Culinary Capers – March 2020

Regardless of whether you have already celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, or about to (depending on  when this publication is delivered to your home), you may want to make Irish Potatoes. But these are not baked, boiled or fried and contain not a smidgeon of actual potatoes.   

According to Wikipedia,  Irish Potatoes are a traditional Philadelphia candy combining butter, cream cheese, coconut and confectioners’ sugar, shaped to  resemble small potatoes and rolled in cinnamon. When I made the candy, I instead rolled the mixture into balls, and because they are  extremely sweet, substituted cocoa powder for half of  the cinnamon. If you like Mounds bars, you will love Irish Potatoes, which freeze well and taste great frozen.  

IRISH POTATOES

(Adapted from Baked Bree.com)

  • ½ stick butter, softened 
  • ½ brick (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2½  cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

  Using an electric stand mixer,   beat together the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla, then gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until well combined. Slowly add the coconut until well mixed. Chill the mixture  about 30 minutes if desired, for easier handling. 

   Meanwhile, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop out portions of the “potato” mixture and roll into balls about 1½ inches in diameter and shape them to resemble small potatoes, making a few little indentations for “eyes,” or just roll the balls in the cinnamon or cinnamon/cocoa mixture. Place them on the cookie sheet and refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving. They can be refrigerated 7 to 10 days in an airtight container or  frozen.  


  While browsing the web for more candy recipes, I came across an irresistible, easy recipe for homemade PayDay candy bars, and then another and another. Some of the recipes called for dry-roasted instead of salted peanuts (when I made the bars, I mixed 1 cup of dry-roasted peanuts with the salted peanuts because I didn’t  have enough of the latter). And when I learned that PayDay, which was introduced  in 1932, is ranked the 13th most popular candy and snack brand in the United States by pollsters You Gov and 24/7 Wall Street, I could hardly wait to make the bars. Mine were delicious but thicker than the ones I  bought, as I used a 7×11-inch pan. So, I made them again, using a 9×13-inch pan, which resulted in bars that were more like the commercial candy.

KNOCKOFF PAYDAY CANDY BARS

(Adapted)

  • 3 cups salted peanuts, divided 
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 10-ounce package peanut butter chips 
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 14-ounce  can sweetened condensed milk

Pour half of the peanuts into a    buttered or sprayed 9×13-inch baking pan, spreading them evenly. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and peanut butter chips and stir to combine. Add the marshmallows and condensed milk and stir until the marshmallows are completely melted. Pour the hot mixture over the peanuts in the baking pan, then sprinkle with the remaining peanuts, tapping them down lightly with a spoon. Refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours, then cut into bars and enjoy.


And if you wondered what the other favorite candy brands  of Americans are  —  according to the poll, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is No. 1. The other most popular, in descending order, are Reese’s, Snickers, Kit Kat, Twix, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Cream, Almond Joy, Dove Chocolate, Ghirardelli, Baby Ruth  (named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth, not the  baseball player), PayDay, Lindt, and Butterfinger and 100 Grand. 

HAPPY SNACKING!

(Contact me at Evycairns@aol.com)

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