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Sweet Memories Inspire 7-Eleven's New Doughnuts

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven is introducing a richer, fudgier icing for its chocolate-covered doughnuts -- developed by Joe Hermes, the company's senior fresh foods director for baked goods, who drew his inspiration from his childhood visits to Wohlleb's Bakery in Louisville, Ky.

Founded in 1919, Wohlleb's Bakery was a Louisville institution for more than 90 years and influenced Hermes' decision to enter the bakery business. As an adult, Hermes ran his own independent bakery, worked in bakery operations for a national grocery retailer and for Dawn Food Products, a commercial baking supplies company. He joined 7-Eleven to head up the company's fresh bakery and pastry program whereby stores order daily and receive overnight sweets and morning treats. The fresh-made products are prepared every day of the year by third-party experts in bakery facilities where 7-Eleven has a concentration of convenience stores, according to the convenience retailer.

When it came time to pump up the chain's ever-popular chocolate-covered doughnuts, Hermes remembered the indulgent chocolate icing at Wohlleb's Bakery and worked to find a similar recipe. He approached 7-Eleven's bakery partners across the country about creating a richer, more decadent chocolate icing for the doughnuts.

The son of the Wohlleb's Bakery founder went to work for Bessear Co., which commercialized the icing from his dad's shop, and was purchased by Dawn Foods in the 1980s. The professionals at Dawn recognized the winning chocolate icing recipe and kept it in their files. The first round of icing entries to 7-Eleven numbered in the hundreds -- and one of Dawn's submissions was the Wohlleb Bakery recipe.

Dozens of taste tests resulted in the Wohlleb recipe being selected the winner. Although flavor was critically important, texture, melting point and appearance also were taken into account. The Wohlleb recipe consistently rose to the top, according to 7-Eleven.

"This is a pre-eminent chocolate icing, and is one of Dawn's premium products," Hermes said in a statement. "We tweaked the recipe a little to make it smoother, but the taste is just as delicious as I remember it from the local bakery on 36th and Broadway."

Although Wohlleb's Bakery has long been closed, the family's famous chocolate icing will continue to delight customers who purchase chocolate-covered doughnuts from participating 7-Eleven stores' bakery case. The new doughnuts are available in the 4,800 U.S. and 400 Canadian 7-Eleven stores that carry fresh-made-daily baked goods.

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