Have you ever tried Irish potato candy? It’s a sweet snack that—despite the name—has absolutely no potato in it. Unless you’re from Philly, you’re probably unfamiliar with the cream cheese–based confection. Let’s just say you’ve been missing out.
What Is Irish Potato Candy?
Although it’s called Irish potato candy, this sweet treat neither hails from Ireland nor contains potato in the ingredients. It’s a hyper-regional dessert made in the Philadelphia area, and it’s especially popular around St. Patrick’s Day. The bites are called potatoes because they look like tiny spuds, but they’re actually made from a mixture of cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and coconut that’s rolled in cinnamon.
In other words, these potato candies taste like a fancy Mounds candy bar, but with cinnamon instead of chocolate. And lucky for you, making them requires no cooking and just six ingredients.
5 ounces (85g) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (57g) salted butter, at room temperature
1 pound (453g) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
10 ounces (283g) sweetened shredded coconut
Ground cinnamon, as needed for finishing
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then add about a quarter of the confectioners’ sugar and mix until incorporated. Continue to add the sugar in three more additions, mixing until it’s fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the coconut and mix to combine. Roll the mixture into balls (about 2 teaspoons each) and then roll them into oblong shapes. (It’s OK for each piece to be a little different, like real potatoes.) Continue until all the candy is shaped.
3. Roll each piece of candy in ground cinnamon until fully coated. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.