This Irish potato candy is the perfect little treat to give out on St. Patrick's Day. With just the right amount of sweetness, it'll put a spring in your step!
I first had this candy years ago when I was working outside the home. A friend brought in a plate of it and set it in the kitchen with a copy of the recipe. When your workplace consists mostly of women, watch how those women flock to the food like a swarm of ants. Haha!
What is Irish Potato Candy?
Contrary to what you might think, this potato candy actually has NO potatoes in it! There IS a candy made from mashed potatoes that involves peanut butter that I grew up on, but that's another post entirely.
Irish potato candy is similar to a coconut Mounds bar that's been dusted in cinnamon for an ever-so-clever resemblance to an actual potato. I don't think they're even Irish in origin (they're mainly found in Philadelphia), but because they look like a potato and potatoes are a staple in Irish cooking, you get the gist. See's Candy also makes something similar.
This recipe is very similar to my chocolate-dipped Easter eggs recipe. It's one of my most beloved recipes and is constantly requested every Easter by family and friends. I always use cream cheese in my Easter eggs because it really makes a difference in how creamy they are. Plus, they're naturally gluten free!!
Making Potato Candy
You'll be surprised by just how easy these candies are to make! I'd even say that with a little help from an adult, kids could certainly make this recipe. The essentials are:
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Shredded coconut
- Vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon
Start by creaming the butter and cream cheese together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, followed by the salt, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract. Blend until well combined. The mixture will be similar to a thick cookie dough.
Using a small spoon, scoop about a large walnut-sized piece out into one hand and roll between your palms until somewhat smooth, but don't make a perfect ball. Flatten and elongate the dough to resemble a small potato.
Roll the potato in the ground cinnamon and shake it in one hand to remove excess cinnamon. The more rustic it looks, the better. Place the "potatoes" on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Finish rolling and dusting the rest of the potatoes, and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to firm up, about one hour.
How Long Will the Candy Last?
These cute little potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a sealed container or large gallon-sized plastic bag. Serve them cold.
Can I Use Finely Shredded Unsweetened Coconut?
The original recipe calls for sweetened shredded coconut, but I LOVE the idea of using unsweetened "desiccated" coconut. I only had the sweetened stuff at home, but next time I make these you can bet I'll be trying the other kind.
Whether you're Irish or not, you'll love this Irish potato candy, which can be eaten any time of the year.
Irish Potato Candy
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoon or 56 g) butter, softened
- 4 ounces (½ of an 8-ounce block or 113 g) cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 cups (one pound or 454 g) powdered sugar
- 2½ cups (7 ounce bag) sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- In a mixing, cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla extract, salt, and coconut. Beat well to combine. Mixture will have the consistency of stiff cookie dough.
- Using a small spoon, scoop large walnut-sized portions into your hands and roll between your palms, flattening and elongating to create a potato shape.
- Dredge each potato in ground cinnamon, shaking loosely in one hand to remove excess cinnamon. Place potatoes on parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
- Chill in refrigerator until firm, about one hour. Store in refrigerator in covered container for up to 5 days. Serve chilled.