Sweet Potato Pecan Praline Donut Holes

Donuts are my favorite! Who doesn’t like the mouth watering sight of a beautifully round, handy sized snack! Delicious to all, the donut is a symbol of true relaxation, indulgence and whimsy. Adults and children like the texture and comfort of slightly warm, freshly baked donuts. Every time I come across a donut account on Instagram, I follow them. Sometimes I jot down the name of the place so I can go there to look at more sumptuous baked delights. The more the merrier!

A few weeks ago while I was in the city I went to ‘Doughnut Plant’ which is my favorite donut eatery. Ever since my visit, I’ve been thinking about making donuts. Initially I was stumped for a flavor though, and so I kept putting it off. Finally I told my husband I was looking for inspiration. I told him that I was going to be making donuts (as soon as possible)and I needed a suggestion as to what to put in the donut. I wanted to bounce some recipe ideas off him and come up with something truly delicious.

He obviously misread my txt because he responded by saying packaging? and asked if I wanted a visual effect like a transparent cover. After clarifying that I was talking about a filling for the donut, he suggested that I use jam. I thought about it for a few more days. Pondering my sweet or savory triumph was now at the forefront of my mind.

I remembered I had just bought sweet potatoes a few hours earlier that day. I decided on making sweet potato donuts.  Pecans go great with sweet potatoes and, pecan pralines even better.  I was now visualizing the appetizing features of my finished recipe! The taste would be sweet yet subtle. Moist enough, yet still a little chewy. I was really looking forward to tasting these!

I made pecan pralines and chopped them up for the top of the donut. They tasted amazing but the pecan pralines looked to clunky for my taste, especially for donut holes. I tried again and decided instead of making the actual pecan pralines, I would make the candy part of the praline and dip the donut in that mixture, and then dip them in the pecans after that. The finished look was more polished this way. They still had the crunch and the full flavor but the look added a delicate quality that I liked.

The smell of the donuts frying was heavenly. Memories of my childhood came flooding back to a time when I just waited for my food, instead of cooking it. There is such comfort in spending therapeutic time measuring ingredients and experimenting until you reach a cooking goal you’re happy with. Everything else disappears and all you have to worry about is what you’re creating. The sweet and nourishing scent is almost as good as finally getting to taste the end result.

They tasted absolutely amazing and they looked great too!

Sweet Potato Pecan Praline Donut Holes

Makes about 24 Donut Holes

3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Candied Pecans
NOLA Pralines 

Directions 

  1. Pour oil into a large saucepan. You want about 3 inches of oil. Use a deep frying thermometer to heat to 375 degrees.
  2. In a bowl whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another bowl whisk mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the sweet potato mixture and whisk until blended.
  5. Use a 2 tsp cookie scoop to scoop the batter into the oil. Work in batches to fry the donuts turning occasionally until the donuts are golden brown (about 3 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to scoop donuts out of the oil. Place donuts on a paper towel to drain.

Candied Pecans
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter cut in cubes 

Place chopped pecans, brown sugar and butter, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Place candied pecans in a food processor to chop pecans into smaller pieces.

I used the NOLA Pralines recipe from a book called Sugar Baby: Confections, Candies, Cakes and Other Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Sugar by Gesine Bullock – Prado

NOLA Pralines
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions 

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, combine the sugars, cream, milk, and salt.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted.
  3. Raise the heat to medium, stop stirring, clip on a candy thermometer, and cook to 235 ° F (113 ° C).
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract.

Working quick dip the donuts into the praline mixture and then into the chopped candied pecans.  Place on a cooking wrack until the praline hardens.  If the praline hardens before all of the donuts are dipped into the mixture, heat the praline mixture back up and add a table spoon or two of heavy cream to loosen it up to finish dipping your donuts. 

This recipe was also made with gluten free flour. I like to use
https://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/gluten-free-measure-for-measure-flour-1-lb


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