Battle of the Donuts... Or Rather, Fauxnuts

Downing a donut is a great way to get that sugar rush that'll get you through your morning at work. (At least until you crash and absolutely, undeniably need another donut an hour later. Oh. Darn.)   

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Our taste teste in action, with a control donut for comparison.
Every office has that one person who practically cries every time it's office donut day because they're vegan or lactose intolerant or have a wheat allergy. (We're guessing you've got at least one friend like that, too.)​
This week in Battle of the Dishes, we blind taste-tested vegan and gluten/dairy-free donuts to see if either one would be worth serving to our poor donutless friends. 

In One Corner: Conspire
901 5th St. in Phoenix
602-237-5446

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Driving down 7th St. in Phoenix, it's hard to miss the white clapboard sign with a pitiful spray-painted red arrow advertising "Vegan Donuts" -- especially since it's mere steps away from the Krispy Kreme at Roosevelt and 7th. Even omnivores are enticed to follow the red arrow, if only to find out whether these donuts are being served out of a nasty food cart, a restaurant or some random person's kitchen.

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​Turns out they're made by Conspire, the coffee house slash vintage clothing co-op located in a funky, mural-covered historic house on the corner of 5th and Garfield.

The front room of the tiny shop is crammed with clothes, jewelry, art and other handmade goodies, with the rear of the room taken up by a miniscule espresso bar.

Vegan donuts go fast here. Guess it must be that sign...

We scored three of the white icing glazed chocolate donuts and brought them in to our unsuspecting co-workers for taste-testing. The donuts looked decent enough; traditional cake-style with white sugar glaze dripped over the top. We bit into the donut and cake crumbs were everywhere.

It was as if every drop of moisture were sucked out of the poor donut, leaving only a frail shell of cocoa powder and heaven knows what holding this mystery snack together. We know that vegan donuts prohibit animal-based oils, dairy and eggs, but veggie and plant oils are still in, so WTF?

"There's something missing," said our first taste tester, Jonathan. "It's just not chocolaty enough. The texture is really dry... and chewy, but like stale marshmallow chewy." His were the most positive comments. Ouch.

We thought the cocoa flavor was decent; weak but still enjoyable. The glaze icing was sweet but not cloyingly so. All in all, Conspire's "fauxnut" might've made a decent cake donut substitute had it not been dry enough to require several swigs of water just to choke it down.      

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