Irish potato candies originated in Philadelphia among Irish immigrants, and they have turned into a St. Patrick’s Day tradition there. Have I ever told you that my family is from Philadelphia? Maybe I have or maybe I haven’t. I can’t remember, but we are. Even though I consider myself a true Wisconsin girl, I was still born in Philadelphia and the majority of my family resides in the region. Strangely enough, I don’t actually have any recollection of eating these little spuds when we lived there, but my mom’s made them for St. Patrick’s Day many times, and they’re always a treat.
They don’t actually contain any potato, but instead they resemble potatoes. These “potatoes” are stuffed full of my favorite sweet ingredients – cream cheese, coconut and cinnamon – making them my absolute favorite candy in the whole world. The candies are pretty simple to make. You’ll be completely finished in under an hour, which (in my opinion) isn’t too long for such an amazing confection. Just mix up the cream cheese and coconut filling and roll it in some cinnamon. Rolling them into potato shapes is totally optional, but really does add to the cuteness. Serve them in a brown paper bag – a.k.a. a potato sack.
Just a quick note: I roll all of my filling out before starting with the cinnamon to keep the cinnamon off my hands and prevent it from getting into the center of the candies. Once I roll them in the cinnamon, I roll them back and forth in the palms of my hands to make a more oval, potato-like shape.
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/2 package)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 - 1½ tablespoons cinnamon
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla.
- Slowly add powdered sugar and continue mixing to incorporate - scraping sides when necessary.
- Add coconut and continue to mix until combined.
- Roll mixture into tablespoon-size balls.
- Roll each piece cinnamon to coat.
- Once coated, roll candies into a potato shape - if desired.
- Set on a parchment or foil lined cookie sheet and chill until set.
- Store candies in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out some of my other Irish inspired posts: