It doesn’t get much better than donuts. They are a delicious, portable comfort food—and they count as breakfast. And, as if that weren’t enough, they have a long and interesting history…
- Donuts go all the way back to ancient Rome and Greece. They remained popular during Medieval times, and the idea for frying dough spread throughout Europe.
- In Germany in the 1400s, donuts were filled with meat or vegetables.
- Donuts were brought to the New World by Pilgrims and Dutch settlers.
- Originally, donuts did not have their characteristic holes. When bakers started using egg yolks to make donuts, they found that the middle of donuts didn’t cook all the way. In order to avoid that donut disaster, the middle of the donut was simply eliminated.
- Most likely, the above story is the reason donuts have holes. However, donut historians like to tell the story of a captain in the 1840s trying to hold on to his donut during a rough storm at sea. To keep his hands free to steer the ship, he stuck his donut on one of the spokes of his ship’s wheel, and the famous donut hole was born.
- Donuts were an important part of both World War I and World War II, as they could easily be made and distributed to soldiers—a snack to remind them of home.
- Donuts are an important part of Jewish history. They are served on holidays such as Hanukkah as part of the commemoration of the miracle of the Hanukkah oil.
- The first automated donut machine was created in 1920 by Adolph Levitt. One of these machines was at the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair, where the machine-made donuts were named the “Hit Food of the Century of Progress.”
- William Rosenberg was a caterer that opened a donut shop in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1948. This first restaurant was called the Open Kettle, but two years after he opened it Rosenberg renamed it to “Dunkin’ Donuts.” By 1963 there were 100 Dunkin’ Donuts, and in 2002 there were more than 5,000. The donut shops can be found in almost 40 countries, where 2 million customers per day are served.
Anxious to eat some donuts of your own? These donuts are gluten-free, and to add to the “comfort food” factor, they are pumpkin flavored—perfect for a chilly fall day. You don’t even need to fry them—this recipe uses donut pans instead of a fryer. (We recommend the Wilton ones, great price, great performance). There are also directions to make a topping for the donuts, but if you are feeling particularly decadent, chocolate makes a nice topping as well.
For the donuts you’ll need….
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree
½ cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 ¾ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together oil and eggs in a bowl. Add in baking powder, salt, spices, sugar, and pumpkin puree. Combine thoroughly. Add in flour and stir until smooth. Spoon batter into lightly greased donut pan. Fill the pan ¾ of the way full.
Bake for about 17 minutes on the center rack. Let them cool on a cooling rack.
Makes 18 donuts.
For the topping you’ll need….
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter, melted
½ cup sugar
Place the melted butter into one bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the spice, cinnamon, and sugar. Dip the donuts into the butter, then dip them into the spice mixture.