My little Polish heart is filled to the brim, just like these seasonal donuts.

Pączki are filled doughnuts found in Polish cuisine that usually make an appearance around Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. Traditional paczki share some common elements: sweet filling, dough, grain alcohol, icing or bits of dried orange zest, and lots of powdered sugar. These super-sweet treats are meant to be savored before the 40 days of lent and fasting get underway.

In some areas of the Midwest, there is even a Paczki day, held the Thursday before Mardi Gras. (This year it would be Thursday, February 16th, with Ash Wednesday being February 22nd.)

My personal favorite flavor combination of the dessert is one that is filled with custard and dipped in chocolate. It is a super special treat that is made extra special by it only being available for a limited time every year. Other popular flavors are raspberry, apple, and I've even seen lemon filled. All will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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The Scandinavian heritage is huge in this state, but I think we need to celebrate Polish heritage as well, and not just through delicious donuts. According to MinnPost, 1 in 20 residents of Minnesota are of Polish ancestry. There are a lot of us, and the larger populations tend to reside in Central Minnesota.

Polish and proud, enjoy your paczki proudly my fellow Polaks!

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