Monday, March 9, 2015

Irish liqueur Potato Candy: a childhood treat grows up

While I admit I'm someone who indulges my sweet tooth year round, there are some treats which sadly only make a fleeting appearance on holidays (jelly beans, candy canes and conversation hearts all have their hay days) and comes St Patrick's Day my go-to confection has always been Irish potato candy
Ironically neither authentically Irish nor a potato (although some recipes call for them), this century old, rather humble looking spud-shaped candy originated not in the Emerald Isle but in my home city of Philadelphia, Pa. In the rush of "green everything" which appears March 17th, this brown quirky confection is a delightful blend of coconut, sugar and cream cheese, sprinkled with cinnamon to resemble Ireland's famous crops. This year I thought I'd revisit this classic childhood delight, trying a more a "grown up" version with a splash of liqueur, hint of coffee and dusting of dark cocoa. While there are many of these "spiked" versions online, some incorporating nuts, whiskey or mascarpone cheese (yum), I opted for this adaptation, tweaking it for a more adult palate. 

You'll Need
1/4 cup butter (softened)
7 oz. shredded coconut
(you can use sweetened or unsweetened according to taste)
4 oz.cream cheese (softened)
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons Irish liqueur
(Bailey's, Irish whiskey or other liqueur)
1/2- 1 teaspoon instant coffee2
 1tbsp Cocoa powder and 1 tbsp cinnamon (mixed)
Add instant coffee to liqueur and stir or warm in microwave ten seconds to dissolve and set aside.*the addition of coffee yields a slighter darker color 
than "normal" potato candy and can be omitted if desired
 Beat butter and cream cheese until blended
Add vanilla and liqueur mixture and then blend in sugar a bit at a time
stir in coconut
Chill 1 hour or more
Once chilled, mixture can be molded into potato shapes (this gets messy)
roll in cocoa mixture brushing off extra coating and chill again (about 1/2 hour)

For a fun way to serve or give, you can make your own tiny bushel baskets from clear plastic cups and Popsicle sticks.
If desired brush sticks with a quick wash of paint for a rustic look and trim with scissors to size. Hot glue around cup and let dry. Wrap a band of paper or ribbon around basket gluing in place. 
I created labels using images from
             Line with wax paper and fill with potatoes. Pop in a toothpick with label 
      Display on a moss lined tray and add Irish accents
Serve with Irish Coffee or an after dinner drink
Greens and an Irish flag add spirit

       Yeat's Country, card from gift shop at  drumcliffe tea house
      Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Interior Kilronan Castle Hotel
Photos CPaul2011
celtic knots from Graphics Fairy 

For more St. Patrick's day ideas visit our past posts
Bailey's and berry Pavlova
Ireland in a Jar terrariums



  1. Wow! Something new! Have never heard of this type of candy, and what perfect favors for St. Patricks! Love the presentation...and love Baileys!

    1. Thanks so much Ruth,
      I't's funny - Ive heard so many people say they never heard of these candies- I'm thinking it must be a local Philadelphia treat (and baileys is good in anything lol)
      Happy St. Patricks!

  2. Anything with Baileys is good! I have seen these before and they make my mouth water! Happy St. Patrick's Day and Happy Tea Day!

    1. Thanks - I've been making them for years but this is a first try with the baileys!
      Happy St Patrick's :)

  3. Christina, I've never had potato candy but what a novel treat. They remind me of our famous PEI potatoes. And of course, everyone knows that PEI and Ireland are somewhat akin in their landscape. I have never had Baileys either. Love the little sheep! Your presentation is simply wonderful and thank you for sharing it with us and joining me for tea.


    1. Thanks Sandi!
      I think you're right about the landscapes!
      Hope you give these a try they are such fun to make (and eat) - you could call them PEI potatoes! :)
      I always enjoy being part of your teas

  4. I also have a sweet tooth and would love to sample your potato candy!

    1. Thanks Margie!
      They are very sweet so a little goes a long way :)

  5. These look great, I love the clever presentation!

  6. Oh wow... I think I need these in my life! Thank you :)

    1. LOL! So glad you enjoyed the post! They are a little addicting :)

  7. Anything with coffee and Bailey's in it has to be good! I love how you created the little baskets for them out of popsicle sticks, very creative!

    1. Thanks so much- I couldn't agree with you more about coffee and baileys lol!
      So glad you stopped by!

  8. Just gorgeous decorating, you are so creative. Love the Irish in a jar. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. oops typos-
      Thanks so much Kathy! Your Blog Hops are such fun! :)

  9. I didn't get around to many blogs last week so nearly missed yours. Glad I found it today. We celebrate St. Patrick's Day here since my husband is first generation American with a Northern Ireland dad and a Canadian/Irish Mom. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. Thanks for visiting!
      With Irish on both sides, St. Patrick's must be a big holiday at your house!

  10. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share

  11. I am extremely impressed along with your writing abilities, Thanks for this great share.


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