Do you have Krispy Creme dreams? Does a night with a box of jelly doughnuts run a close second to a weekend in Jamaica (how many ways can you spell “indulge”?!). Possibly a platter of chocolate, maple, glazed, or powdered sugar doughnuts derails you in staff meetings (who cares about flow charts when you’ve just taken a bite of a smooth, buttery-tasting cruller)?
To celebrate National Doughnut Day, which is the first Friday in June, why not have your cake (or doughnut, as it is) and eat it too, but this time by replacing ingredients for this yummy albeit sugary, fried, fat-laden delicacy with healthier options like spelt flour, Greek yogurt, agave sweetener, fresh fruit, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, etc. Even if you are following Paleo, vegan or gluten-free diets, these healthier twists on the classic confection can leave you feeling lighter while you fully indulge!
But first, just out of curiosity, how did the decadent doughnut come to be the center of our gastronomic galaxy? According to sources, doughnuts (aka donuts) have a questionable nascence. Debatably, they were created by Dutch settlers to North America. In the 19th century, doughnuts were often called by the Dutch name oliekoek — meaning oil cake, or a sweetened cake fried in fat. And they didn’t necessarily have holes, which is the way we identify them today.
In fact, American Hanson Gregory lays claim to the ring-shaped doughnut’s invention in 1847, when he was a 16-year-old aboard a lime-trading ship (limes were highly coveted items — remember the reference in Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” — published in 1868-69?). Gregory was said to be unhappy with the raw center he often encountered in the traditional pancake-shape, so he reportedly punched a hole with the ship’s tin pepper box.
Prior to that, holes or otherwise, historians say there was a mention of doughnuts in an 1803 English cookbook — though in an appendix of American recipes. According to culinary author John T. Edge, the migration from the proper spelling from “doughnut” to “donut” reportedly occurred when the New York-based Display Doughnut Machine Corporation changed it to make it easier to pronounce for the foreigners to whom they marketed their product.
Throughout the world, doughnuts are wildly popular and known by such names as yo-yo’s (Tunisia); sfenj (Morocco); vada (India); bamiyeh (Iran); sufganiyah (Israel); kuih keria (Malaysia); munkki (Finland); loukoumas (Greece); sonhos (Brazil); and kleinuhringur (Iceland).
Why not make National Doughnut Day a day to rediscover this toothsome treat in a whole new way? Try these variations on your family!
Banana Blueberry Greek Yogurt Doughnuts (baked — not fried!)
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 small bananas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup unsalted soy butter, melted
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 325º F.
Using electric mixer with whisk attachment, add mashed banana, sugar, and yogurt. Mix until incorporated. Add melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the batter and mix until just incorporated. Do not over-mix.
Using a spatula, fold in blueberries (coat first with a little flour to prevent from falling to bottom). Scoop batter into piping bag, snip the end to leave an opening about the size of a dime. Grease a doughnut baking pan and pipe the batter ¾ of the way into each doughnut mold.
Optional: Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of each doughnut batter before baking. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
Mini Vegan Vanilla Doughnuts
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar (can use regular sugar)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or oil of choice)
6 tablespoons coconut milk (or nondairy beverage of choice)
Extra coconut oil and cinnamon sugar for coating (optional)
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Stir in coconut oil and coconut milk. Stir until well combined. Batter will be slightly thick with a smooth, light texture.
Pre-heat a mini doughnut maker. Scoop batter into each mini doughnut ring — about 1 ½ tablespoons in each ring. Close lid and let bake for 2-3 minutes. Check to see if done by inserting a toothpick until it comes out clean. Let cool a little and remove carefully with a knife. Repeat process until all batter has been used. While still slightly warm, very lightly coat each doughnut in coconut oil and toss in cinnamon sugar.