Irish Potato Candy!

I like St. Patrick's Day for two reasons--and neither of them is my Irish heritage:

1.) When I was in college, I spent Thanksgivings with my aunt. Randomly one year when we got up silly early for Black Friday, we began speaking in an Irish accent. These things only make sense before 5 AM.

2.) I've written some novels, featuring a character from Ireland. I'm currently in the process of editing the sequel, which features even more characters from Ireland, so I'm up to my neck in Irish accents and slang and culture. I've spent approximately 1,000,000 hours on it ;) .

That being said, until Ireland began capitalizing on the tourism aspect of St. Patrick's Day in the last decade or two, it was mainly a religious holiday in the "Old Country." St. Patrick's Day is way more about celebrating Irish heritage outside of Ireland.

But since I'm outside Ireland, I'm down with that.

It's okay if they crack
First up, I went for an authentic Irish treat: Irish Potato Candy. Yes, apparently they really do make this in Ireland.

The recipe is relatively simple: boil ONE potato (I did two; bad idea) within an inch of its life. Peel and mash it until very smooth (um, wayward? Yeeeeah... I just mashed it.). Mix in powdered sugar until a dough forms.

Now, right here, this sounds pretty improbable. I mean, we've all squished up boiled potatoes and they seem pretty dry, right? But this amazing thing happens as you add sugar. It's hygroscopic, meaning it draws water to it, so it draws all the water trapped in the potatoes--and you're stirring a sweet potato soup for quite a while.

You can add food coloring now if you feel so inclined. Green's my favorite, so I did :) .

It took about four pounds (yes, pounds) of powdered sugar to get to the dough stage. I kneaded the last bits in by hand.

Divide the dough and cover the dough you've set aside. (It may still dry out; I patted a little water on the surface and that seemed to fix it.) Then roll it out quite thin and spread peanut butter on it. If you missed it before, I'm wayward, so I rolled it out until I got tired of rolling. Spreading the peanut butter was the easy part :) .

Then you roll the candy up. I had a handy kitchen blade that I used to encourage any stubborn bits up. To slice the candy into spirals, I used a serrated blade and a gentle sawing motion. The bottom part of the roll always forms corners as you press down, but you can reshape those with your fingers.

Unfortunately, that first batch of spirals only took about a third of my potato dough, so from there, I went for a faster method: the peanut butter potato sandwich. Spread peanut butter over the whole thing, cut down the middle and flip over. Then cut into squares or rectangles (a kitchen blade or a pizza cutter work well for this!). I like to call these "Potato pillows."

Next time, I'd want to try dividing my sugar potato soup into two batches, one white and one green, and either roll them together, alternating with peanut butter, or layer them several times for the pillows (Oh, and roll them a lot thinner). The peanut butter looks like the orange from the Irish flag, and then you've got a great tricolor theme!

Either way, they were surprisingly tasty! (But a little grainy because I didn't mash them as much as I should've. Live and learn!)

How do you like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day?


Just Jaime said...

Sounds kinda weird, but intriguing at the same time. How much sugar???

Heather Landry said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. Oh and... Congrats on the novel! That's really awesome!!

Brave Brooke said...

I'm curious to try this!

Julie E said...

Crazy. I didn't know you could make candy from potatoes. Go figure. I'd love for you to come share at my St. Patty's link party. :)

Jordan McCollum said...

Jaime--uhhh yeah. Mostly it tastes like powdered sugar (and PB) to me.


Tracy said...

This is interesting, i have never heard of these before.

Jamie: So far I am really like the book Mockingjay

Admin1 said...

What a fabulous idea! I have never heard of these before. They seem interesting to say the least! Looks like a super fun kitchen project! How great do they taste? I must wonder if these would be something I'd love or not, but they look fun to make. I enjoyed reading all about them!

Warm wishes,

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