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Baked Goods

Lightweight Mini-Donuts

Posted by Laura Adams / Posted on May 9, 2013

Lightweight Mini-Donuts TorontoLightweight Mini-Donuts opened last week, adding a bite-sized treat to the mix of delicious food options available in Kensington Market. I went to check it out after a tiring day spent running errands under the warm spring sun. Biking over, I couldn't help but wonder, do I really want to eat hot, fried dough right now? Upon smelling the sweet aroma and catching a glimpse of the goods, however, I quickly came to my senses.

Tucked inside the El Gordo food building, the Lightweight Mini-Donuts stand is distinguishable with its bright sign telling you to "treat your inner child." It was his childhood memory of enjoying mini-donuts at the local flea market that inspired owner Joe Winkfein to start his donut-making operation. He tells me that many adults have fond memories of enjoying mini-donuts at fairs and markets, and he wants to bring this classic favourite to the city.

Lightweight Mini-Donuts TorontoWinkfein's enthusiasm for mini-donuts is clear during our chat--his eyes light up when recalling his childhood memories and his aspirations of creating fun, tasty memories for a new generation of kids in the neigbhourhood. "I'd like to keep the nostalgia of the donuts going," he tells me, "as silly as it sounds--such a big goal for such a small product."

Winkfein sells his mini-donuts by the dozen ($4/dozen and $12/4 dozen), and keeps the flavours simple: icing sugar, cinnamon sugar, or mixed. The automated donut machine--the "Cadillac of donut machines" according to Winkfein-- was selected to ensure fast, fresh service. It can make up to 200 dozen donuts an hour to avoid long waits, but can slow the pace to make fresh donuts on demand during off-peak times.

Lightweight Mini-Donuts TorontoObserving the making of the donuts is a key part of the experience, Winkfein tells me, and it certainly is mesmerizing. The machine dispenses rings of batter, about an inch and a half in diameter, that bob along a river of oil like doughy life preservers, with a flip by the machine midway, until they reach the cooling rack. Winkfein says he cooks his donuts a bit longer than others might, to create a slight crispiness and to ensure they stay fresh for several hours. He then scoops up the adorable little donuts into a simple paper bag, adds a generous heap of the requested topping, and shakes vigorously.

Lightweight Mini-Donuts TorontoI eagerly dug into my bag to try out the goods. The donuts were a light golden brown and, despite witnessing them swim along a vat of hot oil, they were surprisingly light and not too greasy (and made with trans-fat-free batter and oil, I'm reassured). As promised, the outside was ever-so-slightly crisp, with a soft and airy dough inside. The granules of the cinnamon sugar flavour provided a tasty contrast in texture to the moist dough. Personally, though, I preferred the icing sugar topping, which melted to create a finger-lickin' good glaze.

Lightweight Mini-Donuts TorontoI saved a few donuts to test Winkfein's claim that they would stay fresh all day. Sure enough, they were still moist about eight hours later, making for a nice late-night snack. I agree with Winkfein, however, that they are best enjoyed fresh. Overall, I appreciated the simplicity of Lightweight's mini-donuts--nothing fancy, no obscure flavours, just sweet pop-in-your mouth treats.

Lightweight Mini-Donuts TorontoWinkfein has big ambitions for his tiny donuts. First up, he wants to build his presence in Kensington and simply enjoy the market. He chose the location for its fair-like atmosphere, and for the supportive feeling among local business owners. Lightweight will sell donuts outside during Kensington's pedestrian Sundays, as a portable snack while exploring the shops. There are also plans to sell iced coffee, locally sourced from Kensington's own Grind House, in addition to the cold pop and water that are currently available.

Winkein also wants to take his donuts beyond Kensington. He hopes to open up more locations and to provide catering services for corporate events and weddings. It's all about expanding the devoted mini-donut fan base: "I just hope people like mini-donuts as much as I do. This is a labour of love for me."

Lightweight Mini-Donuts TorontoLightweight Mini-Donuts is open 12-9 Tuesdays to Fridays, 12-7 on Saturdays, and 12-5 on Sundays.

Photos by Jimmy Lu



liz lemon / May 9, 2013 at 09:58 am
I want to go there! *drool*
AJ / May 9, 2013 at 10:10 am
Good if you don't feel like making a trek to Tiny Tom
Sarah / May 9, 2013 at 10:13 am
Finally, something to fix my Tiny Tom needs when the CNE isn't on!
LH / May 9, 2013 at 10:41 am
Tiny Tom is missing out on such a huge market here in Toronto when it's not fair season. I'd want to make money all year round.
MrsPotato / May 9, 2013 at 10:48 am
i'm so sick of those nasty huge monster donuts with bacon and crap on them.. I love these ones!!
jer / May 9, 2013 at 11:03 am
Seems similar in style to what they are serving at Little Nicky's on Peter Street (just south of Queen), curious how they compare. Even my local Longo's has a mini donut stand now!
Susan / May 9, 2013 at 11:06 am
Assuming that "12-15 on Sundays" is a typo?
BillyO replying to a comment from jer / May 9, 2013 at 11:10 am
Which Longo's is that?
AJ replying to a comment from LH / May 9, 2013 at 11:26 am
There is a Tiny Top store, but it's up in Markham.
AJ replying to a comment from AJ / May 9, 2013 at 11:26 am
Err wow, can't type today.

*Tiny Tom
Andrew / May 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm
Little Nickys donuts are pretty good
also Tiny Tom has a food truck
Sandman / May 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm
Nice to know there geographical options in TO: Tiny Tom, Little Nicky and now Lightweight!
Ladybug / May 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm
Seems kinda pricey... Tiny Toms is cheaper, and has more flavors.
Jay / May 9, 2013 at 01:20 pm
Ya I think I'm going to have to take a detour into Kensington this week.
Josh / May 9, 2013 at 01:34 pm
I've had them - they are great. I use to wait for Tiny Tom at the EX for $5 these are cheaper and right downtown easily accessible I'm so happy they opened in my neighbourhood, go Kensington!!!
JellyDonut / May 9, 2013 at 04:57 pm
There's a mini donut vendor at the Wychwood Barns farmers market every Saturday too.
Zach / May 25, 2013 at 08:42 pm
Just went there today. Highly recommend, the guy was really nice and the doughnuts...ohhh the doughnuts were great!
Sarah / July 7, 2013 at 07:54 am
Mmmmm....I can't wait to go there. I wonder why he doesn't include tea in his drink menu? There is nothing better than a fresh donut with a cup of tea.
MIKE / September 26, 2013 at 04:28 pm
Want a really good mini-donut. Try KICK-ASS DONUT CO at the Stoufville Flea Mkt. They have been there for years. They not only have the best mini-donuts but let you put on your own toppings.Like lots (no problem. No Greaseballs Here. They also have the best Deep Fried Mars Bars and world class Fresh Squeezed Lemonade. I also understand they have a mobile unit and go everywhere. / April 15, 2015 at 11:52 pm
i cried : ) (:

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