Twins Donuts: Special Order Gourmet Donuts in Burnaby, BC
Its specialty flavors are available for pre-order in limited quantities. A must for donut lovers! 🍩
The first time Leslie Grana made donuts from scratch was also around the same time she started a donut business.
The trained professional chef and Filipino immigrant had worked in the kitchens of prominent restaurants in downtown Vancouver as a sous chef, but switched gears to being a stay-at-home parent after she and his wife took in Twins.
“One day I said, ‘I’m going to have a donut shop in Vancouver,'” Grana explains.
The problem: if Grana was comfortable preparing starters and savory dishes, she was not a pastry chef by training.
But Grana knew donuts and knew that Vancouver could use another option in the category that would feature more unusual ingredients.
The idea for what is now his one-woman donut business, Twin donutsbegan to form.
On a tour of her donut-making station in the communal kitchen of Burnaby’s YVR Prep precinct, Grana tells me how she started making her sparkly fried yeast dough orbs filled with avocado cream or mousse. of strawberry cheesecake with colorful toppings.
While one of Grana’s first jobs in Canada was working the first shift at a Tim Hortons, her donut reference point dates back to her roots in the Philippines and a popular chain called J.Co. Known for flavors like “Cheese Me Up” and “Avocado Dicaprio,” Grana used the eccentricity of the J.Co brand as a touchstone when she applied her own understanding of flavor to a treat like a donut.
In January 2022, Grana was faced with returning to work but, instead, she couldn’t let go of her donut shop idea.
Inspired by a viral video of a New York woman who started a freelance business making donuts in her kitchen, Grana got to work.
She taught herself how to make a basic, simple, not-too-sweet dough, then started creating fillings.
Grana, who describes herself as not a fan of desserts, says most of her donut-eating experiences in Vancouver were unsatisfactory – the donuts were too sweet and one-note.
The chef says she wants her Twins Donuts to be the kind of treat you want to eat from start to finish because it’s not just a pure sugar experience, but a pleasure of textures and flavors.
“The best donut I’ve ever had”
The first donut created by Grana was the Leche/Dulce Flan, featuring a treat familiar to many, including the Philippines. The donut has a dulce de leche filling – sweetened condensed milk reduced to a texture close to caramel – and a piece of miniature caramel flan on top, with powdered sugar.
To launch Twins Donuts, Grana made a batch and offered them for sale on a neighborhood social media group.
His first customer told him “This is the best donut I’ve ever had.”
That was all Grana needed to get started. She set out to develop more flavors and opened up to pre-orders through social media. Capping his capacity has helped control costs and alleviate safety concerns by working in small batches from his home kitchen. Things were going so well that Grana soon realized that Twins Donuts could not continue from home; she wanted the business to grow, but she had to be in a commercial kitchen.
After reaching out to numerous facilities, Grana connected with YVR Prep, which launched in late 2017 as a food business incubator and shared kitchen space for local entrepreneurs. She had exhausted all her options, but was immediately welcomed by the facility, who accepted her on board and helped her get started – in fact, one of YVR Prep’s defining characteristics in the industry is that ‘She can offer a full range of support to new and growing food businesses.
“The hardest part is making it work,” admits Grana, who arrives early in the morning at the 24-hour police station to have her donuts made on collection days.
Emphasis is on the quality of the ingredients, the special flavors
Twins Donuts are all made to order the same day, and every component is made from scratch – every topping, every icing, and, of course, every fluffy, golden donut itself. And it’s Grana that does all the work, using carefully selected ingredients and being mindful of waste, resulting in an artisan-style product that inherently cannot compete on price with what it is. are in those little lockers at Timmies. This is also why, at this stage of the business, she cannot offer gluten-free or vegan donuts – alone in a communal kitchen, she has to focus her work on a single product and no guarantee of cross-contamination.
Twins Donuts are also superior in taste and quality to your average large donut chain, with flavors like a Nutella glazed donut with a Nutella cream cheese filling sprinkled with nuts on top, or the Avocado Krema, which includes a lightly sweetened creamy avocado filling. and white chocolate filling. Grana says avocado is often used in desserts in the Philippines, and she’s excited to introduce Metro Vancouverites to this use of the ingredient.
She’s already hard at work dreaming up other flavors, like mango, matcha and an apple-cinnamon that’s already in development.
“All I know is I make flavors. That’s all I need, my flavors and my batter.”
At present, Twins Donuts remains a pre-order and pickup operation, but Grana plans to sell at farmers’ markets and at community events to expand its reach. After that, who knows where this busy wife, mother of twins and owner of a donut shop may go – except upstairs.
Video: Take a look behind the scenes to see how Twins Donuts are made
@vancouverisawesome Watch these unique donuts being made! And ate! 🍩#forkingawesome #donuts #vancouverbc #burnabyeats ♬ I love you so much – The King Khan & BBQ Show