Donuts have a special place in many people's hearts. They are a special part of Western culture and have come to represent warmth, happiness, and sweet reward. They are not an especially healthy breakfast, but they aren't always empty calories, either. They come in thousands of flavors, and everyone seems to have their favorite. Here are five of the most popular donut flavors and the history behind them.

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1. Boston creme
This is a yeast-type doughnut filled with a vanilla cream and topped with chocolate frosting. It is similar in flavor to Boston creme pie.

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2. Cake
There are two main types of doughnuts; yeast and cake style. Cake doughnuts are more dense than their yeast counterparts and they can hold up to all kinds of decoration. They are often iced and sprinkled, but they can also be glazed. They come in chocolate as well as a light version, and they can also be sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

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3. Yeast
Yeast donuts are light and airy, thanks to the action of the yeast in the dough. They can be flavored, iced, and sprinkled, similar to Cake donuts, but they are much different in taste from that of the cake donut.

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4. Jelly
The jelly donut is similar in style to the Boston creme donut, but this one is filled with a strawberry, cherry, or lemon-flavored jam or gel.

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5. Glazed
This is the most popular kind of donut. It is yeasted and light with a chewy bite and a sugar glaze that imparts just enough sweetness to the fragrant dough. They are best served warm, a service Krispy Kreme has perfected. In the areas of the United States lucky enough to have a Krispy Kreme store, customers flock to the factory/stores when the donuts are hot and ready, prompted by a window sign stating, "Hot Now."

In every country that makes bread, there is always a question about what to do with the extra dough. In England, scraps went into soups and stews and became dumplings. But in Holland and in Germany, cooks dropped the extra into boiling oil, and made fry-cakes, or olie-koecken. The Dutch went a step further and fashioned the dough scraps into twisted designs, or knots, and sugared them after they were cooked.

Donuts do have a history as "knots of dough." Early American families prepared sweet yeast dough, twisted them, and cooked them in boiling fat, usually lard. They were often then seasoned with cinnamon sugar, similar to the cruller type of donut today. However, the oldest recorded mention of a donut was made by Washington Irving in "History of New York" in 1809. In it, he defined donuts as "balls of sweetened dough fried in hog's fat."

This probably means the name "donut" actually refers to a nut-shaped piece of dough, as opposed to a dough "knot". Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory is credited with the invention of a donut with a hole in it, though he probably stole the idea from the Dutch. Wherever the origin, donuts have a firm place in Western history and they are surely here to stay.


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