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Lassie Loops

This recipe was inspired by instructions that Stella Young, the Salvation Army pinup girl of World War I, dictated to Sally Levitt Steinberg when the author of The Donut Book visited Young at her home in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. During their interview, Young let slip that, owing to primitive battlefield conditions, the donuts the Lassies fried during the war were not marvels of the pastry arts. These, on the other hand, prove true Commander Evangeline Booth's billing of the Salvation Army's way with the "winsome, attractive coquetries of the round, brown doughnut."


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided use
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon lard or shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 gallon vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, 2 cups of sugar, salt and baking powder. Rub in lard or shortening with your fingertips until the mixture is pebbly. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs well, then beat in milk. Set aside.
  3. Working either directly on your flour board, or in a shallow pan or bowl, create a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour egg-milk mixture into the well and start working the dry ingredients into the wet, using a pastry scraper on your hands to gently fold the dry and wet ingredients together. Be careful not to knead the dough like bread, work it gently to avoid creating a chewy texture. Turn the resulting mound over a couple of times on a lightly floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness.
  4. Pour the oil in a cast-iron Dutch oven or other deep, heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches a depth of 3 or 4 inches.
  5. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 325 degrees F.
  6. Using a dough cutter, cut dough into rounds, then cut out a smaller round from each for the center. Gather scraps and re-roll dough as necessary. Fry each loop for two minutes per side or until puffed and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on wire racks.
  7. Toss cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar together in a large brown paper bag. While the donuts are warm, add a few at a time, shaking to cover with cinnamon sugar.

Makes about 24 loops.

From Donuts, An American Passion by John T. Edge

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