Des Moines, IA – Step aside Cronuts and make way for the Djonut. The newest donut creation is hot out of the oven.
Joe Formaro created the Djonut (pronounced “joe-nut”) for the Capes Kafe, a superhero themed coffee shop in the Des Moines Social Club in downtown Des Moines. These popular treats are topped with your typical sprinkles and frosting. Instead you can expect to find things like cereals, cookies, nuts, fruits--as well as some usually flavor-packed frosting.
“I dream it up and it happens.”
Also, instead of fried, the Djonut is baked and then submerged in a bowl of butter glaze. “It gives them a nice buttery flavor which is unique to my Djonut brand,” said Formaro. The butter glaze locks in the soft donut but when it dries, gives it a crispy feel.
The Djonuts are then topped with wacky ingredients like mixed berry glaze with real fruit, Oreos, pistachios, Fruity Pebbles, strawberry and lime, Nutella and banana, homemade oatmeal cookie butter, Reeses, or fresh orange juice frosting.
He’s made a Greek yogurt and blueberry inspired donut, which he thought wouldn’t do well, but sold out quickly. He said not all the flavors are hits, but it’s always worth the try. And Formaro is constantly looking for new ideas.
When General Mills brought back French Toast Crunch last year he couldn't wait to try it on his Djonut.
For Valentine’s Day, Formaro said he’s planning a red velvet donut with a coffee frosting that will only be available on Feb. 14.
“I dream it up and it happens,” said Formaro. He gets his ideas for flavors from friends, the Internet, and even some he dreams up. He said the whole idea to sell donuts came from a craving he had one morning for a specialty donut he tried in Los Angeles called a Fonut, but couldn’t find anything similar in Iowa.
“I woke up one day wanting a Fonut and couldn’t have it, so I started working on my own,” said Formaro.
Each donut is sold for $2.99 and some people come in and buy them by the dozen.
“I’d say the response has been wild,” said Formaro, “I’ve only been doing this about four months.”
The Djonuts operation is young and still very small. Formaro uses pans that can only bake six donuts at a time and he’s only able to bake about 100 Djonuts every day. Each batch of donuts is mixed together, baked, dipped, and topped by hand. He bakes the donuts pan-by-pan in an industrial kitchen and then hauls them to Capes Kafe to sell them.
“I drive a Honda Civic, so it’s kinda hard to get a lot of donuts around,” said Formaro, “We’re building our way to more and more.”
The donuts sell out so quickly, the line starts forming at seven in the morning just as Formaro is hauling the donuts in from the bakery where he puts them together. Some mornings all the Djonuts are gone within a couple hours, other days it takes until lunch to sell the last one. But there’s never a case of leftovers.
"As you can see right now it's pretty small for us but we work with what we have,” said Formaro.
But he hopes that won’t always be the case. Formaro and the owners of Capes Kafe are planning a Djonuts Kickstarter launch party to help raise money to be able to expand their business.
And Formaro hopes whenever larger test kitchens are built at the Des Moines Social Club, he’ll be able to use the ovens to ramp up production and even hire an employee.
Even though the Djonut brand is still small for now, you *donut* want to miss these.