If you've never heard of potato candy, read on.
And if your notion of potato candy is actually something that contains no potato at all, but is simply a mixture of cream cheese and sugar, you've been fooled!
Yes, this is REAL potato candy, featuring REAL potato.
WARNING: It also contains a lot of sugar. A whole lot. Enough to make me shriek in horror when I first came across the recipe.
Potato candy is a favorite with my husband's family when the holidays roll around, and it seems to be that way for a good number of people I've met from Eastern Kentucky. Their eyes light up when they see it, and they burst into tales of childhoods past, and the beloved candy their granny would make.
Some know it as pinwheel candy, some as peanut butter roll. But make no mistake... it's potato candy!
The origins of the recipe seem to be lost in time. While researching A Culinary History of Kentucky, I came across many recollections of it, but no real clue as to when it was first created. There are many mentions of it being popular during the Depression era, and that may indeed be true; it does, after all, require few ingredients, although I wonder about the availability of sugar in such quantities. Why a potato? It provides enough starch and liquid to bind the sugar.
Whatever its origin, potato candy is sure to be a hit at your Christmas party, and I can guarantee no-one will guess its vegetable ingredient.
1 small potato
approximately 2 lbs powdered sugar
Also make sure you have some waxed paper before you begin.
The amount of sugar you need will depend upon the size of your potato, but I found I needed a (gasp!) full 2-lb bag for one potato.
Peel your potato and boil until soft. Drain off the water. Put the potato in a bowl and mash with a fork.
|See, I told you there was a potato in this candy!|
Using either a fork or a spatula, begin mixing the potato and the sugar. It will quickly turn into a liquidy mix as the starches in the potato break down and combine with the sugar.
Keep mixing and adding more powdered sugar until you have a stiff, sticky dough. At this point, you are ready to move on to the rolling-out stage.
I use a piece of waxed paper on my kitchen surface to help with clean up. Sprinkle the paper with more sugar, put the dough on the paper, and then sprinkle with more sugar. If you are tempted to skip the additional sugar, don't. As I mentioned, the dough is sticky and difficult to work with so it will make your life easier.
Roll the dough to a thickness of about a quarter inch.
|My dough actually looks pretty good here!|
Spread a nice thick layer of creamy peanut butter over the rolled-out dough.
Now carefully roll the dough up, as if you were making a Swiss roll. If you can make it nice and round, great. If not, don't worry. Mine was less than round, but hey, we're going for rustic!
Now roll it up in the waxed paper. This will help it keep its shape, and prevent it from hardening too much.
I cut the roll in half for ease of movement. Place the roll(s) in a Ziploc bag, and put in the fridge to set for about 3 hours. When you are ready to eat it, simply slice into rounds and you're ready to go.
I also attempted a twist on this with some peppermint potato candy. For this, I split the mashed potato in half. Mix half with powdered sugar as above. Mix the other half with powdered sugar but also add some red food coloring and peppermint extract. After rolling out the white base, spread the peppermint filling and roll as per usual.
Both of these were a hit at last night's Holiday Food with Kentucky Authors event at Joseph-Beth in Lexington.