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Every year, the first Friday in June marks National Donut Day. It began as a Salvation Army fundraiser for those in need during the Great Depression and as way to honor the women who fried up and served thousands of donuts to soldiers in France during World War I. The treats these so-called “Donut Lassies” served were a simple sugar-dusted dough ring – the recipe is here if you want to give it a try.

While a simple donut is certainly a delight, today’s donut artists have expanded the possibilities of the popular breakfast pastry in all directions. So this year, get out and honor the brave Donut Lassies with a visit to one (or more) of the North Shore’s best donut shops.

Kane’s Donuts, Saugus

Probably the most well-known of the North Shore’s donut makers, Kane’s is widely beloved for it expansive selection, monthly special flavors, and robust offering of gluten-free treats. This month, customers can try the lemon pound cake, mango, or cookie dough donuts; the gluten-free whoopie pie donut; or the vegan cinnamon-and-sugar donut. And for National Donut Day, customers who buy a dozen donuts can get a small coffee and a honey-dip donut on the house.

Brothers’ Brew, Rockport

Brothers’ Brew may seem like an average coffee shop/lunch spot, but locals know it is the go-to destination for super-fresh, enticingly delicious donuts. Among the many choices are the blueberry cake donut and the fried dough donut, which adds a maple flavor and a dusting of sugar to a classic glazed. If your favorite flavor isn’t available, just wait a few minutes: Hot donuts are always emerging from the kitchen.

Photograph courtesy of The Angry Donut

The Angry Donut, Newburyport

If you’re craving creative flavors, The Angry Donut is the place to be. The Newburyport baker offers up an ever-evolving lineup of flavors like Fruity Pebbles, banana cream pie, churro, and blood orange dark chocolate. There are plenty of classic choices as well for those with more traditional tastes.

Coffee Time Bake Shop, Salem

Coffee Time started off as a donut shop before evolving into a more full-service bakery more than 30 years, but its roots come through clearly in the selection of hand-cut donuts. Classic flavors are always on offer and seasonal specials pop up throughout the year.

Photograph courtesy of Somebody’s Place

Somebody’s Place, Andover

Somebody’s Place serves a full breakfast and lunch menu, but it’s the donuts that are the star(s) of the show. Try an impeccably rendered classic, like chocolate glazed or jelly, or get adventurous (and indulgent) with a whoopie pie donut or a glazed raspberry cream. But get there early – the donuts have been known to sell out.

Ziggy and Sons’, Peabody and Salem

A long-standing North Shore tradition, Ziggy’s unique donuts are available in two locations: A tiny corner shop in Salem and a new storefront in Peabody. This family-run shop has legions of dedicated fans, so stop by to find out why.

Photograph courtesy of Dandee Donut Factory

The Dandee Donut Factory, Revere

The newest entrant into the North Shore donut scene, Dandee has already amassed some passionate followers with it’s lineup of more than 50 delicious flavors on offer might be difficult. Will it be the strawberry filled? Sour cream? Chocolate-frosted with sprinkles? Maple bacon? Toasted coconut? Or maybe one of each.

Changing Tides Café, Newburyport

You’ll need to get your timing right – Changing Tides only serves donuts on Fridays – but the planning will be worth it. The cozy café serves up hand-cut, freshly made donuts in flavors from the classic to the downright indulgent. They claim their jelly donut is the best in New England: I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Photograph courtesy of Lowe’s Donuts

Lowe’s Donuts, Haverhill

Delicious donuts can be elusive to those with food allergies. Lowe’s has got you covered. The bakery never uses any of the top nine allergens and is always gluten free, yet still creates delectable treats like classic chocolate frosted donuts as well as signature offerings like the cookie dough donut, studded with chocolate chips and topped with a cookie.

Jim’s Bagel and Bake Shoppe, Gloucester

Long-time locals still call this bakery “Donut Jim’s,” and with good reason. The shop serves up delicious renditions of all the classics. The lemon donut is a particular standout, but you’ll definitely want to sample several of the choices.