Delicious and nostalgic, all at once!
Donettes"? I found traces of the name Donette Gems online, which reassures me that I am not insane or mistaking one product from another. But I found no answers as to when the "Gems" was dropped.
I suppose it makes sense. You don't really need both "Donette" and "Gems" in the same name. Gems implies something small and precious, but so does Donette. It seems redundant to call these small doughnuts both names, particularly since there was no such thing as a regular old Donette. It isn't as if they needed to distinguish Donettes from Donette Gems.
Only occasionally are you able to find Donettes in a vending machine. They are the stuff of convenience stores and gas stations, much like rotating hot dogs and fountain drinks. Donettes come in three varieties: powdered, chocolate covered, and crumb cake. Of the three, crumb cake is far and away my favorite, even though it is the second messiest to eat.
The #1 messiest is, obviously, powdered. Who eats these? And how? It's impossible. They are slightly too large and far too dry to eat all in one bite. You have to bite it in half, an act which sends a cascade of powdered sugar down across your shirt. God help you if you cough when you're eating it, choking on the powdered sugar. It gets everywhere.
The chocolate covered ones are pretty good, but a bit waxy for my taste. However, they have the advantage of not leaving crumbs all over the place. Although they make up for this by leaving your fingers oddly greasy, which can be off-putting.
What I like about the crumb Donettes (technically named "Crunch") is that the crumb coating has a coconut flavor to it. It's like a Chik-O-Stix, plus a doughnut. The crumbs are an unfortunate side effect. But it's fun to pour the last of them from the wrapper straight into your mouth. (Not that I would ever do something as unladylike as that. Oh my, no.)
You can buy these doughnuts in their full size versions. These assortments are usually found at grocery stores, although sometimes the better class of convenience store will stock them. They frankly just aren't as good as the smaller version. Something about the larger size throws the ratio of flavors off. And they seem crass at that size, whereas the smaller ones are snack size. The little ones are all about road trips and morning commutes and dead-end jobs where the fluorescent lights buzz in the employee break room. Delicious and nostalgic, all at once!