These crisp confections are given a quick twist with a fork while they're frying, which causes them to look like—yes—pigs' ears.
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- Vegetable oil
- 3 cups light muscovado sugar
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add 1⁄2 cup plus 1 tbsp. water and stir with a wooden spoon to form a slightly sticky dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently into a ball. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball; cover with a clean towel.
Pour oil into a large pot to a depth of 2". Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°. Working on a floured surface, roll each dough ball out into a thin 5 1⁄2" circle and set aside, covered with a towel. Carefully drop dough circles one at a time into oil and, when each bobs to the surface and opens up completely, place a fork in the center and twist to form the "pig's ear". (The trick is to hold the fork in place for 10 seconds, then let go.) Continue frying, turning once, until light golden brown, about 2 1⁄2 minutes. Transfer to a rack to let cool.
Put sugar and 1⁄2 cup water into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until the syrup reaches 240° on a candy thermometer (the soft ball stage), 10–12 minutes. Remove from heat, add butter, and stir syrup until slightly thickened, 2–3 minutes. Working quickly, drizzle syrup evenly over the pigs' ears, allowing it to fill the crevices. Sprinkle with pecans while syrup is still hot; let cool.