I read an article the other day that just got me damn mad. Heather Falvey, a so called British historian is now claiming that America didn’t invent the doughnut. How can that be? It is Homer Simpson’s favorite snack and US cops are addicted to them. Have you ever seen an English Bobby eating a doughnut? No, of course not! They eat fish and chips. Listen here, the doughnut is as American as apple pie. I don’t care that this Britt recently unearthed 213-year-old recipe book that puts the doughnut’s legacy into British hands. She claims that Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale of Hertfordshire was given the recipe by the originator of the doughnut (or “dow nut” as she put it) in 1800, but it’s unclear who this unnamed woman is. The book recipe doesn’t give a lot of instructions on how to make them; It’s more what to use. Who knows, shaped differently, they could be just another English scone. So here’s the real story.
The origin of doughnuts has a disputed history, but it’s all within America. After all, why do you think they call the United States the Promised Land? One theory suggests they were invented in North America by Dutch settlers, who were responsible for popularizing other American desserts, including cookies, apple and cream pie and cobbler. In the 19th century, doughnuts were sometimes referred to as one kind of oliekoek (a Dutch word literally meaning “oil cake”), a “sweetened cake fried in lard.
Hanson Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was only 16 years old. Gregory was dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship’s tin pepper box, and later taught the technique to his mother.
According to anthropologist Paul R. Mullins, the first cookbook mentioning doughnuts was an 1803 English volume which included doughnuts in an appendix of American recipes. I believe the anthropology of man, and our nation, can be traced more accurately through the foods and beverages of time, rather than through the riches of art, the prose of literature, the rhythm of music or the structure of architecture. So quit trying to steal our legacy, Heather Falvey, doughnuts belong to America and with a doughnut all things are possible.
Ed’s Chocolate Glazed Yeast Doughnuts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Proof Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Fry Time: 2 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour
Yield: 2 baker’s dozen doughnuts (that’s 26!)
For the Doughnuts:
3 1/4 ounce packages “Rapid Rise” yeast (3/4 oz total)
1/2 cup warm water (105-115ºF)
2 1/4 cups whole milk, scalded, then cooled
1 cup granulate sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup shortening
7 cups, plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
canola oil for frying
For the Glaze:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounce Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6-9 tablespoons evaporated milk
For the Doughnuts:
- Proof the yeast by mixing 1 tablespoon of flour with the warm water. Mix it up and let it rest.
- Scald the milk in a microwave or on top of a stove, and let cool.
- Combine the yeast mixture, cooled milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 2 1/2 cups of flour and cocoa powder.
- Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the bowl.
- Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
- Carefully stir in remaining flour until the dough is smooth and silky.
- Cover the dough and let rise until it doubles, about 30-60 minutes, depending on the yeast you used.
- After the dough has risen, turn dough onto floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour.
- Gently roll dough 1/2-inch thick with floured rolling pin.
- Cut with floured doughnut cutter. Separate donuts and holes, as they take different frying times.
- Cover and let them rise until doubled in sizes, about 30-40 minutes.
Note: Save your scraps! They are both great to test your fry time and to snack on while you’re making the rest!
Note: If you want to make these donuts for breakfast, let the donuts rise in the refrigerator overnight!
For the Glaze:
Make the glaze before frying so it can sit at room temperature until the donuts are fried and ready to be dipped.
- Melt the butter and chocolate and stir in powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla until blended.
- Add the milk until desired consistency is reached.
For Frying the Doughnuts:
- Use a deep pan to heat the oil.
- Using a frying thermometer heat the oil to 350ºF. Use some of the scraps of the doughnut dough to test different frying times.
- Carefully place the donuts in the oil. Cook on each side for about one minute. Use chopsticks to flip the donuts and remove them from the oil.
- Place donuts on a rack or paper towels to drain.
For Glazing the Doughnuts:
- Dip the doughnuts in the glaze and set them on a rack to dry. It okay to dipped both sides of the doughnuts in the glaze.
- Let them set for 10 minutes to set.
ChefSecret: Scalding the milk prevents an enzyme from killing the yeast. If you don’t scald it first to kill the enzyme, the donuts won’t rise.