It’s Valentine’s Day, and you know what that means! That’s right, it’s time for all the chain coffee shops to release their seasonal weird pink sludge!
This time of year, Dunkin’ Donuts has released the “Cupid’s Choice Donut” (Bavarian ‘Kreme’ filling, strawberry frosting, and sprinkles) and the “Brownie Batter Donut” (brownie batter filling, chocolate frosting, and sprinkles), both heart-shaped for the season.
Yeah, not very creative. Dunkin’ Donuts (it will never be ‘Dunkin’ to us) is not exactly the place where you get fine cuisine. It’s joked that Taco Bell’s menu is the same five ingredients shuffled around, but at Dunkin’ Donuts things are even worse. Only a fool would order anything except a donut here, and the only real variety is if you want a yeast donut or a cake donut. Frostings, flavors, fillings – it all blends to be one beige blur of ring-shaped pastry.
That doesn’t stop them from trying every holiday season, though. Back in 2020 they had their Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut, which seriously tested us. Last year, they had a Cookie Butter Cold Brew, which we weren’t around to review, but it was Just Fine. They also had a cookie butter-topped (filled? something like that) donut, which we did not get to try, because we currently live in an area where any seasonal fast food product is at least a dollar more than advertised and most of the time doesn’t even exist.
But hey, we managed to get the heart donuts this year. Let’s make the most of it, alright?
Lucas was the one to suggest that we go to Dunkin’ Donuts, since we had woken up relatively early after Will had accidentally scheduled a pharmacy pickup for 10 AM. It sounded like a fun enough idea, but we also have developed a newfound bias, since we named our cat after the damn place. Dunkin’ was mercifully right by the pharmacy, so we drove there, but not before Lucas drove in the wrong direction for five minutes and said “Oh shit, Dunkin’ is the other way,” at which point Will thought that he was referring to our cat being gay or something.
Pickup was fine. Ever since the last time we did foodblogging, you have to do everything in The App nowadays, which means you have to dedicate an entire folder on your phone to The Food Apps and regularly get push notifications from, I don’t know, fucking Auntie Anne’s begging you to try their signature salty sweaty balls PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PROMOTION ENDS TOMORROW. And then sometimes when you order things from The App, they don’t even have it, which you only find out once you’ve driven there and gotten your hopes up. But yeah, they had it, it was fine.
The first thing we noticed when we opened the box was that the heart shapes are seriously questionable. Two of the pink ones looked more like an L, or maybe a flaccid packer, if you’re a bastard. On most of them, the sprinkles had landed entirely on one side, for one big horrible gritty mouthful.
We inexplicably unanimously agreed we wanted to try the “Cupid’s Choice Donut” first, maybe because it felt more adventurous and risky, with its … um … cream filling, strawberry frosting, and sprinkles.
But this was actually Will’s first time trying one of the ‘strahberry frasteds’ from Paula’s legends. Though Will normally has an adoration for sickly-sweet Red flavors, he found the strawberry to be overwhelmingly cloying. Maybe it would have been okay without the filling? Who knows, but it was just way too much to be eating on an empty stomach.
Next up was the “Brownie Batter Donut”, which we were all a lot more excited for. The chocolate frosting was exactly what you would expect, but all the fun was in the filling. It really was brownie batter! It had all of the thick, almost gritty texture, with a flavor that did somehow feel like brownies and not just chocolate.
There was only one major problem with these. It’s bad enough that most fast food filled donuts have the filling stuffed into a completely randomly-placed pocket, but the heart shape means you can eat an entire mini-donut’s worth of dough before hitting the filling. At that point, the balance is totally fucked. There has to be a better way, right?
Okay, most of the complaints here just come down to how they were assembled, which isn’t even the fault of the workers since no one is getting paid enough around here. They were really just fine. Totally ordinary donuts, with a Valentine’s twist. It’s Dunkin’ Donuts, what did you expect?
I’m sorry to say this is just the reality of fast food now. We are in a true dark era of food. No longer are we getting soggy cheese triangles or hateful donuts. It’s just totally ordinary, safe things, rearranged in ways that are mildly exciting but not too scary.
And, actually, at this point of writing this article Will realized that surely they’ve probably already done this, right? Yeah, Dunkin’ Donuts has been putting out the Cupid’s Choice donut every year since 2011, and the Brownie Batter donut has been around since 2013. Back in 2019 they actually had at least seven different Valentine’s-themed donuts, and ever since then it’s been just these two every year. What the hell?
Come on, man, let’s do something wild. How about a heart-shaped donut filled with nacho cheese and topped with hot Cheetos? Drizzled in ranch dressing? Whatever. Happy Valentine’s Day.