It is always inspirational when I meet someone who is genuinely passionate about what they do for a living—energized by their day-to-day work, always looking to improve, and fulfilled by the contribution they make on their community and the world around them.
And while traveling, it is especially intriguing to find such a person in the culinary world—whipping up treats that send the taste buds into a frenzy. And that is exactly what, or rather who, I found in rural Ravalli, Montana.
Along highway US-93, 35 miles north of Missoula is the Windmill Village Bakery. It is run by the bright-eyed Nancy Martin and her devoted husband, David. Road tripping through Montana this spring with my fellow Expedia Viewfinder bloggers we stopped to visit the pair and sample Nancy’s masterpieces for ourselves.
When we arrived, Nancy was right in the middle of preparing a batch of her signature glazed donuts. She let me sneak behind the counter to take a closer look. I watched as thick rounds of yellow dough were dunked into scalding oil, left to cook to a golden brown, and set out on a cooling rack. Ready on an adjacent counter was a big silver bowl filled with a white, gluey glaze. Each nude donut went in, one after the next, with a plop and came out dripping with a sinful layer of sugary goo.
And with no more waiting, it was time for me to choose my own donut—still warm and sticky. As my teeth sunk into my first bite, and glaze covered my lips it was pleasure, instantly.
Nancy has a secret. It’s the recipe passed down to her from her mother for glazed donuts. These are not your average corner bakery treats. They are, first of all, humongous. The dough is both dense and light at the same time with a hint of a sourdough taste complimented by the sweet glaze that is at once flaky and sticky. You must check out my video to meet Nancy yourself and learn her surprising secret ingredient.
Viewfinder Tip: If you are headed to The Windmill Village Bakery in Montana be sure to arrive before 11 a.m. or you might miss the donuts.
While Nancy’s donuts attract people from far and wide, so do her other creations. They include chewy cookies, berry muffins, gigantic cinnabuns, and traditional pies. For holidays like Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, and you name it, locals order her pies of all variety—huckleberry, pumpkin, apple, and more.
Nancy has been at this for over a decade, ever since her husband, David, built the bakery from the ground up 13 years ago. His goal was to make it feel like an old European train depot. After all, trains do whip by throughout the day, on the tracks just on the far side of the road. And the bakery is named for the old windmill that sits across a large pond in view of the outdoor patio. Here one can sit with their treat and a coffee, and take in this remote Montana perch.
If I lived anywhere near this bakery, I would be in trouble—Nancy’s passion for baking and her sugary sweets would be extremely hard to resist.
What is your favorite confection and where do you get it?