Candy-lovers and sweet tooths alike will never guess the secret ingredient in these old-fashioned Maine potato candies. The history behind potato candy is a difficult one to trace, usually dead-ending into the simple explanation that the recipe was "passed down from generation to generation." Potatoes were originally introduced to the Americas by European settlers, who likely brought some version of a recipe for sweetened potato treats with them. Many potato candy recipes that use creamy peanut butter have been traced back to the Depression-era, but these chocolate covered confections from Maine are quite unique.
These homemade potato, coconut, and chocolate treats are anything but boring. This recipe's take on chocolate covered potato candy appears in the Taste of Home Cookbook, reprinted with permission. The mashed potatoes lend a creamy and rich texture to coconut flakes. To top it off, the sweetened coconut potato bars are then dipped in semisweet and dark chocolate candy coating that hardens for a nice, sweet crunch. These homemade candy bars are extremely easy to make, and even more fun to serve. Have your candy eaters try and guess the "secret ingredient." You'll definitely want to capture their faces when you reveal the potatoey secret!
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 cups unsweetened coconut (flaked)
- 3/4 cup mashed potatoes (cold, plain potatoes; do not use leftover mashed potatoes made with milk or butter)*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound dark chocolate candy coating
- 1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
- 1 teaspoon butter (as needed for greasing the pan)
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, coconut flakes, mashed potatoes, vanilla, and salt.
- Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and butter the foil. Spread coconut mixture into pan. Cover and chill overnight.
- Once chilled, cut into 2 x 1-inch rectangles. Cover and freeze.
- In a microwave or double boiler, melt candy coating and chocolate chips.
- Dip frozen coconut potato bars in melted coating and chocolate chips and place on waxed paper to harden.
- Store candy in an airtight container.
*Ingredients Note: We prefer using a good old boiled, peeled, and mashed Russet potato for these candies. While it may be tempted to opt for leftover mashed potatoes from dinner earlier in the week, the only potatoes that should be used in this coconut potato candy recipe are completely plain with no butter, cream, or salt added. If you're looking to save some time, however, you can set aside some plain boiled potatoes the next time you're making a mashed potato side just for this recipe!