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First it was cookies, then it was muffins. The sweet treat that is trending right now is the doughnut. We’re not talking your run of the mill pastry from Dunkin’, we’re talking gourmet creations. Before we look at some of the places in the area offering these trendy treats; a little Doughnut 101.

A doughnut is technically a type of fritter, or fried dough. The dough can be yeast-based or a cake batter. The most popular shape is the familiar ring, but it can also be disc shaped (usually filled with jelly or custard), sticks or spheres (doughnut holes). Fried dough had been around for centuries, but supposedly it was Hanson Gregory, an American, who claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut. Dissatisfied with raw center of regular doughnuts, he punched a hole in the center of the pastry.

Every culture has its own version of a fried dough-based pastry; the French beignet, Italian zeppole, Polish paczki, Greek loukoumades and Mexican churro are just a few examples. Whatever the culture or cuisine, doughnuts are always a favorite. After all what’s not to like about sweet fried dough?

There have been hybrid doughnuts (croughnut: a doughnut crossed with a croissant) and now, shops specializing in doughnuts with wacky and often delicious toppings. Here are spots in the area offering some of these new Franken-doughnuts, as well as more traditional flavors.

Mojo Donuts
7906 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines

In addition to more traditional offerings, Mojo offers flavors such as “Slutty Brownie” (a Nutella glazed donut filled with chocolate mousse and topped with bits of brownie, Oreo, and chocolate chip pieces), “Banana Rama” (peanut butter, banana and peanuts topped with caramel and a dash of sea salt) and "Deco Delight" (filled with banana cream, then topped with fresh fruit, chocolate, frosted flakes and a white chocolate glaze). There are also hybrids; such as “Baklacropolis, a cross between baklava and a doughnut and the “Holy Cannoli” a doughnut with cannoli filling.

Individual doughnuts are $1.20 for a standard version, $1.55 for “gourmet” creations and $1.95 for oversized pastries $7.99 for a half-dozen and $14.99 for a dozen.

Rhino Doughnuts
107 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale By The Sea
126 NE 2nd Street, Boca Raton

Floridians Athan Prakas, a real estate broker, and investor Davin Tran, observed the trend for gourmet doughnuts and saw the area as a prime market. They hired a pastry chef to develop recipes and opened their first two stores, in what they hope will be a chain. They have plans to open two more stores soon; at 8085 West Oakland Park Blvd. in Sunrise and 6300 N. Andrews. The Lauderdale by the Sea store is my go to spot. It’s impossible to park there during season, but at this time of year it should be fairly simple. Get there early because the best flavors sell out quickly, especially the maple bacon. I am fond of the guava and cheese and crème brulee. Among some of the other concoctions at Rhino are; salted caramel, Key lime, PB&J, Snickers and plenty of options topped with breakfast cereals.

Single glazed doughnuts are 99¢, specialty and cake doughnuts are $1.99, $8.99 for a half-dozen. A dozen glazed at $9.99, specialty doughnuts are $15.99 a dozen.

Dandee Donuts
102 N. 28th Ave., Hollywood
1900 Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach

With nearly three decades in the game Dandee Donuts isn’t exactly jumping on the bandwagon. It’s more like they built the bandwagon. Founded in 1995 by friends who happened to be co-workers at a famous doughnut franchise, they thought they could do better and converted the once franchised location to their new concept. From such humble beginnings Dandee now offers more than 50 types of doughnuts ranging from traditional flavors such as chocolate glazed, Bavarian Cream and jelly filled, to more unusual offerings such as the “Maple Bacon Bomb,” “Walnut Crunch” and a cookies and cream filled pastry topped with crumbled Oreo cookies. If you feel guilty eating a meal comprised only of doughnuts, Dandee’s isn’t just a doughnut shop, but rather a diner that just happens to serve up delicious versions of its namesake. There’s just about every type of breakfast meal that you can imagine.

Donuts are $1.50 each, $8.38 a half-dozen and $13.49 a dozen. A breakfast special features a coffee and two donuts for $3.59. Order any large iced or hot cappuccino and they’ll give you a free doughnut.

Grampa's Bakery and Restaurant
17 SW 1st St, Dania Beach

Family-owned and operated since 1957, Grampa's Bakery and Restaurant in Dania makes all of its baked goods in house (although you’d think that after 60 plus years they’d have learned how to spell pastries-it’s wrong in the web site and menu). While the place serves a full menu of breakfast, lunch and entrees, you don’t go there for the sit down dining (or the service for that matter-it’s truly awful), you go there for the doughnuts, which, while not as exotic as the places mentioned above are still damn good, and reasonably priced at 95¢, each or $9.95 a dozen.