Nearly 80 years later, the fried doughnut has become a universal delight, cooked up in all shapes and sizes and in a variety of flavors, fillings, and toppings.
But here in South Florida, only a handful of places are making doughnuts worthy of being called "artisan." (Check out our list of Ten Best Doughnuts in Broward and Palm Beach.) That includes shops like Mojo Donuts in Pembroke Pines, where over-the-top creations wow you with crazy flavor combinations; Jupiter Donut Factory in Palm Beach and Jupiter, where every morning, a line snakes out the door and shelves sell out by 10 a.m.; and Rhino Doughnuts & Coffee, a locally based chain making fresh-baked craft creations with shops in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and Sunrise. Farther south, there's the Salty Donut in Miami's Wynwood Arts District, a pop-up truck that's creating quite a stir with its handcrafted, booze-infused pastries.
Now, a newcomer has made its way into the craft-doughnut scene. And although this doughnut operation is still small-scale, it's already tasting like it's destined for big things.
By day, Delray Beach resident Nani Edry shapes surfboards. But early every morning, before most of us are even awake, you can find him making doughnuts.
We say this begrudgingly because it will most likely mean that it will be that much harder to get a dozen of Edry's handcrafted cinnamon and sugar or s'mores doughnuts once the masses take note. But we don't care. They're that good, and pretty much everyone within ordering distance should know it.
Edry is the one-man show behind Nani's Dough, the Delray Beach-based doughnut delivery service he launched in September. A self-taught cook — and now pastry chef — Edry says he always dreamed of doing something with his talent. Making doughnuts wasn't exactly what he had planned, however.
"I have always had a real passion for cooking. It's something I love and that I'm good at," says Edry. "But I was never much of a doughnut eater until I met my girlfriend. There aren't many options for artisan doughnuts around where we live. It's Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts, and that's it. So I decided to do something about it."
To remedy the situation, Edry set himself on the task of making his girlfriend the "best doughnut she'd ever tasted." They were so good, he decided to make more. Soon, he was selling them en masse to ravenous Instagram fans.
Edry is a self-described doughnut expert. Around 3 a.m. he'll wake up to make the doughnuts at his Palm Beach County-based commissary kitchen. It begins with a special pastry dough he says took months to perfect, more than three months of trial and error baking — and more than 60 recipes.
Today, the self-taught baker says he's calibrated his dough to the perfect ratio of yeast, flour, water, and sugar for the South Florida heat and humidity. A combination of several types of flour, it's made in small batches, mixed and cut by hand. It's also one of the most flavorful, light doughnuts you'll have the pleasure of stuffing in your piehole.
"I really invested a lot of time in making the dough taste a certain way, taste-testing along the way without toppings," says Edry. "I really took a calculated approach to the recipe and handcraft each doughnut for a perfect doughnut every time. They're kinda like the Rolls-Royce of doughnuts."
By 6 a.m., hundreds of supersized, 4.5-inch-wide doughnuts have been cut, fried, glazed, and decorated. From there, Edry packs them by the dozen in pink boxes for delivery from Boynton Beach to Boca Raton. Customers can place orders by the dozen online through the Nani's Dough website, which launched earlier this month. You can also find photos of his doughnuts on Instagram.
The current roster of flavors includes white chocolate mocha, s'mores, cinnamon and sugar, plain glazed, pomegranate and white chocolate, mocha, green Moroccan mint tea, cactus pear, avocado mousse with chocolate ganache, and dulce de leche topped with crushed pretzel. Nani's Dough will also rotate exotic and seasonal flavors. Doughnuts are priced $2.50 to $4 each.
There's also Edry's own creation, the "doughnnabon," thin layers of his pastry dough slathered with butter, cinnamon, and sugar for a deep-fried, hybrid doughnut-cinnamon bun combination. It's sinfully delicious and makes us wonder why we haven't seen one sooner.
Moving forward, Edry is looking for a space to open a retail shop. Until then, you can find his doughnuts at Subculture Coffee (123 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach) or order a box of Nani's Dough at nanisdough.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.