She would pack them for her son and his crew to take on their long voyages. Mrs Gregory used to put hazel nuts or walnuts in the centre of the doughnut where the dough would otherwise not cook well and this is supposed to have given Doughnuts their name.
Other versions say that Hansen was a bit of a cheapskate and was just trying to save on food costs by making the hole in the middle. Another highly improbable version says he was visited by an angel who told him the doughy centres of the Doughnut had to go!!!
And if people use hydrogenated fats like margarine instead of butter, that’s even worse in my opinion. It really might be a better bet to actually deep-fry than bake in some instances where the recipes call for huge amounts of butter!
Yet I must confess that I liked the baked kind as well. They are nice, but in a different way. Right now, they’re a big hit in my home. My daughter just loves them. One nice thing about these baked doughnuts is that they are good even when they’re a few hours old unlike the fried kind which are really best eaten fresh.
Baked Yeasted Doughnuts(Adapted from Lara Ferroni’s Doughnuts)
Ingredients:1/4 cup superfine sugar1 cup warm milk (45C/115F)3/4 tbsp instant yeast (or 1 tbsp active dry yeast)1/2 tsp salt2 tsp vanilla extract2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose flour) divided, plus more for kneading100gm butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
For the topping:75 to 100gm butter, melted1 cup superfine sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon (more or less, depending on your taste), mixed togetherORORjam to fill your doughnuts
Using a processor to knead helps but you can do this by hand.Put the sugar, milk, yeast, salt and vanilla in the processor bowl and pulse to mix well. Add the cake flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour and process, adding a little more of the flour as necessary till the dough is thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.Now add the butter pieces one at a time and process till there no large chunks of butter are left in the bottom of the bowl. Now add a little more flour until your have a soft, pliable and elastic dough that is most but not overly sticky.Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased large mixing bowl., turning it to coat well. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise till double in volume. This should take about an hour.Punch down the dough and roll out to a thickness of 1/2" thickness. Cut out doughnuts using a doughnut cutter or whatever you have on hand to cut out 3” diameter with 1” diameter holes. If you’re making doughnuts to fill with jam, then do not cut out the holes. Place the doughnuts and the holes on parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheets, leaving at least 1” space between them.Re-roll the scraps and cut out more doughnuts. I used the last left over scraps of dough by pinching of bits, rolling them into balls and baking them too.Let them rise for about 20 minutes or till almost double in size and then bake them at 200C (400F) for about 5 to 10 minutes till they’re done and golden brown. Do not over bake them.This recipe makes about 12 to 14 doughnuts and holes.Take them out of the oven and immediately brush them with the melted butter and then dip them into the cinnamon sugar mixture. If filling the doughnuts with jam, let them cool.Put the jam into a piping bag with a writing nozzle/ tip and press into the doughnut from the side and gently press out the jam into the doughnut till it starts oozing out. Jam doughnuts do not need too much jam to fill them.If glazing your doughnuts, let them cool completely and then dip one side of the doughnut in the glaze of your choice and let it set.