The All American Donut!


By Terri Bailey, former co-owner of Bailey’s Palomar Resort in Southern California.

The Donut, like most recipes, has a disputed history. It is said to be Dutch, English, Italian or Croatian in creation. But of course we all know that it’s really American! History tells me that the Donut dates back over 200 years! It’s listed in one of our country’s oldest cookbooks as an American Recipe from 1803, and described as “balls of sweetened dough, deep-fried in hog fat.”

Another story, circa 1847, tells us that an American aboard a Dutch trade ship, invented the Donut on the high seas. Try as he might, Gregory Hanson couldn’t get his dough to cook in the center so he took a pepper tin and cut out the center, creating a ring. The dough center looked like a nut when fried, hence the name: Dough-nut. He claims to have shared this with his Mom, and the rest is history.

The Donut was served at the World Fair in the early 1900’s. It then went on to be a war time champion in the 1950’s when a serviceman on his way to see his troops picked up some 8 dozen donuts, and gave them out to his wounded men to boost morale. They were so popular, the Salvation Army and Red Cross teamed up to create “The Donut Dollies,” women who served side-by-side with our GI’s, and served up hot donuts and coffee. This prestigious group of women represented the first “food truck organization” that is still so popular today. Reconditioned 2 ½ ton GMC trucks were outfitted with coffee pots and donut making machines that could crank out 2000 donuts a day! The Donut Dollies were specially trained to be sweet and social, allowing a GI time to enjoy two sweet things, a donut and time with a hometown gal. The Donut Dollies continued to serve our troops well into the 1970’s.

The “All American Donut” remains one of our country’s favorite comfort treats. The little trooper marches on! So, America what is your favorite Donut? Like our red white and blue, its stead fast and true. I salute an American Hero, The Donut! It’s as American as Apple Pie. Enjoy my favorite cake type Donut recipe that’s baked (not fried in hog fat!)

2 cups cake flour, sifted
3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 475 degrees, and spray donut pan with non-stick spray.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt.  Add buttermilk, beaten eggs, and melted butter. Beat just until combined.
Fill each donut cup 2/3 full. Bake 7-9 minutes until top springs back when touched.
Let cool, remove and coat with a glaze, sugar and cinnamon, or frosting.

Donuts are best served fresh! Yields 12 delicious cake donuts.

Leucadia Beach Inn


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