Holiday high points

Maybelle's first experience at Ralph's DonutsOne of my top priorities for this holiday was having what is indisputably the world's best donut.

Let me make sure you all got that:  the world's best donut.

A lot of people and businesses in the world have opinions about donuts.  People love the hot donuts at Krispy Kreme (those are tasty), and some Northerners swear by Dunkin Donuts.  People get weepy over various apple fritters, donuts filled with all kinds of things, etc.  That's fine.  But they're wrong.  Because the world's best donut is a fresh butter twist made at Ralph's Donuts in Cookeville, TN.

Ralph's has been in operation in Cookeville forever.  Or, you know, since my parents were in college.  Now it's unfortunately not open for 24 hours a day, but it used to be that you could go there on Sunday at 2 in the morning, getting yourself geared up for Monday morning classes by drinking coffee, talking with some of the old timers, and eating a butter twist.  I'll make the off the cuff estimate that I spent 20% of my nights in college at Ralph's--a lot of high school, too, but maybe not as much.

So I love and value the Ralph's experience.  But even beyond the excellent experience of being there, the donut itself is fantastic.  Crispy but not greasy fried on the outside, and the glazing gets all caught up in the twisty part.  It really is a funky twist, not just a twirl--they actually turn the donut sort of inside out to give it its shape.  The inside is delicious and doughy, but not like a regular donut, where you're thinking, "Good grief, there's so little glaze for so much tasteless white bread!"  There's the perfect ratio of glaze to bread in a Ralph's butter twist.  And it's real yeasty bread, unlike the Krispy Kremes, where you sort of feel like you're eating greasy air, and then you realize you've eaten too many and you feel sick.

If I had to make a list of the best fried bread deserts, they would be
1.  Ralph's butter twist
2.  Malasadas from New Bedford, MA (can't remember the name of the restaurant).
3.  Funnel cakes from a county fair (really any county fair)

We took Maybelle last night, our first night in Cookeville.  Let's say that she didn't yet love the butter twist itself, but she seemed to enjoy the Ralph's experience very much.


claire said...

What a fabulous sounding donut...will you bring some home?

Anonymous said...

Malasada's!!!! I want one (or two).
Portuguese bakeries....yummm...
We used to have the best bakery nearby when I grew up- now every glazed donut is a disappointment.