and donuts as kind of like the separation of an egg white from an egg yolk when you use the shells to plop the yolk back and forth) and then tossed again with a generous helping of cinnamon. The result? Pillow-soft, mouthwatering cinnamon sugar donuts that are hot and fresh and waiting to be devoured.
These mini donuts are some of the best donuts I’ve ever had. Are you familiar with Tiny Tom donuts? You are? Good. Little Nicky’s cinnamon sugar minis totally own the Tiny Tom ones. Oh c’mon, you don’t have to look so incredulous. I know Tiny Tom donuts have a large following, but I’m not kidding around when I say these blow them out of the water. They’re incredibly soft, they don’t taste cakey or dry, and the cinnamon sugar flavour is perfectly sweet with that dusted coarse sugar texture that literally melts in your mouth as soon as you eat them. And one of the best parts? They’re not greasy! I was half-expecting my little paper/wax baggy to get blotchy oil spots on it as the day went on, but the bag was clean as a whistle when I brought them home. It is so easy to eat an entire batch of these and if I wasn’t so concerned about sharing these with the rest of my family, I would have downed the entire half dozen all on my own. It really isn’t hard.
Little Nicky’s Coffee is located at 375 Queen Street West, just south of Queen on Peter Street. Peter Street is just east of Spadina Ave.