Today is National Doughnut Day – the 76th annual – a fundraising day for the Salvation Army that began in Chicago during the Great Depression in the 1930s. It honors military veterans and recognizes the work of Salvation Army volunteers who used doughnuts to comfort American soldiers in France and Germany during World War I.

The United States was a late entry into the war and when American soldiers arrived in Europe, British and French troops called them dough boys because they were inexperienced and soft like dough. When the Salvation Army volunteers arrived to take care of the American boys they took on the name Doughnut Lassies and Doughnut Girls. They fried the doughnuts in upside-down soldiers helmets.

To this day the Salvation Army provides comfort with coffee and doughnuts to survivors and emergency workers at the scene of disasters.

Nearly every doughnut shop has some kind of special going on today – whether it’s a free doughnut with every cup of coffee you buy or free coffee with a doughnut or buy one get one. Or make your own doughnuts with the original Salvation Army Doughnut Lassies doughnut recipe.

(Thomas Hawk@Flickr)
(Thomas Hawk@Flickr)


Yield: 4 doz. doughnuts

5 C flour
2 C sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1 ‘saltspoon’ salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 C milk
1 Tub lard (vegetable oil)


  • Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make dough.
  • Thoroughly knead dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than 1/4 inch thick. (When finding items to cut out doughnut circles, be creative! Salvation Army  doughnut girls used whatever they could find, from baking powder cans to      coffee percolator tubes.)
  • Drop the rings into the lard, making sure the fat is hot enough to brown the doughnuts gradually. Turn the doughnuts slowly several times.
  • When browned, remove doughnuts and allow excess fat to drip off.
  • Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool and enjoy.

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