Ruth and the blind cream stick taste test

Ruth and the blind cream stick taste test

The cream stick/doughnut debate rages on, and I never thought I’d receive as much feedback as I have after my feature article several weeks back. I have an undying love for doughnuts and cream sticks, so much so my favorite bakery knows what I’m going to order. That shouldn’t be a brag, and quite possibly an embarrassment, but there isn’t anything so good as a fresh cream stick dipped in coffee on a lazy Saturday morning.

In Mexico, if you can’t hit up the bakeries for fresh pan dulce, they come to you on their bikes — a large tea towel covered basket awaiting your selections: conchas, cuernos, mantecadas, orejas. Every single day there’s a crinkly brown bag of goodies waiting to dip in hot Nescafe. Because of this, it didn’t take George long to love the pastries here in Holmes County. He chooses glazed or sugared doughnuts over cream sticks while I must have the tunnel of cream to make the day worthy.

I never get used to receiving emails from friends and readers who take the time to write me. I’m simply out here typing my thoughts and am surprised and glad when people write me that they read them and take my words to heart. I have a good editor who corrals my usually (mostly?) on time submissions and makes them readable for the public. But nothing makes my heart flutter like a person who not only read the Doughnut Tour article, but also took it a step further. Someday I’ll tell everyone where my favorite cream stick is made, but for now I’ll keep it a mystery.

Ruth wrote me a letter about how her family did their due diligence and elevated the cream stick debate to the next level. I think you’ll enjoy reading it.

Hello Melissa,

Several weeks ago, you did a feature article on the bakeries of Holmes County, which appeared in the Bargain Hunter. In the spirit of true research, we decided to participate and judge which was the best cream stick of all. Now to be honest, cream sticks are not my first choice of doughnuts, but my husband would pick a cream stick every time. But in the interest of research, I was going to switch my doughnut of choice for a little while.

The quest for the best cream stick began almost immediately after I read and clipped out your article for future reference. Not wanting to eat all those cream sticks in a single day, I began stopping for just one cream stick when I went past one of the local bakeries. My husband and I would share it and decide if we liked it or not.

After having sampled cream sticks from Hershberger’s, Miller’s, Kaufman’s, Der Bake Oven, Der Dutchman and the Dough Company (in Tuscarawas County), I had narrowed it down to three, and now we needed to have an actual panel of judges. My brother who has two weaknesses — McDonald’s French fries and any doughnut in the world — was having his 83rd birthday. I decided that instead of cake or pie, we were going to have the cream stick contest for his dessert. This was a blind taste test. I served doughnuts from Kaufman’s, the Dough Co and Der Dutchman, the three that I deemed worthy of participating in this trial.

I cut each cream stick into four pieces, and we all tasted and wrote down notes. I tried to stick with maple icing and Bavarian cream in every case, but one shop did not have any available with maple icing and I had to go with the chocolate.

We all simultaneously tasted each cream stick in order and wrote our opinions. When we had finished, we were all in agreement! I truly expected a split decision, but Der Dutchman was far and away superior to every other cream stick. The tender and light quality of the dough as well as the not too sweet Bavarian cream filling made this the hands down winner.

Now that I know which cream stick has won, does this mean that my research is ending? Probably not. But I really thought you would like to know this.

Your devoted reader,


And there you have it.

Melissa Herrera is a columnist, published author and drinker of too many coffees. You can find her book, “TOÑO LIVES,” at or buy one from her in person (because all authors have boxes of their own novel). For inquiries or to purchase, email her at

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