Photos by Brandy Walters
Ulster County’s sugar-coated hotspot serves delicious and unconventional donut combinations that satisfy every sweet tooth.
Brandy Walter’s passion for sweets stems back to her childhood. She made funnel cakes as a kid and worked in her grandfather’s candy store at just 13 years old. As a co-owner of Anchor—a Kingston staple for the past 10 years— Walters’ enthusiasm for sweets has continued, even though her eatery is all about savory fare. For those who haven’t been, Anchor serves grass-fed beef burgers, craft beer, and Americana comfort food, earning a devoted Ulster County fanbase.
In response to COVID restrictions and the resulting staffing shortage, Walters searched for a means of broadening Anchor’s operation. To do so, she turned to her life-long love of desserts and dreamt up Hole in the Wall Donuts, an old-school donut shop within Anchor. Her focus: bold and unconventional gourmet donuts.
Walters begins each day at 4:30 a.m. She powers up the fryers, rolls and cuts the dough, and then fries and glazes each individual donut before placing them in their display case. When the store opens at 9 a.m., she then spends her day repeating this process depending on the specific demand for the donuts.
While customers can now enter the store and select their donuts, Hole in the Wall Donuts originally began as a pickup window for donuts. Walters describes how, as the business grew, she and her team transformed an old Anchor dining room into a walk-in donut shop. The nature of donuts allows for an indoor experience during COVID.
“It’s something that people I think are really comfortable with because it’s not a sit down and dine indoors type thing, it’s something that they can come pick up a treat and then go enjoy it wherever they want,” says Walters.
One of Hole in the Wall Donuts’ specialties is old-fashioned sour cream donuts. For those who prefer classic donut flavors, the Hudson Valley spot offers chocolate-glazed, chocolate hazelnut, and strawberry-glazed donuts—the latter of which is topped with lemon cookie crumbles. Overall, the donut menu specializes in adventurous combinations and flavors.
Tea drinkers will adore Hole in the Wall’s Early Grey & Blueberry donut. Topped with Maine blueberries, this confection features an earl grey tea glaze. The Maple Glaze Donut gets its sweetness from local Hudson Valley maple syrup and is adorned with salty Applewood smoked bacon.
Other unique variations include dill pickle, blood orange and ginger, watermelon, and La Fleur, a donut smothered in a lavender, rose water, and orange blossom glaze.
In addition to the old-fashioned sour cream donuts, Hole in the Wall Donuts offers a mochi version. These donuts have the added benefit of being vegan and gluten-free. Walters’ take on the classic Japanese treat features a crispy exterior with the expected chewy interior.
“I didn’t start off saying I’m going to make a mochi donut, I started off saying, ‘I’m going to find a recipe that’s both vegan and gluten-free,’” says Walters. She then spent hours researching mochi recipes on the internet and, through trial and error, was able to create the perfect mochi recipe for Hole in the Wall Donuts. “I eventually came up with something that was pretty wonderful. You don’t have to be gluten-free or vegan to enjoy these. They’re just very tasty and very unique.” Hole in the Wall Donuts currently has three mochi options: chocolate, cookies and cream, and strawberry with white nonpareils—Walter’s personal favorite of all her creations.
The process of making these mochi donuts is laborious.
“The mochi is a very labor intensive donut because every little ball is hand-formed. So, I make up the dough, and I make eight little balls into a ring formation, and then we deep fry them,” she explains. Next, she and her team glaze the donuts. This process is further complicated by the specific temperature mochi requires, plus the gluten-free and vegan nature of the donuts, which requires that the staff sanitize the work environment before use.
Walters creates and tests the recipes herself—much to her own enjoyment.
“I’m a foodie and I love food and I just get creative with different ingredients and, you know, dream up different flavors and then just test things out until I can make it come out the way I want it,” she says.
The donut menu rotates daily, as Walters adds new flavors and experiments with new combinations. Of course, when fall arrives, Hole in the Wall Donuts will feature Hudson Valley staples like pumpkin and apple cider donuts.
“We have, you know, stuff that anybody would have, like peanut butter chocolate and strawberry, but then we do stuff like IPA [made with a Sloop Juice Bomb and a pretzel on top] and Jamison butterscotch,” Walters describes. “Plus the dill pickle….We have some very unique flavors.”
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Pair a donut with one of Hole in the Wall Donuts’ local coffee options—like Monkey Joe Roasting Company’s maple cinnamon—and you’re set for a fabulous morning snack.
Hole in the Wall Donuts
744 Broadway, Kingston