Here’s the thing you need to understand: I love buffalo sauce. If I see something with the spicy, tangy red sauce on a menu, I cannot turn it down. I’m also in love with weird frankenfoods, to the point where I’d prefer to eat something weird, something bizarre, off the beaten path… Even if it ends up being totally unpalatable.
So when news broke that Tim Hortons was releasing a Buffalo Crunch Donut – and my coworkers here at MTV News can attest, this is true – I got so excited I couldn’t form words.
Only problem: they’re available until Monday (September 1) only at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY, and Tim Hortons has no plans to make them generally available on the market.
After doing some quick calculations about whether it was worth driving four and a half hours either way to try a donut (pro: buffalo donut, con: four and a half hours each way), I instead contacted Tim Hortons, who were gracious enough to get a local store – run by a very accommodating man named Raymond Wong – to reproduce the recipe.
The original, as a bit of background, isn’t just a donut with some spicy crème. It’s the creation of local owner Anthony McEachern, who crafts unique donuts every year for the New York State Fair and Tim Hortons. In previous years, he’s made a donut that looked like a meatball sub, and this year he decided to embrace the spicy tradition of upstate New York.
It’s made out of a yeast donut, dipped in hot sauce, topped with spicy crushed kettle chips, and has a hot sauce center. Also of note, the donut can be picked off in small, bite size chunks, so you can dip it right in that saucy center if you like.
And here’s the thing: I think they’re kind of great. Reactions were overall mixed from the MTV News staff, but everyone agreed that the donut was a surprisingly solid vehicle for the buffalo sauce. Normally, you put sauce on a piece of bread like this, and it just gets all soggy and gross. The yeast donut was very resilient, spongy, and held up both the buffalo frosting and crème quite well.
That’s right: Buffalo frosting and crème. We don’t know how McEachern came up with this, but the donut seems to be frosted with spicy buffalo sauce. And in the center, the crème is slightly drippy, but mostly holds together, good for eating the whole donut, or dipping small sections.
The other surprising part is that it actually tastes like buffalo sauce. Kind of a weird observation, I know, but most “buffalo” products end up just tasting like generic spicy, rather than the iconic taste of Frank’s Red Hot. The Buffalo Crunch Donut tastes the way it should taste, and was spicy enough that I got a little bit of a sweat going.
There are two main qualms I have with the donut, though. The first is the chips on top, which were slightly soggy by the time they got to us. Maybe getting the donuts made fresh would get around this, and they did add a little bit of crunch to the treat. But mostly they were just soggy, spicy chips.
The second is that, despite the fact that I ate a donut and a half, this definitely isn’t a flavor I could eat every day. A novelty, to be sure, but even myself and the one other MTV News writer who legitimately loved the donuts wouldn’t pop out for a Buffalo Crunch on the regular.
That aside, it’s a great weird snack manages that maintain the integrity of being both a donut, and spicy buffalo sauce.
Oh, and also there were these pumpkin spice donuts which were structured the same way as the Buffalo Crunch, except with pumpkin spice crème and those delicious sugar crumbles on top. They were superb, everyone loved them and wanted to know where to get them blah, blah blah you can get them at your local Tim Hortons now.
Anyway, here’s hoping McEachern tops himself next year. May we suggest… A donut pizza?
You can get the Buffalo Crunch Donut through September 1 at the New York State Fair.