FOR THE FILLINGS
Taste and add more as alcohol as desired. You should go for a subtle layer of flavor, not a knockout.
For the Bourbon Caramel filling: We had so much delicious caramel sauce from The King’s Cupboard that we simply warmed it, added bourbon to taste, and then added cream to thin it for pourability.
For the Chocolate Cream filling: make this recipe and add a teaspoon of Kahlua or other coffee liqueur.
For the Raspberry Limoncello filling: We took the easy way out and combined quality raspberry jam with Limoncello and a bit of lemon zest. You can substitute Grand Marnier for the Limoncello.
WHO INVENTED DONUT HOLES?
First, we thank the Dutch for olykoeks, meaning oil cake, batter fried in oil.
While dough was fried the world over, we can thank the Dutch for the sweet balls fried in hog fat that became modern doughnuts.
An old word for ball was nut; a doughnut is literally a nut (ball) of dough. The term “doughnut” was first used in print in 1809 by American author Washington Irving in his satirical “Knickerbocker’s History Of New York.” Irving wrote of:
“…balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks.”
Because the center of the cake did not cook as quickly as the outside, the softer centers were sometimes stuffed with fruit, nuts, or other fillings that did not require cooking (think of the chopped onions in the center of a bialy).
What about the hole?
Per Smithsonian, a New England ship captain’s mother made a notably delicious, deep-fried doughut that used her son’s spice cargo of nutmeg and cinnamon, along with lemon rind. She filled the center with hazelnuts or walnuts.
As the story goes, in 1847, 16-year-old sailor Hanson Crockett Gregory created the hole in the center of the doughnut. He used the top of a round tin pepper container to punch the holes, so the dough would cook evenly.
He recounted the story in an interview with the Boston Post at the turn of the century, 50 years later.
He effectively eliminated the need to fill the less-cooked center, and provided an inner cut-out that enabled the dough to be evenly cooked.
This was a breakthrough not just for donut holes, but for the donut in general. Previously, it had been cooked as a solid piece (no hole), so the sides were always crisper than the center. In fact, toppings were often put on the soggy center to cover up the flaw.
After the creation of the doughnut hole, donut makers also fried the dough “holes.”
It took more than a century and a mass marketer to popularize donut holes in America.
While the forerunner of Dunkin’ Donuts began in 1948 (here’s the history of Dunkin’ Donuts), Munchkins “donut hole treats” were not introduced until 1972. Tim Hortons followed with Timbits in 1976.
WHO CHANGED THE SPELLING FROM DOUGHNUT TO DONUT?
The first known printed record of the shortened word “donut” appears (likely an inadvertent misspelling) in “Peck’s Bad Boy And His Pa,” a story by George W. Peck published in 1900.
The spelling did not immediately catch on. That impetus goes to Dunkin’ Donuts.
Donut is a easier to write, but we prefer the old-fashioned elegance of doughnut. Take your choice.
Doughnuts didn’t become a mainstream American food until after World War I. American doughboys at the front were served doughnuts by Salvation Army volunteers. When the doughboys returned, they brought their taste for doughnuts with them [source].
The name doughboy wasn’t related to the doughnuts, by the way. It dates to the Civil War, when the cavalry unchivalrously derided foot soldiers as doughboys. Two theories are offered:
Their globular brass buttons resembled flour dumplings.
They used flour to polish their white belts.