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Matthews family takes on ‘the doughnut dash’

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  • Your Mom’s Donuts

    Prices range from $15 for a half-dozen to a dozen for $24, delivered within a 10-mile radius; deliveries farther away are possible with a $10 gas fee.

    For the weekly flavors or to place orders, go to Your Moms Donuts on Facebook, or www.yourmomsdonuts.com, or call 803-280-5720. Delivery orders must be received by 4 p.m. the day before.


  • Your Mom’s Donut Bread Pudding

    One thing about making doughnuts: You end up with a lot of leftovers. Courtney Buckley and Benjamin Frye make this when they have extras.

    7 cups toasted doughnut pieces, cut in 1-inch pieces

    2 cups heavy cream

    2 cups whole milk

    4 ounces melted butter

    4 cups sugar

    8 eggs

    2 tablespoons vanilla extract

    2 teaspoons nutmeg

    2 teaspoons salt

    TOAST doughnut cubes if they aren’t already stale and place in a resealable bag once cooled.

    COMBINE cream, milk and butter. Combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt and whisk in the milk mixture.

    POUR mixture into the bag with the cubed doughnuts, press out air and refrigerate. Refrigerate for an hour, turning once.

    PREHEAT the oven to 300 degrees and place a roasting pan on the center rack. Pour in heated water from a kettle to create a water bath.

    BUTTER a loaf pan and pour the bag of soaked doughnut cubes into the pan, gently pressing down. Place in the water bath and bake for an hour or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

    COOL and slice into 8-12 slices.

    HEAT a sauté pan or skillet with 1 tablespoon butter and pan-fry the slices on both sides until golden brown. Garnish to taste with butter, honey, powered sugar, jam or apple butter.


  • Doughnuts vs. donuts

    What was the hardest thing about writing this story? Deciding on doughnut vs. donut.

    Doughnut is the spelling preferred by most dictionaries, including the Oxford English Dictionary, which dates the word to 1809 in New York: “An enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks.”

    But Courtney Buckley says their company name, Your Mom’s Donuts, started as a joke: She and her siblings used to do “Your Mom” jokes about their own mother.

    Once she and Benjamin Frye picked the name, she says, they had to go with “Donuts” because it seemed to fit with the homey, American style of “Mom.”

    Kathleen Purvis



At 6:05 a.m. on a Friday, on a side street in Matthews, not even the birds are awake. But Courtney Buckley is trying to wrestle a squawking toddler into her car seat in the dark while safely sliding four white bakery boxes into the back of her Subaru Forester.

The car doesn’t even hit the end of the driveway before it fills with the smell of doughnuts. Fresh, warm doughnuts from Your Mom’s Donuts, just finished at 2 a.m. by Buckley’s partner, Benjamin Frye, who’s inside the house catching a few hours of sleep.

There might be easier ways to make a living. But getting up before dawn to deliver doughnuts? Pretty sweet.

“It’s a real family business,” Buckley jokes, putting a kiddie video of puppets on her iPhone and jamming it under the car headrest where 13-month-old Violet can see it. Pretty soon, Violet has stopped crying and is happily waving her hand to the music.

Still, with a nursing baby, a fiance who works all night to make fresh doughnuts and a business that took off so fast that they didn’t have time to make a plan, Buckley, 28, is working harder than she ever dreamed.

“I don’t know how I function,” she admits, starting a morning of deliveries. “God is good. I found out I can function on broken sleep.”

Who wants doughnuts?

Yes, there is a business in Charlotte that will come to your house or office – as long as it’s within 10 miles of Matthews or the bake shop on Clanton Road – and bring you fresh, hot doughnuts. Fresh, hot doughnuts made with mostly local, sustainable ingredients.

OK, this is not a cheap indulgence. It’s $15 for a half-dozen or $24 for a dozen. But they are big doughnuts, easily as big as a big man’s palm. (They’re square, by the way, not round: “We wanted to be different,” Buckley says. “Round doughnuts are the chains, and that’s not us.”)

A lot of their customers are around SouthPark, but there are plenty in less swank areas.

Last Friday, Buckley had to be at a South Boulevard apartment building by 6:45 a.m. to deliver to Haley Erb, a new kindergarten teacher who took a half-dozen to work to thank two veteran teachers who had helped her.

Another delivery was at a warehouse on Atando Avenue where Joe Floyd builds those rolling cases they use to transport music equipment. He got a dozen delivered at work on Friday and a half-dozen at home on Saturday.

“I found out (Doughnut Chain X) were frozen and I don’t want to eat that,” Floyd said, paying Buckley while Violet crawled on the floor of his office.

“A lot of our customers definitely care about their ingredients,” Buckley says. “You should be able to have a treat and not worry about junk in your food.”

Down on the farm

Buckley and Frye are part of the new class of young entrepreneurs who want to make food in a different way. They were both fans of farming and sustainable food who were just looking for a way to live their beliefs.

Frye was a culinary graduate at Johnson & Wales University who knew he wanted to do something with food, but he really loved being around farms. Buckley was a former food-service worker and horse trainer who bounced around the country before she followed a sister here.

In 2010, they were both working as farm food brokers, gathering produce and selling it to local restaurants, when Charlotte chef Mark Jacksina decided they belonged together, Buckley remembers.

“He gave him my phone number and said, ‘She’s selling more than you.’ 

They tried farming on leased land, but it wasn’t working out. So they moved to Matthews and started looking for a niche.

At lunch in the Plaza Midwood area one day, they realized there weren’t any great desserts – and no doughnut restaurants that weren’t chains.

“Charlotte needs doughnuts,” Buckley says. “Doughnuts are good.”

They leased space in a commercial kitchen on Clanton Road and started figuring out how to make doughnuts using mostly local ingredients. When it’s available, they use flour from North Carolina-grown wheat. They use eggs from Bell’s Best in Monroe, butter and cream from Homeland Dairy, strawberries from Bush-N-Vine.

They fry them using lard they render themselves from hogs raised by Wild Turkey Farms, and bacon – yes, they have done a bacon and beer doughnut – they cured from heritage-breed pigs they raised.

After starting the business in October, they started experimenting with flavors, using Frye’s culinary background. Only one was a total flop, he says: They tried to do a savory doughnut with bacon onion jam.

“That was just wrong,” he says.

They announce their flavors each week on Facebook, and they stop taking orders as soon as they sell out. Most weeks, they hit their limit of 25 to 30 dozen in a couple of days.

Since Frye is working all night frying and glazing, Buckley has taken to the road, Violet in tow, to do the deliveries.

“We’re just holding on to our hats and running for it right now,” she says.

Branching out

Business is good enough that they’re opening their own shop. They’ve leased a space on Monroe Road near N.C. 51 that’s just a few minutes from their house. They expect to open in late June or early July.

Then they’ll hire more help and increase delivery hours. They’re expanding already though, adding a stand at the Matthews Community Market that opens next week.

But their lives won’t slow down that much: Buckley has already decided that the deliveries won’t stop.

They didn’t intend to do them, she says. Originally, they planned to just sell doughnuts to coffee shops and restaurants. But now it’s gotten so popular, she can’t say no.

“It’s such a niche market that we will keep doing it. Oh my gosh, what’s better than being in your PJs and having fresh, hot doughnuts arrive at your door?”

Purvis: 704-358-5236
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