The first Friday in June is celebrated around the world as Donut day. But what is the significance behind this historical day?
Beginning in 1917, approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers provided assistance during World War I to American soldiers in battle on the front lines in France.
Two Salvation Army officers, Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance had an idea to comfort soldiers with good home cooking, using their limited ingredients to fry up in helmets delicious donuts for the boys.
Nicknamed ‘Doughnut Lassies’ and ‘Doughnut Girls’, these women served countless treats to grateful soldiers, traversing through the trenches to bring the men donuts and coffee. They also made history by introducing this tasty new treat to the United States when the ‘Doughboys’ returned from war.
The Salvation Army celebrated the first National Doughnut Day in 1938 in the city of Chicago as a way to honour Salvation Army ‘doughnut lassies’ from World War I. They began the day as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to the Army’s social service programs during the Great Depression. The donut has become synonymous with The Salvation Army’s social services and continues to be a comfort food served by The Salvation Army to those in need during times of disaster.
The celebration of this day still continues to be celebrated more than 80 years later to help raise awareness for The Salvation Army and to honour the service of veterans and volunteers alike.
So what better way to celebrate than with some yummy fresh hot cinnamon donuts you bake yourself!
Oh my, I can smell them already. Fluffy and super delicious. It does take some time commitment, but it is so worth it.
For the Donuts
- 300g Plain flour, plus a little bit more for dusting
- 55g Caster Sugar
- 180ml Milk (lukewarm)
- 3 tsp of Dry Yeast
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 25g Unsalted Butter
- Vegetable Oil for deep frying
For the Cinnamon Sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Half a cup of white sugar
- Place the milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the caster sugar in a bowl and mix well. Pop it in a warm place for 10 minutes or so until the surface is bubbly. Then, place the rest of the caster sugar along with the flour, yolks, butter and the yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attached. Beat on low speed for a few minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Lightly grease a large bowl then place the dough into the bowl and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Back it goes into that warm spot for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
- Grab your rolling pin and roll out the dough until it is about 1cm thick. Using a lightly dusted 8cm round cutter, cut 8 rounds from the dough. Using a 3cm round cutter, cut holes from the centre of each round. Repeat with the remaining dough, re-rolling as necessary to make 12. Place the donuts on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and then, you guessed it, back to the warm spot for another 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size again. While you’re waiting, mix the cinnamon and white sugar in a small bowl to make your topping.
- Half-fill a large, deep saucepan with the oil and heat on medium until the temperature reaches 180°C (use a deep-frying thermometer). Lower the donuts in batches into the oil with a slotted spoon. Cook for 30 seconds each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. While the doughnuts are still hot, carefully toss each in the cinnamon sugar.
- Pop the kettle on, prepare your favourite beverage and enjoy your delicious home-made treats!