For some reason I cannot pass by a Tim Hortons without stopping in for one of my very favourite treats – the Dutchie. It doesn’t matter if I’m on my way home from a 5-course dinner, or heading off to work right after breakfast, if there’s a Timmy’s en route, it’s Dutchie time! With a large black on the side.
Having finally come to grips with my addiction, I thought it time to do a little research on the iconic Tim Hortons’ treat, so here’s more than you probably ever wanted to know about Dutchies.
The first Tim Horton’s opened in Hamilton in 1964, and the first two items on the menu were Apple Fritters and... the Dutchie! Apparently Tim’s personal favourite donut, the Dutchie is now 44 years old, and while some haughty epicureans claim it tastes its age, it remains a top seller for Tim’s.
Did you know that the original Hamilton store provided free coffee to police officers until sometime in the mid-80s? The story is that having a bunch of cops popping in at all hours for free coffee and a donut (not sure if those were free) was better and cheaper than having a security system installed.
Back to Dutchies... No one seems to know where the name Dutchie came from, and Tim Hortons isn’t saying, so that leaves it open to speculation, but most folks seem to think it has something to do with Pennsylvania. I don’t know – do they grow raisins there?
However it came by its name, it’s still just junk food you say. Well not quite. In the glass-half-empty, glass-half-full continuum the Dutchie is clearly on the half-full end of the scale registering a solid 57% on the Junk Food Index (0 is Junky, 100 is Good). I mean, 35% almost gave Stephen Harper a majority, so 57% has to be absolutely brilliant, eh?
And at only 250 calories per serving it’s a veritable lightweight compared to a 360-calorie Walnut Crunch, a box of 12 assorted Timbits (~840 calories) or a Jos Louis (another quintessential Canadian snack food, typically eaten with a Pepsi chaser) which weighs in at nearly 300 calories plus the Pepsi.
As one would expect, the recipe is as closely held as KFC’s special spices, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to replicate those “sultana-studded pillows of sugary-glazed, yeast-risen goodness”. Hop over to Confessions of a Cardamon Addict for one such recipe. I can’t vouch for the Dutchie-ness of the resulting product, but it sure looks good. And she has lots of other mouth-watering goodies there too.
Finally, why is it Tim Hortons instead of Tim Horton’s? Thank Quebec’s language legislation that requires French signage. Since the possessive apostrophe isn’t used in French the easiest way to come up with a name that could be used across the country and still comply with the requirements of Quebec’s petty bureaucrats was to simply drop the apostrophe. So that’s what they did in the mid-1990’s, although I understand there are still some older stores that have the original with-an-apostrophe sign – just not in Quebec.
Now if only they delivered...