By Kimberly Holland
Updated: January 30, 2017

Keep your Krispy Kreme and your Dunkin Donuts. Give me old-school old-fashioned doughnuts that are lovingly kneaded and shaped or rolled and cut. If I'm going to splurge on a doughnut, the flavor, the crispy crunch of the crust, and the pillowy softness of the dough had better make every single calorie worth it.

If the rise of mom-and-pop doughnut shops is any indication, it seems I'm in a growing chorus of folks who are asking for better, more thoughtfully-made pastries. Here in Birmingham, we have two up-and-coming made-from-scratch doughnut shops  and . While I was in Chicago earlier this year, I broke with form, skipped the cupcake shops, and headed to two different doughnut shops:  and . In New York, much the same--I skipped my beloved Milk Bar and sought out the much-talked-about  for my once-a-trip treat. (I'm headed to Washington D.C. and Philly this summer. Any suggestions, readers?)

Doughnuts are certainly a splurge. Some of the ones on Krispy Kreme's , for example, top 330 calories. (Smaller shops likely don't have their calorie numbers listed, so use estimates from bigger chain brands if you're tracking calories.) However, lighter doughnuts are a real option. They are certainly fun to make by yourself or with a host of helpers. They're also endlessly customizable. Want a pistachio and dark chocolate doughnuts? It can be done. Craving a brown sugar and pecan doughnut? Easy. A sprinkle of your favorite flavors on top of a fresh doughnut allows you to be creative and as decadent as you could want--all under your control.

Here, we've gathered all our best lighter doughnut recipes because what's life without a splurge? And if you're going to splurge, make sure it's really worth it.

The doughnut pan is a must. This $10 investment is worth a lifetime of healthier, oven-baked doughnuts. Find them at various kitchen stores or at .com.

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Mindi Shapiro

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