Ticking off my bucket list: the 60-yr search for a Dixie Cream Donut
LEWISVILLE, TX: The normal 12-hour driving expedition from Colchester, Illinois to Lewisville, Texas took a bucket-list detour — a Dixie Cream donut. My bucket list includes the nearly impossible: getting an autograph baseball of Mickey Mantle or Yogi Berra, a golf game at Pebble Beach or Augusta National, and my age golf score.
All of which are more pipe dreams than reality.
Others, however, are at least possible: seeing a baseball game in Yankee stadium, traveling to Australia, and eating a Dixie Cream Donut.
Visiting with my 95-year-old aunt in Macomb IL. gave me the opportunity to find a Dixie Cream donut shop. It might seem like a simple enough task—not so. Dixie Cream shops are all but nonexistent. A quick google shows there are some listed in West Frankford, Il, Valdosta, GA, Fort Pierce, FL, and Jenks, OK. Surprisingly, some in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Apparently, at the peak of business, there were more than 400 shops in the US.
The Dixie Dream Donut quest is one born in childhood.
My mother special treat to us buying a dozen donuts from the local Dixie Cream Donut shop. After so many years, the lip-smacking taste is still firmly fixed in my palate’s memory. My first donut came between 1947 and 1950—I know that because we moved to another house in 1952.
The excitement began as I left my comfortable bed at 4:00 AM. I skipped breakfast so I would be able to consume a good share of a dozen freshly baked Dixie Cream donuts.
The first disappointment came at the shop in West Frankfort with the young lady’s sorrowful response, “We are out of glazed donuts.”
Unbelievable, I thought. I couldn’t very well offer a rebuke to this lovely young clerk. But inside, my heart dropped. Sensing my disappointment and with a delightful smile she responded,
“Our new shop in Herrin will have donuts. I’ll call them and have them reserve some for you.”
The words were as delicious to me as the memory of the sweet glazed donuts.
I hurriedly made my way to Herrin at long last able to check that donut from my bucket list. I asked the young lady if she knew how to do a video from my camera. She was young so of course, she knew. I posed, gave her instructions and then with the camera running I took my first bite of a Dixie Cream donut in many, many years.
The donut was very good, but not the Dixie Cream of my youth. I tried not to express disappointment, but it was there.
What happened to the recipe for the original donut?
I wondered. I knew I had to see if I could unravel the discrepancy between my memory and modern Dixie Cream donuts.
The Forgatch family own the shops in West Frankfort and Herrin. The late founder, Eugene Forgatch founded “Dixie Cream Donuts” in 1955, they say. I knew Mr. Forgatch was not the founder of the original franchise because I ate Dixie Creams before 1955.
Nonetheless, the original company claims to be founded in 1929 in Dallas, Texas.
Its original logo proclaims DIXIE CREAM DONUT CO. SINCE 1929. It is possible the Forgatch family franchise is a holdover franchise from the original 1929. An anonymous writer, pointing out Dixie Cream donuts were around prior to 1955 and noted the distinctiveness of the donut had this to say:
“In around 1948 (I was 12 years old) in McAlester, OK there was an old storefront that we would pass by as kids. Inside was a man making donuts and just inside the storefront were 8 or 10 large bags of flour with name “Dixie Cream Donut Flour” in large letters. The door was locked; he did not sell out of this location. He sold them to stores in the area, they came in boxes with “Dixie Cream, on the boxes. When we had the money, we would buy these donuts and I want you to know, that in all my 78 years there has not been a lighter, better-tasting donut. Not to be confused with the present owner of the name Dixie Cream. They are in Tulsa, OK and I doubt that it is the same flour.”
Either way, the donuts do not taste like a Dixie Cream donut.
The story of Dixie Cream Flour
A key witness, Jim Moczarny, supports the idea that Dixie Cream flour is special:
“My Father and Mother started a Dixie Cream Do-Nut Store in Wausau, WI in 1946 and continued to run it until 1980ish.” He makes a statement that I think is key in the unique taste of Dixie Cream donuts, “The flour, from St. Louis, for raised and cake do-nuts was the key to the success we all had.”
Dixie Cream Donuts have been famous for their unique donut recipe using a donut flour made in St Louis and shipped to franchises around the country. It claims a blending of ingredients that gave the donuts the tender, flaky taste.
Who then has the original recipe for Dixie Cream donuts?
The Fort Pierce Dixie Cream Donut franchise claims to have the original recipes from the Dixie Cream Donuts franchise established in Dallas, Texas, in 1929. Testimonials from the website seem to confirm a unique taste.
Could it be the original recipe?
Dixie Cream Donut was bought by Daylight Donut Flour Company in 2005, which then joined with Beautiful Brands International in 2009 to franchise and market the brand worldwide.
Do they have the original recipe?
I noticed a picture of a donut flour sack from the St Louis Dixie Cream Flour Co. hanging in the shop in West Frankfort that listed the ingredients as being wheat flour, vegetable shortening, sugar, potato flour, eggs, and salt. These ingredients all together produce the unique flavor of the Dixie Cream donut.
The original donut did not keep its freshness very long. Perhaps, over time, the Dixie Cream Flour Co. added other ingredients to give it longer shelf life, altering the taste.
Now the question I must ask myself is: Did I actually eat the donut that fulfilled my Dixie Cream donut bucket list requirement? Or must I continue my search to find a shop with the original flour recipe that meets the taste test?
Dixie Cream Donuts Franchise System, LLC
11707 E. 11th St
Tulsa, OK 74128
888-663-4943 -DIXIE Toll Free