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 We Have Doughnuts and The Heavenly Donut Co. While I was in Chicago earlier this year, I broke with form, skipped the cupcake shops, and headed to two different doughnut shops: Glazed and Infused and Doughnut Vault. In New York, much the same--I skipped my beloved Milk Bar and sought out the much-talked-about Doughnut Plant 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 menu, 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.

Sour Cream DoughnutsThe 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

Credit: Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Mindi Shapiro

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