It's National Doughnut Day. Gosh, how might we celebrate?

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It's one of the sweetest days of the year, and we've put together a whole (okay, hole!) post to help doughnut-lovers properly mark the National Doughnut Day, a full 24 hours devoted to the irresistible treat.

The early bird gets the doughnut, with some of the best doughnut shops shutting down by lunch, so get cracking. MplsSt Paul Magazine warns the holiday typically burns a hole in the pockets of doughnut lovers. "Every year bakeries in town, especially those in the downtowns, gear up for big orders," food writer Stephanie March said. "This is not a joke, they routinely run out."

To celebrate with the best doughnuts around, March suggests hitting Angel Food Bakery (86 S 9th St, Minneapolis), which she calls "a slice of donut heaven." In addition to the sweet varieties, March swoons over the doughnut breakfast sandwich, "two glazed donuts (that) hold together a bit of egg, bacon, and cheese to deliver a salty, sweet good morning gut rush."

For his part, the Star Tribune's food critic Rick Nelson raves about the newly-opened Bogart's Doughnut Co. (904 36th St. W., Minneapolis) for its "sublime brioche doughnuts filled with Nutella or a vanilla bean cream, or glistening in a brown-butter glaze." Nelson also names other superior doughnut shops in the metro: Glam Doll Donuts (2605 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis), the Baker's Wife Pastry Shop (4200 28th Ave S., Minneapolis), and the newly-reopened Hans' Bakery (1423 5th Avenue, Anoka)

FOX 9 carried a story about doughnut history, noting they were popularized by the Salvation Army during World War I. Maj. Jeff Strickler, commander of the Twin Cities Salvation Army, explained that U.S. troops in foxholes and in trenches enjoyed the treat, served by Salvation Army workers. The doughnuts were cheap to produce from basic rations and reminded soldiers, often called doughboys, of home cooking. Doughnut lassies "would use old wine bottles to roll out the dough, and to cut the donuts, they'd use soldier's knives or artillery shells. Then they'd fry them seven at a time in oil using a soldier's helmet. Talk about resourceful," the story said.

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Mojo Monkey Donuts (1169 7th St. W., St. Paul) is making a donation to the Salvation Army with every doughnut purchase; its case is pictured below. YoYo Donuts (5757 Sanibel Dr, Minnetonka) is making a doughnut donation to the Salvation Army in honor of the day. The shop is also handing out one free doughnut per person, starting at 6 a.m. and continuing for as long as they last.

Despite that freebie, The City Pages food blog complains, quite justifiably, that Minnesotans are not able to save dough on franchise doughnuts. The post said that both Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme will hand out free doughnuts during the day, but neither purveyor has a Minnesota outlet at present.

Just as purists can argue over what's superior, raised or cake, they can also argue over how to spell the pastry. The Grammarist website explains that "...the dictionary-approved spelling for the ring-shaped cake made of dough and fried in fat is doughnut." The donut version of the word was popularized in the late 20th century, "...when the successful American doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts made it ubiquitous." The post said that while writers outside the U.S. widely favor doughnut, the donut spelling appears about a third of the time in published American writing.

"Those of us who don’t wish to assist Dunkin’ Donuts’s branding would be wise to resist the trend," the post scolds.

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