Donut Monster’s Pop-Up Pastries Are More Scrumptious Than Scary

Donut Monster offers pop-up pastries that are more scrumptious than scary.

The Pennsylvania Dutch are credited with adding a hole to a doughnut. (Note that spelling it “donut,” according to the persnickety editors of The Associated Press Stylebook, is a do-not.) This confection literally started as a “nut,” or little ball, of fried dough whose origins date back hundreds of years. 

It’s this history that I’m thinking about in the face of indecision. Lemon poppy? Chocolate coffee? Buttermilk with sprinkles? The fresh fried creations made by Milwaukee’s pop-up enterprise Donut Monster all look divine – and a line is forming behind me at this Saturday morning location, Pilcrow Coffee.

I decide quickly: first, the chocolate coffee, which is tender, rich and made from brioche dough, with a shadow of bean flavor in the creamy Valrhona chocolate icing. My second pick is the giant, plump blueberry fritter, which has a deliciously dense but soft, bumpy exterior yielding to an even softer middle, all stitched together with jam-like fruit.

Jackie and Sara Woods launched Donut Monster last year, after Jackie left a career in elevated kitchens like Umami Moto and Ardent. They started slowly, offering 10 varieties ($2.75-$4.75; 13 for $30) at weekly pop-ups in local coffeehouses. Their long-term goal – a permanent spot in 3rd Street Market Hall (the former Shops at Grand Avenue) – looms on the horizon. For now, find them at Pilcrow Coffee (1739 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr., Saturday 8 a.m.), Hawthorne Coffee Roasters (4177 S. Howell Ave., also Saturday 8 a.m.) and local farmers markets.

“Ace in the Hole” appears in the August 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.