The chocolate-iced riff on a Cronut at Unique Bakery (9557 Braddock Rd., Fairfax; 703-426-7202) is buttery but somehow feather-light. The walnut variety is a close runner-up.
At Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (1308 G St., NW; 202-809-5565), our favorite offering is the creme brûlée doughnut, piped with vanilla-bean-flecked custard and finished with a torched-to-order sugar crust.
There are many flavors of jelly doughnuts—the most underrated species of doughnut—at Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe (2150 N. Culpeper St., Arlington; 703-527-8394), but the standout is the German-style bakery’s sugared, apricot-filled treat.
WTF (1426 H St., NW; 202-347-5355) dips its old-school cake doughnut in bourbon simple syrup, then coats it in cinnamon sugar.
Equal parts dessert and breakfast, the butterscotch-pudding-filled round at GBD (1323 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-524-5210) is finished with coffee glaze and brown-sugar streusel.
The best offering at District Doughnut (749 Eighth St., SE; 202-817-3166) takes its inspiration from a cannoli, trading a pastry shell for yeast dough and filling it with chocolate-chip ricotta.
At the hot-dog shop Bold Bite (4901-B Fairmont Ave., Bethesda, 301-951-2653; Union Station, 202-682-2653), the coconut-topped Samoa doughnut is an homage to the chocolate-caramel Girl Scout cookie of the same name.
Bacon desserts usually call to mind something you’d pick up at a boutique pet shop. Not so the maple-glazed confections laden with slivers of porky goodness at Sugar Shack (804 N. Henry St., Alexandria; 703-577-9023).