They make it well worth waking up early. In fact, if it’s mid-morning, you’re likely already too late. And you definitely want to get ’em while they’re hot. What are they?

Doughnuts—or donuts, depending on your spelling preference—are simple pieces of fried dough rolled, stretched, and twisted into shape. More complicated confections might be filled with custard or cream or topped with glazes, sprinkles, drizzles, crumbled cookies, or even fresh fruit. Often they’re paired with coffee or milk.

You can purchase the classic sweet treats in plain or imaginative flavors just about anywhere—bakeries, gas stations, supermarkets, and more.

Most shops and bakeries haven’t reinvented the doughnut, but many are rejuvenating it by adding their own personal touches.

If you’re in the mood for doughnuts, you’ll find plenty right here in Missouri. Here’s a baker’s dozen of doughnut shops to try around the state.

Harold’s Doughnuts’ Faurotnut, named after legendary Mizzou football coach Don Faurot, is a yeast-filled doughnut dipped in sweet cream glaze and topped with a drizzle of caramel and chocolate ganache.

Harolds Doughnuts • Columbia

OPEN: 6 AM to 2 PM daily • 114 South Ninth Street • 573-397-6322 • HaroldsDoughnuts.com

Michael Urban says doughnut shops evoke happy childhood memories for many, including him, partly because they combine a sweet, satisfying treat with a reasonable price.

Michael and his wife, Karli, own Harold’s Doughnuts in downtown Columbia and recently opened a second shop on Nifong Boulevard with a drive-through. Customers can also order online; Harold’s will deliver orders of at least one dozen.

What sets Harold’s apart from the competition, Michael says, is everything is made on-site and from scratch. StaffŒ members start the six- to eight-hour baking process at 9 ’“. When the dough is ready, employees spread it over long wooden tables and cut it by hand. They make anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 doughnuts a day. The products contain no preservatives, and the shop has gluten-free and vegan options.

Harold’s offŒerings include long johns, glazed and cake doughnuts, cinnamon sugar twists, and maple bacon. Two customer favorites are the old-fashioned bar, a sour cream-based doughnut that is glazed and includes nutmeg, and the turtle doughnut, which is glazed and topped with chocolate ganache, caramel sauce, and crushed pecans.

Michael says his Boston Creme is his best. The yeast-raised doughnut is light, filled with pastry cream, and covered with chocolate glaze. “It hits all the right notes of our products,” he says. “Customers relate it to a Boston cream pie.”

Hoeckele’s Bakery and Deli bakes a variety of treats every day of the week.

Hoeckele’s Bakery and Deli • Perryville

OPEN: Monday through Friday, 3 AM to 5:30 PM; Saturdays, 3 AM to 4 PM; Sundays, 4 AM to 1 PM • 1516 Edgemont Boulevard • 573-547-4506 • HoeckeleBakery.com

As a boy, Paul Hoeckele dreamed of building a new bakery across the busy street from his home. When the family bakery moved in 2006, his longtime dream turned into reality.

The Hoeckeles first started the baking business in 1937 on Perryville’s town square. Now the bakery, which turns 81 this year, is in its third generation of family ownership by Paul and Angie Hoeckele and Joe and Yvette Hoeckele. Brothers Paul and Joe are the head bakers.

Every evening at 8, the brothers and other employees start the baking process. The crew makes 250 to 550 dozen doughnuts per day, along with Danish, bread, and sweet doughs. Each week, they use 120 pounds of yeast, 2,500 pounds of flour, 1,500 pounds of sugar, and 1,000 pounds of shortening. The staŒff transforms these ingredients into a variety of treats, including long johns, cake doughnuts in multiple flavors, decorated cookies, mu¥ns, and even chocolate-covered bacon. Hoeckele’s also oŒffers a giant, six-in-one Texas doughnut.

Customer favorites are the traditional glazed doughnut, coŒffee cake (which comes in peanut, coconut, fruit, and gooey butter), the marshmallow horn, and cinnamon rolls.

Hoeckele’s has a drive-through, but about 50 regulars come in shifts as early as 3 ¨“ and linger over breakfast.

“Our customers are our friends,” Angie says, “and we always try to take care of them with our welcoming atmosphere and excellent staffŒ.”

St. George’s Donuts • Springfield

OPEN: 7 days a week, 3 AM to 2 PM • 3628 East Sunshine Street • 417-881-7515 • StGDonuts.com

Longtime employees start making the sweet treats at St. George’s Donuts at 1  daily. From the apple fritters to old-fashioned buttermilk doughnuts, everything is made from ingredients with no added preservatives. Employees roll out dough by hand instead of using machines, and they make all the icings and glazes onsite.

“We make everything the old-fashioned way,” Nick St. George says.

The business is a family aŠair. Charles and Katy St. George opened the first St. George’s Donuts in Springfield in 1971 and a second location a decade later. Now, the couple’s children own three locations—two in Springfield and one in Marshfield.

Nick owns the Sunshine Street shop, which carries 50 to 60 diffŠerent items daily, including glazed doughnuts, iced rolls, cinnamon twists, and doughnuts filled with Bavarian, angel, or fruit-flavored creams. Customers rave about the old-fashioned buttermilk doughnuts and cake doughnuts in fan-favorite flavors such as Butterfinger, Oreo, strawberry icing, red velvet, and maple.

Nick looks for inspiration for new doughnut flavors when he travels, and he works with his staffŠ to try out diŠfferent combinations. But he says his customers still prefer traditional doughnut flavors because people are nostalgic and have happy memories of going with their families to get doughnuts.

The massive cinnamon rolls at Flour de Lis Bakery are top sellers.

Flour De Lis Bakery • De Soto

OPEN: Monday through Friday, 6 AM to 4 PM; Saturday, 7 AM to 1 PM; closed Sundays • 12909 State Route 21 • 636-586-6200 • Facebook.com/FDLBakes

Although Flour de Lis Bakery has only been open since August 2016, there are many days when the line stretches out the door. Customers say the doughnuts are like nothing else they have ever tasted. Repeat customers are known to drive long distances to purchase the bakery’s doughnuts, pastries, and from-scratch cheesecake.

Owner Brandon Boyer says the reason is because everything is made from scratch using his great-aunt’s 100-year-old recipe. The baking process begins at 3 AM to make anywhere from 20 to 35 dozen doughnuts and pastries a day. It takes at least 250 pounds of flour, 100 pounds of powdered sugar, and 100 pounds of granulated sugar to make the standard rotation of cake doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, cream horns, sourdough rolls, éclairs, cookies, cheesecakes, and cakes. Brandon took third place in the semipro sculpted cake category at the ShowMe Sweets Cake Competition in 2017.

He says top sellers are the massive cinnamon rolls, flaky fruit-filled pies, and his favorite, the “highly addictive” white cake doughnut dipped in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

Flour de Lis provides local restaurant Dog House with freshly glazed doughnuts about four times the size of a regular doughnut for their monster doughnut-sandwiched burgers.

The Tiger Kill, a chocolate-and-white dough twist, is a Ridgewood Donuts and Bakery specialty.

Ridgewood Donuts and Bakery • Kansas City

OPEN: Tuesday through Sunday, 5:30 to 11:30 AM• 4309 Blue Ridge Boulevard • 816-353-8333 • RidgewoodKC.com

Greg Gering has been a baker for 42 years, and he still makes doughnuts the “old-school way.” Starting just before midnight, he and his staˆ mix dough by hand, which he says “gives the doughnuts more tenderness, love, and care.” After the dough rises and is knocked down, employees roll it out, cut it, add the finishing touches, and put it in the display case by 3 ‘’.

“Our doughnuts give our customers a taste of home,” Greg says. “It’s like a hug in the morning.”

In 2000, Greg bought Ridgewood Donuts and Bakery, the oldest doughnut shop in its original building in Kansas City. It was first opened by Bill Penny in 1956. Greg says he bought the business because of its eclectic fan base; he’s now feeding six generations of families and customers from around the country. He proudly notes that the shop has fed four presidents. Customers can order in person, by phone, or online.

Greg maintains high standards for making doughnuts and pastries at his busy bakery, churning out 4,000 to 4,500 doughnuts most days. The bakery goes through at least 1,000 pounds each of flour and powdered sugar every day.

The ingredients combine to make deliciousness in the form of cake and old-fashioned doughnuts, bismarck’s, long johns, doughnut cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and other treats. Sometimes Greg makes his favorite, French crullers, traditional fried, ring-shaped doughnuts with a light, airy texture.

A top-selling item is the old-fashioned doughnut apple fritter. “I’ll put my apple fritter up against anyone else’s because mine is handmade and delicious,” Greg says.

Sweet Emotions Bakery fills its banana split doughnut with whipped banana pudding.

Sweet Emotions Bakery • St. Joseph

OPEN: Tuesday through Friday, 5:30 to 11 AM; Saturday and Sunday, 5:30 AM to noon • 3506 South 22nd Street • 816-259-5070 • On Facebook: Sweet Emotions Donut

John Obermier, owner of Sweet Emotions Bakery, says his business is not your ordinary doughnut shop. His customers find a variety of unusual but delicious flavors such as the maple bacon bismarck filled with whipped peanut butter. He creates a new doughnut flavor each month and experiments to create unique combinations his customers will enjoy.

“I don’t like to be average,” John says. “I like to stand out from the pack.”

Customer flavor favorites are strawberry cheesecake filled with strawberry jelly and topped with cream cheese frosting and graham cracker crumbs; banana split filled with whipped banana pudding and topped with fresh strawberries, bananas, and a cherry and drizzled with caramel and chocolate; long johns topped with chocolate, maple, or buttercream; giant fritters; and cinnamon rolls “big enough to feed a family.”

The business has been open for two years. John and his staffˆ start making doughnuts at 7:30 each evening and have the display cases filled by 4 AM‘’. Customers may walk in or place orders via phone or Facebook for doughnuts, pastries, cookies, and cakes.

Top photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash