The widespread distribution of Timmy Ho’s is probably a pretty good indication of how much us Canucks like doughnuts. However, if you’ve got an avó, grand-mère, or oma you’d probably prefer one of their malasadas, beignets or berliners to a honey cruller. Don’t have a grandma who makes homemade doughnuts? Not to worry. Head to Hintonburg and Sue Harmer will be happy to provide you with some.
Sue is the “Suzy” of SuzyQ Doughnuts. Her background is in fine arts, but the mom of 3 found it hard to find time for her creative pursuits with kids underfoot and a full-time job. So she put her hands to work making doughnuts for her colleagues at Canada Post. When postal workers went on strike last year, Sue had the idea to sell doughnuts in an effort to replace lost wages. She started selling them last summer at the Lansdowne Farmer’s market, and people liked them. They really, really, liked them. So much so that a store front was in order, and SuzyQ Doughnuts opened a couple of weeks ago in the old Hintonburger location.
The team running the place consists of Sue, her husband and her brother-in-law. Despite establishing a storefront, the three are actually still moonlighting when they’re in the shop. On weekdays Sue gets up really, really, early in the morning to make dough and prepare glazes, before popping off to carry letters. The boys then take the day shift, assembling the doughnuts and working the counter with happy, smiling faces.
The doughnuts are made daily in small batches, so they’re guaranteed to be fresh. If you walk in at the right time you might even get one warm from the fryer! Sue uses a dough recipe inherited from her Finnish mother, and her doughnuts have an amazing texture. The best adjective I’ve heard to describe them is “bouncy”. When you first bite into them there’s a little bit of resistance, but they certainly aren’t tough. The doughnuts are tender and soft, but not spongey or soggy. They’re less melt-into-sugary-tasting-mush-in-your-mouth and more delightfully-chewy-and-slightly-sweet. All of the doughnuts are made with the same dough, and the flavours come from toppings and glazes. If you’re not crazy about sweets, stick to the doughnuts without glazes.
Okay, so let’s talk flavours. I have personally encountered: maple bacon, raspberry white chocolate, lemon thyme, pomegranate sugar, double chocolate crunch, caramel de sel, vanilla fruit loop, toasted coconut, lemon pistachio, caramel crunch and sugar munkkii (munkkii is the Finnish word for doughnut). I’ve also seen s’mores, chocolate hazelnut, spicy chocolate, buttermint, plum cardamom, banana cream, raspberry sugar, cinna-buns, malted milk, crème brulee, strawberry milk crumble, pomegranate white chocolate, creamsicle, pecan turtle, boston cream, and cornmeal cherry on the menu. That’s not an exhaustive list, and Sue’s coming up with new flavours all the time. Right now the plan is to keep some regular flavours on the menu (maple bacon, sugar munkkii), while additional flavours will be featured for a week at a time.
Both the texture and the flavours are phenomenal, but SuzyQ doughnuts are also special because of the ingredients they’re made with. They use eggs from Bekings Poultry Farm and products from Cochrane’s Dairy in Russell. The especially delicious maple bacon doughnuts feature syrup from Quebec, bien sûr, and bacon from a local smokehouse. SuzyQ currently uses Canadian flour, and they are looking into a local mill where that uses a traditional stone mill process to grind their wheat. Once spring subsides and local produce is available you’ll find them using even more locally grown goodies. They might not have double-doubles, but you can get coffee made with beans from local roaster Montana Coffee. I’m sure nobody in your office will mind the switch.
SuzyQ Doughnuts is located at 991 Wellington St, open Thursday thru Sunday from 9-5, or until doughnuts sell out. The menu and doughnut number updates are tweeted daily on twitter (@suzyqdoughnuts). Doughnuts are $2 a piece, $10 for a ½ dozen.