St. Patrick's Day is the one day a year when it's socially acceptable to pinch other people, eat questionable green foods, and flaunt our worst Irish accents. Of course I plan on doing all of these things--helloooo, green oatmeal!--but I'm also looking forward to enjoying other St. Patrick's Day goodies, like these Irish Candy Potatoes.
No actual potatoes were harmed in the making of these adorable look-alikes. Instead, a super-simple chocolate walnut fudge is rolled into potato shapes, dredged in a cinnamon-cocoa mixture, and finished with specks of walnuts to create spuds that could fool even the most discerning Irish eye. So if you feel like celebrating St. Patrick's Day with something other than green eggs and ham, give these Irish Candy Potatoes a try!
Irish Candy Potatoes
yield: 24 1-oz (about 2" long) potatoes
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 7-oz jar marshmallow cream or fluff
- 3 tbsp water
- 1.5 cups walnut halves
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and toast the walnuts until they are golden and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Make sure to stir them after every 5 minutes so they don't burn around the edges.
Let the walnuts cool, then chop them into coarse pieces. Of course, you can always use chopped walnut pieces instead, but I think the nuts have a stronger, fresher flavor if you toast and chop them on an as-needed basis. Now that your nuts are taken care of, let's talk chocolate.
Combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate, and melt them together in a large bowl in the microwave. Stir it in 30-second intervals, so the chocolate doesn't scorch.
Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, add the jar of marshmallow cream and the 3 tablespoons of water, and stir everything together.
At this point, you might be thinking I'm celebrating April Fool's Day instead of St. Patrick's Day and playing a prank on you, because there is nothing appetizing about this mixture at first. The marshmallow cream leaves big streaks, the water doesn't incorporate, and the whole mess looks like one giant Kitchen Don't. But wait...
Keep stirring, and you will eventually be left with this gorgeous mixture! Light, mousse-y chocolate fudge, just begging to be formed into potatoes. Patience, patience. Just a few steps to go.
For one thing, we have to add the nuts! Add 1 cup of the toasted, chopped walnuts to the chocolate fudge mixture, and stir until they're dispersed. Reserve the remaining walnuts to decorate with later.
Press a piece of cling wrap on top of the chocolate, and refrigerate the candy until it's firm enough to scoop and roll--about 75-90 minutes. Ideally it should be firm but pliable. If you leave it in too long and it gets rock-hard, you'll have to let it spend a few hours at room temperature warming up before it's workable again.
While you're waiting for your fudge to firm up, mix up the coating. Whisk together the cocoa powder, granulated sugar, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl, and set aside until you're ready to make your potatoes.
When your chocolate mixture is workable, use a cookie scoop or large spoon to form big balls of fudge. Mine turned out to be around 1 oz, which yields a potato shape about 2" long. Of course you can make them whatever size you like--bonus points if anyone decides to make them the size of a real potato! (Double bonus points if you manage to actually eat the whole thing.)
Roll each potato in the cinnamon-cocoa mixture, turning it so that it's even coated with the powder. This gives the potatoes their realistic appearance and an extra flavor boost, so don't be shy about coating them.
Finally, take the remaining walnut pieces and poke 3-4 small pieces into each potato at random intervals. This last step takes your potatoes from "passable imitations" to "Vegas-worthy potato impersonators!"
At this point your candy potatoes can be eaten immediately, or you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If they sit for a few days, they may need to be dusted with more coating mix before serving them. Have a safe, happy, and delicious St. Patrick's Day!
All text and images (c) 2011 Elizabeth LaBau