It’s that time of year, when a trip to the grocery store means walking by huge displays of Halloween candy. Do you succumb to the nostalgic sugar buzz of it all, or do you keep on moving, planning your green juice for later?
For me, Halloween is a good time to make a little something sweet, just because snack-sized decadence is all around. Better to give my household some good, organic options and do a sweets binge that way, than to eat our way to the bottom of that treat bag.
Trick or Treaters who come to my house are few these days, so we try to offer two options. Homemade treats for our actual neighbors, and some not-too terrible stuff for the kids we don’t know. I’m not the lady who gives out raisins, though, since I don’t want to have my house TP’ed, or incur the wrath of little sugar junkies.
Chocolate, as you may know, is always appropriate.
So, this year I looked to an old recipe I found when I was researching coconut recipes. Seems that back in the olden times, resourceful American home cooks figured out that they could make candy out of potatoes.It’s thought to be Pennsylvania Dutch or possibly German in origin. Some creative cook came up with an unexpected way to use up potatoes, going sweet instead of savory. Yes, they called it Spud Candy, and it was a super simple mix of mashed potato, powdered sugar, and dried coconut. A dash of vanilla, and voila, nobody even knows that the creamy base is a simple tater.
Not to be confused with Spud Candy, a marshmallow confection made in Idaho, or any number of potato shaped candies that contain no potato. Nope, this is made with spuds.
As a recipe developer, I love the simplicity of this concoction. No boiling syrup, cooked fondant, or other complex candy techniques. I suppose that you could temper the chocolate, but that would be getting away from the point. Smooth, creamy potatoes are an elegant solution to the question of a candy base.
There’s also a simple, old-fashioned step in the recipe, of just letting the candies dry out. Just relax, step back, and let nature take its course. It’s just too easy.
So, since it’s Fall, I thought I would give these a try with sweet potatoes. As you can see in the photo, above, they practically glow with Halloween orange, and that only adds to the appeal.
So, here is my recipe for Yam Candies. Call them something else, like “Coconut Pumpkin Drops” or whatever you want to. They are quietly vegan, gluten free, and organic.
Yam Coconut Candies
Yes, you can do these with regular potatoes, too, I’d stick with waxy potatoes like Yukon Golds or Red potatoes and avoid the mealy texture of baking potatoes.
1/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
3/4 cup unsweetened, shredded dried coconut
3/4 cup organic powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3.5 oz bar Green and Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate
Mash the sweet potatoes until very smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment. Scoop tablespoons of the mixture onto the parchment and place the whole pan in the fridge, letting the candies dry out overnight. The next day, melt the chocolate and let cool slightly. Roll the candies between your palms to make smooth balls, then dip in chocolate, then place on the parchment to dry. If there is a little chocolate left, dollop it on the tops of the candies until all is used. Chill until firm, then store in the fridge in a covered container.