With Halloween right around the corner and Thanksgiving beyond that, it's getting about the time of year when I get to make Potato Candy. Yes, candy made from potatoes.
I don't know the real story behind it. Ever since I was a little pile of baby fat, it's something the kids in my family have eaten. My uncle only made it for Thanksgiving and I think Christmas get-togethers. I've tried to find a bit of history about it over the years but nothing ever concrete. My uncle's family is Irish so that's as stereotypical of a reason as any. What I did seem to track down is that it's pretty unique to the Southeast. We do things weird here, ya'll.
Not long after I married my wife (a Michigan native), her aunt was putting together a family cookbook. Now that I was part of the family I got to contribute a few things. I had my mom and step-mom provide a few entries but I reserved one for myself - Potato Candy. Since the "secret" is out and because freaking @jtimberman got me thinking about candy, I figured I'd add it here for all my interweb friends.
- 1 Potato about the size of your fist. Seriously. Don't get it any bigger. If you've got big hands, find someone with normal sized hands and compare.
- 1 jar of peanut butter. Creamy not Crunchy. The last thing you want to deal with when making this stuff is nuts. Trust me.
- 2 bags of powdered sugar. Yes, you will probably use ALL of it.
- Wax paper and plenty of counter top space
Peel and boil the potato as you would to make mashed potatoes. When it gets sufficiently soft, mash that bastard up. No lumps. Again, trust me. As smooth as you can get it.
Dump it into a large mixing bowl and reach for the strongest and sturdiest spoon/stirring instrument you can find. Start folding in the first bag of powdered sugar.
This is where it gets fun. As the powdered sugar gets mixed in, this thing is going to get thick and heavy very quickly. It's going to be VERY hard to mix. Did you trust me on the sturdy spoon part? You should have. Don't even think about putting this in an electric mixer. It will burn out the motor. I've literally broken 1/4 inch dowel wooden spoons in this stuff. Your arm is going to hurt. You're going to have to put your back into it.
When you physically can't mix it ANYMORE put it aside for a minute. Spread out a nice sized area on the counter with wax paper and cover it in powdered sugar. This crap is sticky and you're going to need to manipulate it. Once you've gotten the workspace ready, start spreading the "mash" on the wax paper. Usually about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick is good. You'll probably screw it up the first time around. I did.
Open the jar of peanut butter and start spreading it on the mash. Peaks are okay but you really want to get a good layer on there.
Now, the hard part
Somehow you're going to need to roll from one end of this beast to the other. Like a jelly roll. It's really hard and don't feel too bad if it isn't pretty. The end result is still good. You'll probably want to cover your hands in powdered sugar.
Once you've got it rolled up, flatten it back out. Stick it in the fridge overnight. The next day, cut it into smallish 1.5inch slices and enjoy.
As I said earlier, I've tried to do some research each year. The best picture I can find outside of making some myself is this one.
You probably won't be able to eat more than one or two pieces. It's REALLY rich and really thick. If you give it to kids, do it early in the day so they have time to burn it off.