Spirituality

Muharram To-dos

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With the beginning of the new year, we have entered Muharram.


Let’s get in the zone, perfecting our focus and weeding out any mistakes to get some ajr in the bank.

Fasting on the day of Ashoora

The big day to prepare for is next Saturday – ‘ Ashoora ‘ the 10th of Muharram – which is rewarded with the expiation of one’s sins for the previous year.

“…fasting on the day of ‘Ashoora’, I hope Allah will expiate (the sins) for the year that came before it.” [Narrated by Muslim, 1162]

It is also the Sunnah to fast the 9th of Muharram along with the 10th. (Source)

Fast as much as you can

This is a month of fasting; in fact, it is the best month to fast after Ramadan. So, try to fast as much of it as possible.

“The best fasting after Ramadan, is the month of Allah: Muharram…” (Narrated by Muslim, 1163)

The month of Muharram is also an awesome time to make up your missed Ramadan fasts.

Whoever fasts the day of ‘Ashoora’ and also combines the intention to make up for a missed Ramadan fast, he will have two rewards: the reward for the day of ‘Ashoora’ along with the reward for making up the missed fast. [Sh. Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Fataawa al-Siyaam(438)]

Be extra careful about sins this month

Due to its sacredness, any bad deeds done during the sacred months are worse than in other months. So be extra careful and watch those eyes, ears and limbs. Guard that tongue and protect yourself from all wrongdoing.

Wrongdoing during the sacred months is more serious and incurs a greater burden of sin than in other months. (Source)

To Ponder & Reflect

The 10th of Muharram also marks the greatest day, when Allah miraculously saved Musa and his people and split the Red Sea.

Allah saved Musa (a.s) when things looked impossible and opened up the Red Sea to save Him from the greatest tyrant of all time. Ponder upon the story of Musa, his strong faith in Allah and his trust in Him.

All of us are struggling, grieving, trapped in the middle of so many different problems and we need help. To receive this Divine help, we have to make an effort! Strike the staff, use the means you’re blessed with, make an effort and dua.

Certainty in Allah takes you out of your misery and gives you ease in unimaginable ways.

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Food, Food News, Foodie Corner

Build Me Up, Butter Cup

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Your guide to frosting it ‘till you make it.


Some folks like dressing themselves up, others like dressing up desserts. Our team is a fun mix of both, and so faced with a chance to up our baking and styling game, we couldn’t say no (there may have been a promise of unlimited icing and cream too).

We got invited to an exclusive cupcake decorating workshop by Magnolia Bakery, where the noobs and pros in our team got to unleash their creativity. Here’s what we learned, thanks to their amazing chefs:

1. Buttercream formula

Pulling off a perfect buttercream, gets half your job done. It has to be fluffy, colorful, airy and spreadable.

Buttercreams can be spooned and swirled on to cakes and cupcakes in a number of ways. You can either apply it with an offset spatula or simply use a piping bag.

Tip: If the buttercream is stiff, add a bit of more milk.

2. Whip it till it hurts

It’s all about beating well and incorporating enough air till it becomes fluffy airy and smooth. Your frosting should be like toothpaste. That’s the ideal consistency to easily swoosh the frosting on each cupcake.

3. Let it fall like a teardrop

That’s the case at Magnolia Bakery, where that scooped swirl is so uniquely handcrafted without using a piping bag. 

Use an offset spatula to scoop up some frosting and gracefully dab the frosting onto the cupcake, rotating the cake as you dab it. Coordinate your dab and cupcake turns. The buttercream will slide off the spatula in a teardrop-like shape and it will form a plateau of icing on top as you turn the cupcake

4. Twist it like Beckham

Dab the frosting from the top smooth it out. Using your spatula’s end, press down starting on the outside edge and applying even pressure while swirling towards the center. This gives the frosting that perfect swooped fancy look at the end. If you are using a piping bag, hold the bag in your hand at the fold – this will give you the best support when you spoon your frosting! Attach your frosting tip of choice and you’re ready to fill your bag with frosting!

5. Sprinkle your sparkle 

When your love of sprinkles equals your love of frosting, use this method. Once you have topped your cupcake with a scoop of icing, all you have to do is sprinkle or dip the whole top into a bowl of your favorite sprinkles

Location: Magnolia Bakery, Fiorenzza Plaza

Instagram: @magnoliabakeryksa

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Food, Foodie Corner

Classy Desserts made easy

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Who says fancy can’t be easy?


We are keeping it easy and do-able so that you don’t look at a recipe and go like – I can’t make these. Which is why instead of elaborated classic recipes, we are making these fun. Try these out for your Eid celebrations this year!

1. Pineapple soufflé

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The combination of juicy, fresh pineapples with delicious whipped cream melts in the mouth. Throw all the ingredients in a blender and whir until mixed. Try this easy peasy summer recipe.

2. Tiramisu

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The shortcut version of an otherwise elaborate classic tiramisu recipe. This Easy Tiramisu is a no-bake dessert ready in minutes using just the cream instead of the cooked custard! Simply dip the biscuits fingers in coffee, and layer the cream and chocolate up and enjoy.

3. Coconut Jelly

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Not only do these jellies have that delicate, lightly-sweetened coconut thing going on, but they’re one of the most striking desserts I’ve ever seen. When cooling, the jelly separates into two distinct layers.

4. Cheesecake

This no bake cake can come together in less than 20 minutes. Plus, you can just store it in the fridge ‘till you’re ready to serve.

5. Chocolate Truffles

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Prepare to lose all self-control and stuff yourselves!

These chocolate truffles are a deliciously simple and rich bite-sized petit four, requiring simple methods, 2 ingredients and no fancy equipment! Made by heating a creamy mixture of chocolate and cream, the ganache is balled up and dunked into melted chocolate, cocoa or your favorite finely chopped nut.

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Spirituality

Protecting Your Children the Sunnah Way

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The last thing most mothers want after giving birth are curious eyes hoping for a glimpse of the happy scene. (Ain’t nobody got time for dat).


Many parents go underground right after giving birth and abandon their social life. What they fear is that someone might give their baby an evil eye (aka Ayn) and they want to try and protect him/her from harm. Relax, no one’s asking you to show your adorable little miracle off to the world like Simba in The Lion King.

It’s absolutely okay to be overcautious and protective. But the thing is, you can not keep your children under your 24-hour surveillance. The only 24/7 protection your child has is Allah. You, as a parent may nourish your children but Allah is their Guardian.

Here’s what you should be doing:

1. Seek Refuge

The Prophet (PBUH) used to seek refuge with Allah for his grandsons Hasan and Husayn and he said: “Your father (Ibraaheem) used to seek refuge with (these words) for Ismaa‘eel and Ishaaq by saying:screenshot-2017-08-17-12-00-42A‘oodhu bi kalimaat Illaahi’t-taammah min kulli shaytaanin wa haammah wa min kulli ‘aynin laammah

“I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from every devil and every vermin, and from every bad eye” [Bukhari 3371]

Also ringing up your kids with the daily morning/evening supplications is very essential. (See link)

2. Safeguard

It is also recommended to recite Surah al-Ikhlaas and al-Mu‘awwidhatayn (Surah An-Nas and Al-Falaq) over them and to wipe their bodies whilst reciting, or to recite them into one’s hands and blow (spitting lightly) in them, then wipe them over whatever of their body one can reach, or to recite them into water and wipe them or wash them with it.

3. The power of a parent’s prayer

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Do you know a parent’s dua is among the three prayers that are undoubtedly answered? [Ibn Maajah 3862].

So make dua for your children and ask Allah to protect them.

4. Saying BarakAllah

There’s this misconception that saying Masha Allah repels evil eye. The Sunnah is that if a person admires something that he has and owns then he should say Masha Allah, just as in the story of the companion of the two gardens (See Surah Al-Kahf, 39)

And If he sees it in other than himself, then the right way according to the Sunnah is to ask Allah to bless the person or object. (Saheeh hadith)

So it’s recommended to say Barakallahu Alaihi (May Allah bless it for him/her), BarakAllahu feek (May Allah bless you) and BarakAllahu feeh (May Allah bless her/him).

5. Keeping children indoors at Maghrib

This is not a myth! OK now don’t freak out also.

The Prophet (PBUH) has actually advised us against letting our young out at sunset and only for a period just after sunset in authentic authoritative narrations.

6. Social media bug

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With this latest trend to blur or masking just the face of the child with little hearts or other shapes on social media, I cannot help but ask, why post any photos at all? Your social media contacts can still see you have a baby and that it’s healthy and cute (C’mon, all babies are cute!) and the blurring is not serving anyone any good.

7. After all the above, trust!

We are taught to tie the camel securely and then put our trust in Allah.

Parents are not supposed to blind fold themselves and completely abandon their children’s wellbeing. After taking necessary steps, a person should have firm belief that Allah will take care of their children and the one who places someone in Allah’s protection, they will indeed be protected. We should be conscious of the reality of the evil eye but at the same time we shouldn’t be quick to accuse people of doing it as well.

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Art

Busybook For Busy Bees

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Give yourself the gift of quiet time while helping your little one build skills at home and on-the-go.


If you thought interruption free alone time without your little one at your feet was an impossible mission — let us introduce you to Nabiha Ismail Wangde.

Nabiha’s Treasures and Treats began when she wanted to curate her daughter’s experience by customizing her own book.

Where did you get the idea to make busy books? How did it all start?

My daughter was born in 2009. When she was 6 months old, I came across a book ‘ Creative Play for your baby’ which had inspiration for creating handmade toys for your little ones. I sewed a felt hen by hand for my daughter using the pattern from that book and wanted to sew a chick for it too. A search on the Internet opened up a mesmerizing new world of handmade toys and activities for kids, including busy books. I made my first 2 busy books for my daughter, which would totally keep her occupied for hours on end.

Whoever saw them loved them and asked where I got them from, from friends and relatives to flight attendants during our travels! I soon made several more personalized busy books for my sister and friends. At the same time I also started making busy bags & Montessori-inspired activities for my daughter. When I realized that this was a niche that had not been tapped in Riyadh or even KSA for that matter, I decided to test out a few products as a trial. The response was very encouraging and that led to me starting my page on Facebook- ‘Nabiha’s Treasures & Treats’

Can you explain the process of creating one of these busy books?

I offer custom orders for those who want to personalize their busy books with their child’s names and also with activities that are suited to their child’s fine motor skills and what they like in terms of themes. Customers usually either tell me the exact pages that they want e.g. tying shoelaces, buttoning apples onto a tree, zipping a handbag etc. and I make and assemble them all together, or they tell me about the kinds of activities they want e.g. zipping, Velcro, buckle and what their child’s passions are like cars, dinosaurs, rainbows etc and then I incorporate them all into activities for the different pages.

Are the books and materials child-friendly?

The busy books are mainly made of good quality acrylic felt that does not pill or rip easily and sometimes even wool felt. I ensure that all the pieces, especially buttons, are sewn on very firmly. However, as with any other toy, I always advise parents to supervise and guide the child at all times while they are interacting with the busy books.

The busy books are a representation of a kid’s childhood that they’ll appreciate later on, in addition to being an incredibly distracting tool during road trips.

Facebook: /NabihaTreasuresTreats

Instagram: nabihas_treasures_and_treats

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Food, Online Magazine, Showdown

Love is in the Air (fryer)

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It’s time to trick your sambosas and fries.


Major confession time – we are HUGE fried food addicts. Put us in front of some hot fries, a plate of sambosas, fried chicken and you’ll make us weak at the knees.

So we got an air fryer, a unique kitchen gadget that enables you to indulge your taste buds without wrecking your diet. The Air-fryer combines fast circulating hot air with a grill that cooks the food with a little bit of oil.

Just a little oil and you are good to go.

  1. Good Ol’ Fries

Best tasting fries with just a teaspoon of oil? Oh boy, that’s a very lofty claim to make! So yes, I was very skeptical about the results… That is, until I actually made it.

They turned out to be delicious and crispy. Enjoy!

Tip: Store-bought frozen fries can be thrown straight into the Airfryer or you can make them from scratch.
DR tip: Add a little spice and gorgeous color to the fries! Toss ‘em in a delicious spicy mix: Paprika, garlic powder, cornstarch, salt and pepper.

  1. Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

These drumsticks were done in 30 minutes, from start to finish.

I was extremely impressed with how evenly the chicken was fried, and how effortless it was.

Tip: Marinate the chicken before hand.
DR tip: Dunk these in guacamole for more flavor.

  1. Sambosas and Spring Rolls

These are supposedly a must on every iftar table. But keeping the oil control in mind, we decided to go for the air-fried goodness.

They are quick and crispy without all the fat from oil. This low-fat snack is sure to satisfy your craving.

  1. Fish Fingers

Perk these up with some garlic, spices and just a little brushing of oil. The fingers turn out crispy and can be enjoyed with your favorite dip.

  1. Quick Mixed Vegetable Tempura

This no-fuss treat is great for nibbles and is a delicious twist (fake, ahem!) on traditional tempura.

Use whatever seasonal vegetables you have. I have tried it with zucchini, carrots, bean and cauliflower and it turned out to be a great tummy pleaser.

Tip: Just flip over once if needed.

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Activities

Mafi Malum No More!

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“Malesh, ana mafi ma3lum 3rabi,” (Sorry, I don’t know Arabic) is the most common phrase used by the non-Arabs/expats when someone tries to converse with them in Arabic. 


The difference in language is the most obvious barrier for communication between locals and expats living in Saudi and not speaking Arabic can result in hysterical and frustrating miscommunication stories. Not to forget that Arabic is the most praised and singled out languages of the world in Islam. Learning the language is also the starting point of a life long journey with the Qur’an so that you understand, implement and live by it without being dependent on the translation.

Allah says,

“We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an, in order that you may gain understanding.” (Quran, 12:2).

Umar (may God be pleased with him) said, “Learn Arabic for it is a part of your deen.” (Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 2/207)

Here are the institutes/centers in Riyadh where you can take Arabic language classes from

1. King Saud University’s – Arabic Linguistics Institute (ALI)

This intensive language program is for both male and female non-Arab students. The program targets scholarship students and gives them a diploma upon successfully completing the intensive Arabic program. Their objective is to develop students’ writing and speaking abilities at the advanced level.

Fees: Free

FB: /ArabicLinguisticsInstitute

Twitter: @ALIKSU

2. Imam Saud University’s – The Institute of Teaching Arabic 

The Institute of Teaching Arabic in Riyadh at Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University welcomes learners from different nationalities to study Arabic language courses in two sessions for male and female students each during the day. The morning program is for women while the evening program is or men.

Fees

Male: SR 400, for each semester.

Females: SR 300, for each semester.

No Age Limit (Adults only)

Location: Gate 12, Building 322 @ Imam Saud University

FB: The Institute Of Teaching Arabic In Riyadh

Twitter: ImamArabic

3. Princess Noura University
PNU is one of the largest women-only universities of the world and has been providing education to both Arabs and non-Arabs.

PNU has the vision to become an international leader in teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speakers. The 6-week course offers academic, training, and research programs to non-Arabic speakers. The institute offers a higher diploma in Arabic language and its graduates will be qualified to join any other course at PNU except faculties of health.

Fees

Test Fee: SR 100

Course Fee: SR 1500

Age limit: Some of the programs have age limit and some don’t

Location: From station A10 – Building #260

Website: pnu.edu.sa

Twitter: @arabicteaching

4. Yanabee’a al Jinan Institution 

Yanabee’a Al Jinan is a growing community center set up to infuse the beautiful teachings of Islam into the lives of people individually and in society as a whole. Among the various Islamic courses offered, Arabic is also one of them.

A special program to learn Arabic grammar has been recently introduced this year. Classes every Thursday.

Fees: SR 100 for Arabic course only. One day per week.

No Age Limit (Adults only)

Location: Ibn Abi Al Afiyah st., Rawdah

FB: /yanabeealjinan

IG: @ yanabee_aljinan_riversofjannah 

5. Dar Adh Dhikr

This women-only institute teaches classical Arabic along with memorization and understanding of the Qur’an. Some basic Islamic studies classes are also taught to learn the pillars of Islam properly according to Quran and Sunnah.

It’s a 4-month course, which usually starts from the mid of Shawwal, and then mostly from February to June. Dar also has short Summer classes during June/July.

Fees:

SR 200 per term

No age limit (Adults only)

Location:  Qays Ibn Al Mulawwah, Sulimaniyah

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Ramadan, Spirituality

Mega Reward Offer: Fasting for the Entire Year!

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Before you freak out and close this page, let me tell you:

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“A person who performs fasting in Ramadan and then adds six more days in Shawwal is regarded as if he has performed fasting in the whole year (in terms of reward).” [Muslim 204 (1164)]


Now most of us would say, I’m happy just to have got Ramadan in the bank! That is fine as fasting six days of Shawwal after the obligatory fast of Ramadan is Sunnah, not wajib. However, it is recommended for the Muslim to fast six days of Shawwal, and in this, there is a great virtue and an immense reward. So why miss the opportunity?

The reward for fasting the six days:

“Allah has made for each good deed ten like it, so a month is like fasting ten months, and fasting six days completes the year.” (Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah).

Let’s solve the equation:

1ry70t

 

Another important benefit of fasting six days of Shawwal is that it makes up for any shortcoming in a person’s obligatory Ramadan fasts because no one is free of shortcomings or sins that have a negative effect on his fasting.

Isn’t that fair enough now to take benefit of this?

There is difference of opinion on whether you should complete any missed fasts of Ramadan before fasting the six of Shawwal. Some scholars say that you have to make up the missed fasts of Ramadan first as that’s what the deal is all about. On the other hand, other scholars have said that if there are too many and it will push you over, then fast 6 days of Shawwal first. And Allah knows best. This is more applicable to women than men (as men typically have no fasts to make up).

Tip: Pick up a bonus of fasting the 13th, 14th and 15th of Shawwal which are the “three white days” of the month. Combine those intentions and maximize that reward!

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Online Magazine, Ramadan, Spirituality

Ramadan Checkpoints

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Because food is just one part of Ramadan.


1. Fast with sincerity.

If we do not know why we are doing certain things, we can easily miss the point behind the action itself.

“There may be people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there may be those who pray qiyaam and get nothing from their qiyaam but a sleepless night.” (Ibn Maajah)

2. Stand up for your success.

There are five opportunities for redemption every day, if you’re blessed to be alive. Muster up your lazy self and start praying. We have all heard hadiths about the importance of prayer, haven’t we? It’s never too late to star

3. Sabr it!

Fasting is not just day without food and drink. Use Ramadan as a training ground against greed, impatience and harsh words. If controlling our words were easy, we’d never be promised Paradise for doing it. Think about it!

“Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it and ignorant conduct, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” (Bukhari)

4. Share your blessings.

Buy less food this Ramadan and give the extra food and money to the poor and needy.

5. Be grateful.

Witnessing Ramadan is a blessing that deserves major gratitude. Remember it’s a month-long gift from the Almighty. Don’t waste it.

“By Allah, if it were said to the inhabitants of the graves, ‘Wish’, they would indeed wish for a day from Ramadan.” – Ibn al-Jawzi

6. Mend fences.

Reach out, repair bridges and share a meal together. Stop waiting for an apology and be the first to make things right.

7. Give.

Find it in your heart to give wholeheartedly. Remember no one has ever become poor by giving. Give a smile, a helping hand, a good word to lift someone’s spirits, food for the needy, money or anything else within your means.

8. Don’t mock others.

For many, Ramadan is the beginning of a major turning point. Don’t mock them for starting their journey towards Allah, it’s never too late to start.

9. Ignore the detours.

Don’t let your sins bog you down. Allah doesn’t care about the quantity of your sins, He cares about the quality of your repentance.

One supplication to really focus on this Ramadan:

“O Allah, help me remember You, to be grateful to You, and to worship You in an excellent manner.” (Abu Dawud)

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Food, Online Magazine, Showdown

Doughnut Worry, Be Happy!

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Here’s a round round-up for all you Homer Simpsons of Riyadh.


Whether glazed, sprinkled, or stuffed doughnuts — we have stuffed our faces happy. We know, it’s such a sacrifice. D’oh.

1. Dip’in

If you’re looking for an experience, this is the place for you. They have the most diverse selection and the quality to rival it. This local gem deserves our stamp of approval.

2. House of Donuts

House of Donuts reminds us of our childhood days when they used to be the leading doughnut café. I guess we prefer their mini doughnuts more.

3. Tim Hortons Café and Bakeshop

Their doughnuts are delicious. The glazed is similar to Krispy Kreme but seems very doughy when you bite in to it. We highly recommend the Nutella doughnuts – it’s the best one at Tim Hortons.

  • Glazed
    Tastes nice but very doughy and heavy.
  • Deep Chocolate
    How can one go wrong with chocolate?! Loved it.
  • Nutella-Filled
    A pretty looking flower shaped doughnut – especially for anyone craving a perfect Nutella fix. It’s frosted with chocolate and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts with a blob of pure Nutella in the center.

4. Dunkin’ Donuts

We have a feeling their quality dropped, no? We were disappointed by the strange dry texture. However, we liked the Vanilla Sprinkles more than any.

  • Choco Frosted
    Meh! It wasn’t as fluffy and melty as we remembered it to be.
  • Vanilla Marble
    It was just OK. We didn’t quite like the frosting though.
  • Boston Kreme
    This one was good. Creamy filling and covered in a nice layer of chocolate glaze.
  • Vanilla Sprinkles
    Pretty to look at, and probably a real hit with the kids. Best one to go for if you like vanilla glazed donuts. What a relief to know Dunkin’ Donuts isn’t all bad.

5. Caribou

  • All we can say is, Caribou has much better coffee than doughnuts. Chocolate Doughnuts
    Not satisfying.

6. Dr. Cafe

Just ok.

  • Chocolate Glazed
    The Chocolate Glazed were better than House of Donuts and Dunkin’ donuts offers.

7. Krispy Kreme

They are literally the BEST in town. Absolutely smitten by their chocolate glazed and stuffed Boston Cream doughnuts.

  • Original Glazed
    The mother of all Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Soft and oh-so-sweet.
  • Chocolate Iced Glazed
    The star of the show! Cloud-like texture that melts in the mouth.
  • Krispy Kreme Nutella
    It’s chock-full of sweet chocolate-hazelnutty vibes.
  • Chocolate Iced Custard Filled
    Sure to satisfy all the Boston Cream Pie lovers out there.
  • Chocolate Dream Cake
    As dreamy as its name, if your dreams are filled with chocolate.
  • Glazed Sour Cream
    With a pastry denser than the regular doughnut (much like a cake), this rich and moist doughnut is topped with Original Glaze. While most of us loved this one, the question in the air: Is it a cake or a doughnut?

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