Purchased too many Thanksgiving sweet potatoes? Turn them into a Hanukkah treat with sweet potato casserole latkes! Though these are so tasty, you may want to buy extra just for the occasion. Pro tip: This recipe uses potato starch instead of flour to bind them for an extra crunch factor. And add a small piece of carrot to your frying pan; it magically absorbs all the brown bits that fall off, so your latkes don’t burn.
For the candied pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the pecans and toast, while stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove the pecans from the pan and set aside.
Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, 2 1/4 teaspoons water and cayenne, if using, to the saucepan. Simmer over medium, stirring, for about 1 minute or until the sugar is melted, all the ingredients are combined and the sauce is thick. Add the pecans back into the saucepan and stir to coat evenly.
Spread the coated pecans evenly on the baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. You can make these up to 5 days ahead of time and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
For the latkes: Now, latke time! Peel and shred the sweet potatoes one at a time using the large holes of a box grater or with a food processor into a large bowl. Dry the shredded potatoes very well with a towel, squeezing out all the moisture. Dry potatoes lead to crunchier latkes! Add the eggs, potato starch, salt and cinnamon to the sweet potatoes and mix to combine. You can use a large spoon or your hands.
Set up a cooling rack over paper towels near your stovetop.
Heat up a large pan over medium-high heat and add canola oil. You want enough oil to come up slightly on the sides of your latkes. When it’s ready, the oil will sizzle when you add a tiny bit of potato batter. Pro tip: Add a small piece of carrot to your frying pan; it magically absorbs all the brown bits that fall off so your latkes don’t burn.
Scoop 1/4 packed cup of potato mixture into the pan for each latke and flatten slightly into a patty. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Fry in batches and do not overcrowd the pan, as that lowers the oil temperature, which can affect the crunchiness of your latkes. Place the latkes on the rack and let cool slightly.
For assembly: There are 2 options for toasting your marshmallow topping. I don’t recommend broiling with the marshmallows on the latkes, as it’s easy to slightly burn the latke edges. If you have a culinary torch at home, pile about 8 mini marshmallows onto the center of each of the latkes. Torch until browned and soft, and immediately place a few candied pecans into the marshmallows.
If you don’t have a torch, preheat your broiler to low and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Make 10 to 12 piles of 8 mini marshmallows around the baking sheet (one for each latke you made). Broil for 1 minute just until browned and soft. Use a spatula to place a pile of the marshmallows on each latke. Top immediately with a few candied pecans and serve!
Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flame and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should be used only in well-ventilated areas. Follow torch manufacturer's instructions for use.