ANOKA, Minn. — Cat pics. Colorful cocktails. Gym selfie. Certain types of photos are pretty much guaranteed to get all the Instagram “likes.” Lately, there’s another photo that’s been popping up in any self-respecting ‘grammer’s feed: the doughnut-the-size-of-your-head photo.
At Hans’ Bakery, customers have always gobbled up the classic sweet shop’s Texas doughnut — a giant raised ring that comes either chocolate-frosted or glazed. Kelly Olsen, who has owned the place since 2014, believes it goes back to Hans’ 1970s origins.
But now, in the age of shareable media, the massive pastry — about five times the size of a normal doughnut — has taken on a new life. People are trekking to this northern suburb specifically to showcase the massive treats in front of their faces.
“The size of the doughnut is hard to see; you need context,” Olsen said. “We started telling people it’s as big as your head.”
Lo and behold, people decided to prove it with photographic evidence.
The Texas doughnut from Hans’ Bakery is as classic as they come — the only difference is that it’s delivered to customers in a plastic container meant to hold a whole pie.
Kitchen manager Al Kugler, who has been in the bakery business for 35 years, dunks the still-warm doughnuts in homemade chocolate glaze and tops with sprinkles, or drags a trough of clear “honey glaze” over a tray of the freshly fried rings.
Kids line up after school along the bakery’s ample display case, making these doughnuts afternoon rituals.
One of Olsen’s favorite memories was coming to the bakery as a child, and indulging in the giant doughnut.
Olsen was working in real estate in 2008 when the housing market collapsed. Around the same time, her husband was killed in a crash with a drunken driver.
“I needed something to pour that energy into,” she said.
When the original Hans’ Bakery closed in 2010, she flirted with the idea of bringing it back. It took her four more years to pull the trigger, and when she did, the Food Network followed, trailing her through a painstaking remodel and earning the establishment instant popularity. Olsen tracked down all the original Hans’ recipes, and kept the place old-school.
“I wanted a place where people could slow down and spend time with people they care about,” she said.
If anything could slow down an eater, it’s a doughnut the size of their head.
On a recent day off from school, Jacob Eisenbrei of Blaine sat with his family for a midmorning snack. He lifted the white-frosted and sprinkled Texas doughnut to his lips and took a barely noticeable nibble. The doughnut teetered in his two small hands.
“It’s so hard to hold!” he exclaimed, then went in for another bite.