Olykoek noun, Hudson Valley: Older Use.

1. doughnut.
--Dictionary.com

"Such heaped up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty doughnut, the tender olykoek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller..."
-- Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Sketch Book, 1820
As quoted on Dictionary.com

Well, you know I'm not going to let that stand. Olykoek is American Dutch for 'oily cake', and appears to be an Americanized version of the original Dutch oliekoek. It was most certainly not a donut.

The donut solves the problem of soft doughy goo in the middle of deep fried breads by simply eliminating the entire center of the fritter. But before American ingenuity came up with the donut hole, the Dutch solved this problem a different way. They simply filled the balls of dough with a core of dried fruit (usually raisins, apples, oranges, or lemons) soaked in brandy. This was the olykoek.

Unfortunately, modern northerners, eager for some extra old-world charm to bring in the tourists, have declared that olykoek was simply the Dutch word for donut. This is not too very far off from the truth, but is extremely disappointing.

Modern Dutch people, being better at spelling than the English, call doughnuts 'donuts'.


Olykoek may also be spelled 'oly koek', 'olicook', 'oly kook', and a number of similar variants. The name 'oliebollen' (oily balls) was also used. You can find a recipe for traditional Dutch oliebols here.

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