Dough nuts. Have you ever looked at that phrase? DOUGH. NUTS. Who thought that up? Like all famous foods that did not get a claim to fame or a patent, who invented what first is always up for debate. Is the doughnut called that because the first ones were flavored by nuts? Is the doughnut called that because it is similar to the same of a nut and bolt (although it looks more like the end of the bolt than the nut itself – just sayin’)? I mean the DOUGH part of the name is spot on but the nut? I even found a source that says the first doughnuts were knotted and hence called a dough knot which became nut. . .seeing how people even spell it donut now, that could be a possibility.
Whatever the reason for calling this American sweet its name we know that it is POPULAR. It’s not a pastry unless it’s baked. It is DEEP FRIED. After that no hold barred as bakers and cooks go wild with their own versions. Two of the most well known “donut” shops in my area are Krispie Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts. There are avid KK fans and just as passionate DD fans but I will eat either when offered but do not have a strict loyalty to either. KK are super sweet but when served hot is a special treat with its yeasty goodness. If I’m going to have a cake doughnut, I’d rather have DD as you can actually DUNK one for a bit in your hot beverage. Both are overly sweet though and I’d rather have a French croissant any day over the American doughnut.
More than 10 BILLION doughnuts are made each year in the USA – ‘Merrica! Most history buffs say it originated with the Dutch. I know of 9 chains in America: Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons, Honey Dew Donuts, Daylight Donuts, Winchell’s Donut House, Shipley Do-Nuts, LaMar’s Donuts and Top Pot Doughnuts. I have tasted 5 of these chains and I really can’t say any were that must better than the other. Most were overly sweet and had a sort of artificial after taste.
Locally we have a Duck Doughnuts. It was born in the beaches of Outer Banks, North Carolina. When I think of doughnuts, I don’t immediately think of having these hot sticky treats at a sandy beach. It seems counterintuitive. BUT that is where they started and we have a shop near my current place of residence. I have to say if I’m going to have a fried doughnut, I go here since I can see them float one in the oil and serve it to me asap. Again, overly sweet and greasy but an okay once in awhile treat.
So what is MY favorite doughnut? It’s a tie between the twisted Korean doughnut kkwabaegi (꽈배기) and the Korean glutinous rice doughnut – chapssal (찹쌀) filled with sweetened red bean paste. I know that is SUPER specific but I really love the texture of the chewy rice flour to any of its wheat counter parts. Neither are overly sweet and less greasy.
Want to make them at home? You can! Just go to Maangchi’s YouTube channel and you will see both recipes there! https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/kkwabaegi