Hand-cut, handmade County Donuts in Schaumburg

April 20, 2011 9:38:14 AM PDT
A new doughnut shop is all the buzz in River North, but a Schaumburg staple has been frying up the sweet treats for 30 years.

Everyone has been buzzing about the Doughnut Vault since it opened a few weeks ago in River North. Only open for about an hour each morning, they make three or four varieties and tweet updates to those in line. ABC7' s Hungry Hound Steve Dolinsky waited in line Wednesday morning, but had no luck.

Contrast that to a suburban donut shop that's been in business for more than 30 years, where they fry up doughnuts throughout the day-- and rarely run out of your favorite flavors.

The process is repetitive, and yet also physically demanding. There is much more to donut-making than simply frying dough, although of course, there's that too. It's a tradition that hasn't changed much at County Donuts in Schaumburg, where, for the past 30 years, donut-making has been a community anchor.

"We make everything from scratch. From our hand-cut cake donuts, our yeast donuts, our icing, chocolate, some of our fillings such as vanilla cream and chocolate cream is made from scratch," said owner Manan Joshi.

The dough is formed, rolled-out and cut by hand every day, twice a day, then turned into various shapes: long johns, round donuts that will be eventually be filled, or just the standard rings. They're left to rest and proof for about a half-hour, then go into pure vegetable shortening heated to 375 degrees. They're not completely dunked, just fried on each side for 45 seconds. Once they're removed, there are a number of options: they can be filled with an assortment of flavors and then coated in powdered sugar; they can be frosted by hand, with a range of flavors, including chocolate or even strawberry. They can also be drenched in a homemade glaze, rendering the outside sweet and slightly sticky.

"We use different ingredients for different things; our glaze is made with honey and six eggs powdered sugar. And then we use water, hot water, extremely hot water to make our glaze," said Joshi.

Flavors change frequently, sometimes with the season, and Joshi says even for holidays as dominant as Easter - when chocolate bunnies are the norm - donuts still play a starring role.

"We'll have actual Easter Baskets that are made of donuts. So we'll make a donut, put a string around it and put jelly bellys in there and they'll take it as gifts for customers," Joshi said.

County has about 30 flavors every day, a mix between the yeast and cake doughnuts. They also make some seriously large cinnamon rolls and fritters.

County Donuts
1218 S. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg

The Doughnut Vault
401 1/2 N. Franklin

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