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Min Cha makes the mochi donuts at Golden Crown, all with a classic mochi base. A variety of toppings, from ube to Fruity Pebbles, adds zing to the pretty treats. PHOTO BY MADISON SIMMONS.

On paper, Golden Crown sells cookies, mochi donuts, and bubble tea from a stylish, highly Instagrammable strip mall storefront in North Richland Hills.

But really? Actually? Golden Crown sells delight.

The place opened two months ago, but the married ownership team of David and Min Cha know the scene. They owned a donut shop in Keller for 13 years but wanted to trade in the up-before-the-sun schedule for something a little more family-friendly.

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David wanted to sell cookies — big, fancifully flavored, delicious cookies. Min wanted to sell mochi donuts — social media darlings that have finally caught on in Texas after creating a buzz in Hawaii and L.A. The Chas compromised and decided to open up a shop with both. For extra flair, they added bubble tea to the menu.

Gazing into the case of brightly colored, elaborately decorated donuts and cookies, I was high with anticipation.

Much thought went into my selections. The flavors change out weekly and always feature a mixture of classics and more experimental offerings.

David Cha focuses on the cookies at Golden Crown, coming up with a dizzying array of flavors, from classic chocolate chip to apple pie.
PHOTO BY MADISON SIMMONS.

For cookies, I went with a classic, chocolate chip, plus tiramisu and strawberry cream cheese, the last two ordered based on aesthetics alone. The tiramisu had a stylish cocoa dusting, and the strawberry cream cheese was deep red with a creamy-looking center.

For donuts, I picked ube (purple yam), lemon, and coffee, letting the bright colors guide my choices. All of the selections had a different glaze but the same plain mochi base. I added a matcha bubble tea for good measure.

David said the teas pair particularly well with the donuts, and he was correct. Mine was creamy and not too sweet with just enough of that grassy, nutty green-tea flavor. Though you can order it without the signature chewy tapioca pearls, please don’t.

Now to comprehend mochi donuts, please first erase all donut-related memories and expectations from your mind. Mochi donuts are shaped in a ring and fried but otherwise have little in common with their traditional counterparts. The rice flour lends them an unusual texture — soft, yes, but also pleasantly chewy. As far as flavor, they are lightly, faintly sweet. If donuts are a smothering bear hug of sweetness, mochi donuts are a warm smile.

They are not yeasted, so the flavor comes from the rice flour itself. Understated, refined, delicious — they have the type of flavor that has you finishing one faster than you would have expected and reaching for another. They are not encased in a glaze. Instead, the top is dunked into the icing, adding a bright little layer of flavor. Of the three varieties, the coffee stood out the most, hitting the right balance of bitter and sweet.

The cookies are massive, palm-sized affairs. The chocolate chip had just the right amount of crisp exterior, contrasting with a center that was chewy and (delightfully) a little bit gooey. The chocolate was high quality, bittersweet, and plentiful.

I was suspicious of the more fanciful flavor combinations. When it comes to desserts, my palate shies away from the overly sweet. Well, Golden Crown has the cookies for me, complex and thoughtful and just sweet enough.

The strawberry was appropriately fruit-forward. The filling was rich with just enough bite from the cream cheese. The tiramisu? Well, the phrase “masterfully made” comes to mind. The cocoa powder-dusted exterior lent a needed bitter note to offset the chocolate, and the custard-y center was perfectly set.

A lot of different bubble teas are available at Golden Crown in North Richland Hills.
PHOTO BY MADISON SIMMONS.

Where does the shop get its name? David said he likes wordplay. You bake cookies and fry donuts until they reach a golden brown, hence golden “crown.” On the menu, the cookies and donuts are referred to as “Crowns,” and you can order by the single, three, half dozen, or dozen.

The shop itself is beautiful. The same attention to detail that goes into the food informs the decor. The outlines of mochi donuts and cookies, some wearing jaunty little crowns, dance along one wall in a whimsical gold pattern. The same crown logo adorns the to-go boxes. Donuts go into dark jade boxes. Cookies go into white boxes with a clear top to show off the goods. These extra little touches turn a run for sweets into quite the treat.

It all feels very posh. These are not the sort of confections you would bring in for your whole office. No, you buy these delights for your boss on their birthday, to impress the host of a party, or (best of all) to keep for yourself.

Life is a grind, man. When you have the opportunity to delight yourself at a low cost, take it.

 

Golden Crown
Half-dozen Crowns $14.50
Matcha milk tea $5.35
Tapioca pearls $0.50

 

Golden Crown, 8700 N Tarrant Pkwy, Ste 103, North Richland Hills. 817-849-2370. 8am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm Sat.

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