Monday, March 15, 2010

Irish Potatoes

Irish Potatoes combine some of my favorite ingredients to make a yummy confection that delights my taste buds.  I've had a few years where I've screwed up and didn't get my ingredients ahead of time and wound up going from store to store on St. Patrick's day in desperate search of either coconut or confectioners sugar.  This year, I was thinking ahead and I got everything I needed about two weeks ahead of time.  I wasn't going to make them this year since I gave up candy for Lent, but I gave into Madeline's requests and decided I'd plunge my hands wrist deep into temptation.  Over 110 Irish Potatoes later, and I'm happy to say that I didn't lick my candy coated fingers once.  Usually I can be found gnawing the candy off my hands while I make these.  I did, however, put my head over the mixing bowl and inhale the intoxicating aroma of what I'm certain are my most delicious batch Irish potatoes to date. Sigh.
Irish Potatoes, the perfect St. Patrick's day treat!

Making Irish Potatoes is really very simple.  My recipe calls for 2lbs of confectioners sugar (also known as 10X sugar), 1/2 butter, 1 tsp of vanilla, 1/4 cup of half and half, 1/2lb of sweetened shredded coconut and cinnamon.  To make them you'll need to combine the confectioners sugar and melted butter.  I strongly suggest mixing this with your hands.  It's a bit messy, but it works the best.  I highly recommend you do not try to use your KitchenAid stand mixer to make these, unless you want to damage it.  I did this with my brand new mixer 9 years ago.  It hasn't functioned the same ever since.  Just knead the sugar and melted butter until it's all crumbly.  It will take on a lumpy yellowish appearance. Next add the vanilla and half and half.  The idea is to work this into a ball, but it's going to be a sticky lump that doesn't resemble a ball in the slightest.  Next you will need to work the coconut into the dough.  Once it is worked in nicely, you're ready to start making your Irish potatoes.  To make the potatoes you'll need to pinch off some dough and roll it into a ball or potato shape between your palms.  Once that is accomplished you'll need to roll the ball in cinnamon.  I sprinkle cinnamon onto a large plate for this part.   I managed to get about 110 Irish Potatoes that are a small to medium size.  They're very rich, so you don't want to make them too big.

If you don't like cinnamon, you could use coco powder for the final step.   This recipe can also be used to make coconut eggs for Easter.  Instead of rolling them into a ball shape, you'll make them look like eggs and coat them in melted semi-sweet chocolate.

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