Have you ever had a hangover so bad that you thought you might expire? Ever had such a hangover in Portland, Maine? Oh good, so you are familiar with Potato Doughnuts. (Shout out to The Holy Doughnut, thanks for saving my life more than once). If you have your life together (as Olivia Rodrigo would say, ‘Good For You’) and need an explanation, potato donuts are cake doughnuts that are actually delicious. Hear me out. We all know that yeasted doughnuts are the G.O.A.T. They are light, fluffy, ethereal and everything you could ever want in a breakfast confection. Cake doughnuts are the black sheep of the doughnut family, and often times dry, dense and frankly not worth the fuss or calories.
Now if adding mashed potatoes to your next batch of doughnuts sounds completely insane, have we met? Just kidding. We probably have because anyone reading this right now is probably related to me (thank you for your support and just a reminder that you have to love me, we are related or married). Potato doughnuts are anything but new, in fact thanks to good old fashioned google, I learned that they have been around for over 150 years, and the original Krispy Kremes were actually made with potato starch. And not to be a nerd (disclaimer, I am a nerd), but the science behind potato doughnuts (much like the COVID vaccine) is pretty clear; by using more potato starch via mashed potatoes or potato flakes, you can use less flour which will develop less gluten yielding a lighter and fluffier final product.
I’ve been making a version of my own potato doughnuts for years, but decided to take things one step further by swapping the traditional leftover mashed potatoes with mashed sweet potatoes to amp up the color and sweetness. Whipping up a batch of doughnuts will always remind me of the day my youngest son Teddy was born. We knew he was going to make an early debut, but a few days before his planned c-section, I decided to make use of some Thanksgiving leftovers and made a batch for breakfast. Let’s just say Teddy arrived several hours later and I smelled like doughnuts the first time we met, which to be honest, is very on brand.
This recipe is an adaptation from this classic recipe from Yankee Magazine.
Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling (312 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (57 grams)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (144 grams)
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup packed mashed sweet potatoes (125 grams)
- 1/3 cup sourdough discard (50 grams)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sour cream (full fat)
- Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice and salt. Set aside. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and a cooling rack and set aside.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and sugar and cream together at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add sweet potato and sourdough discard and mix at low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add sour cream to the milk and mix until smooth. Set aside.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the stand mixer bowl and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds. Add milk mixture and mix for 30 seconds before adding the remaining flour. Remove the stand mixer bowl and fold the batter together by hand with a spatula, making sure everything is incorporated.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add about 3-4 inches of vegetable oil and bring to 375˚F over medium low heat, using a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
- While the oil preheats, roll out the doughnuts. On a heavily floured surface, pat the dough into an even rectangle, about 1/2 inch in thickness, with your hands. Using a doughnut cutter (or two round cutters, one large and one small) cut the dough into doughnut shapes. Place each doughnut onto a square of parchment paper. Re-roll the dough until it has all been used up. Reserve doughnut holes (if you wish) and fry those at the end.
- Mix the cinnamon sugar topping together in a large bowl and set aside. When the oil reaches temperature, add the doughnuts 3 at a time and immediately remove and discard parchment paper. Cook doughnuts for 2-3 minutes on each side, then carefully remove with a spider strainer to prepared sheet pan. Drain doughnuts on each side, then toss in cinnamon sugar once cool enough to handle, but still slightly warm. Repeat with remaining doughnuts. To fry the doughnut holes, add to the hot oil and cook for about 45 second on each side. Remove with spider strainer and drain before tossing in cinnamon sugar.
Tips & Tricks: You will need a decent amount of bench flour to roll out the doughnuts as the dough is very sticky so don’t be afraid to be heavy handed! To make frying the doughnuts easier, I like to cut squares of parchment paper slightly larger than the doughnuts and drop the doughnuts in right on the paper, then remove and carefully discard the paper once it starts floating around in the pot. If you do not have a sourdough starter, you can skip this ingredient and just add a couple extra tablespoons of flour to the dough.
I’ve had the bourbon shortbread cookies and they taste like a true “Old Fashion”.
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