Once fried, doughnuts may be glazed with a sugar icing, spread with icing or chocolate on top, or topped with powdered sugar or sprinkles or fruit.

Other shapes include rings, balls, flattened spheres, twists, and other forms.

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Before long, doughnut sellers saw the opportunity to market "holes" as a novelty and many chains offer their own variety, some with their own brand names such as "Munchkins" from Dunkin' Donuts and "Timbits" from Tim Hortons.

Traditionally, doughnut holes are made by frying the dough removed from the center portion of the doughnut.

A disk-shaped doughnut can also be stretched and pinched into a torus until the center breaks to form a hole.

Alternatively, a doughnut depositor can be used to place a circle of liquid dough (batter) directly into the fryer.

They are also often topped with cake frosting (top-side only) and sometimes sprinkled with coconut, chopped peanuts, or sprinkles (also called jimmies).

Doughnut holes are small, bite-sized doughnuts that were traditionally made from the dough taken from the center of ring doughnuts.

While food resembling doughnuts has been found at many ancient sites, the earliest origins to the modern doughnuts are generally traced back to the olykoek ("oil(y) cake") Dutch settlers brought with them to early New York (or New Amsterdam).

These doughnuts closely resembled later ones but did not yet have their current ring-sized shape.

The two most common types are the ring doughnut and the filled doughnut, which is injected with fruit preserves, cream, custard, or other sweet fillings.