Krispy Kreme has already wowed us this summer with its stunning ability to pivot to doughnut-flavored soft serve ice cream. Now, the brand is taking somewhat of the opposite approach: Per a press release sent to The Takeout, in its newest collaboration with Popsicle and Good Humor, Krispy Kreme has released three limited-time-only doughnuts inspired by three classic ice cream truck treats: the Firecracker Inspired Doughnut, the Vanilla King Cone Inspired Doughnut, and the Creamsicle Inspired Doughnut. Doughnuts that take their cues from ice cream sounded like a pretty good idea to us. Does it work in practice?
Notice that Krispy Kreme takes a cautious approach to this lineup by describing each doughnut offering as “inspired” by its popsicle counterpart. Including the word “inspired” in each of the doughnuts’ names doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence about how closely they will mimic the taste of the actual ice cream truck treats. However, I had to at least give Krispy Kreme the chance to prove me wrong. (Spoiler: it did not.)
I have two immediate biases I must disclose before getting into this sugary-sweet taste test. The first: I do not like cream-filled doughnuts, and all three of these doughnuts are cream-filled. Secondly, I have never been a big fan of the classic Orange Creamsicle ice cream truck treat; in case you missed it, the Creamsicle came in second-to-last place in our rankings. The priorities for this taste test are to first determine how well these doughnuts evoke the nostalgia of the ice cream truck treats they are “inspired” by, and then, of course, how delicious they are as a doughnut.
I consider the Firecracker popsicle one of the most iconic popsicle offerings you can get from any ice cream truck; because of that, this doughnut had the biggest challenge in meeting expectations. Unfortunately, the red, white, and blue frosted doughnut did not rise to the occasion.
The press release describes this offering as “An Original Glazed® doughnut with icing inspired by Popsicle Firecracker, dipped in blue raspberry sugar, then topped with dollops of flavored Kreme™ inspired by Popsicle Firecracker.” Once again, the word “inspired” seems to be used to pad the possibility that the doughnut might disappoint a true Firecracker lover—and it definitely did.
In an attempt to create the same red, white, and blue color palette of the actual popsicle, Krispy Kreme has overloaded this doughnut in frosting. It’s just too sweet to take more than one bite from, and each color of frosting does not have a distinct flavor like the different colors of the Firecracker popsicle do. The blue raspberry sugar provided only the slightest hint of raspberry while the rest of the doughnut was just a soft, mushy bite of sugar.
The press release describes the Vanilla King Cone Inspired Doughnut as one that is “filled with vanilla custard Kreme™, dipped in chocolate icing, and topped with a blend of sugar cone pieces and chopped peanuts with a drizzle of chocolate icing.” This is very similar to Good Humor’s actual vanilla King Cone, which consists of vanilla ice cream in a sugar cone, chocolate-flavored coating, and roasted peanuts on top.
This is probably the easiest of the three ice cream truck treats to embody in doughnut form, but there was one detail that put this doughnut in second place. The combination of chocolate coating, peanuts, and cream filling all felt very close to what an actual king cone would provide, but the sugar cone pieces are what brought this down. They tasted like they’d gone stale in a humid environment, far too soft and an insult to the crunch of actual sugar cones.
Our taste testers all agreed that if the cone pieces had contained a real crunch (rather than just disintegrating on your tongue like freeze-dried astronaut ice cream), this doughnut would have ranked higher.
I hate to admit it, but by the standards of this particular taste test, the Creamsicle Inspired Doughnut from Krispy Kreme was the winner. While its crunchy sprinkles were unnecessary, the citrus flavor paired with the cream filling was immediately recognizable as a play on the Creamsicle.
As someone who is not the biggest fan of the fruity ice cream bar, even I have to say that the flavors were on par with what was intended. This doughnut did exactly what it sought out to do, which was to remind the consumer of summers spent licking a popsicle in the heat next to the Good Humor truck.
We always appreciated an attempt at nostalgia. Krispy Kreme took on an ambitious task, to mixed results. Accurate imitations of ice cream? Just one out of three. Simply delicious treats? Two out of three. These doughnuts are available for the next three weeks, so be sure to grab some and let us know your thoughts.