Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Needhams-Maine's best candy I never knew about

Needhams are an old-fashioned candy native to the east coast, specifically Maine, that I had never had or even heard of until a couple of days ago. They are dangerously addictive if you were ever a fan of Mounds bars. I love coconut and chocolate anything so I was eager to make my own batch.  The secret to these candies is an unusual ingredient you don't see often...mashed potatoes! In the end, you can't taste any potato but they act as a great binder and give these coconut treats a wonderfully soft consistency. Potatoes have also shown up in other dessert recipes of mine here.

makes about 18-1 1/2" rectangles
1 medium sized russet potato
2 cups organic powdered sugar
1 tbl earth balance vegan butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
pinch of sea salt
7 oz sweetened shredded coconut
1 lb semi sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbl canola oil

Prick the potato with a fork and pop it in the microwave to cook fully. Additionally you can cook it in the oven if you have the time and patience.
Peel the potato and scoop out the filling and mash, let cool.
Set a small pot of water on the stove and bring to a simmer.
In a larger heat proof bowl (one that can sit on top of the pot of water) add the powdered sugar and make a well in the middle.
Add the butter, 1/2 cup mashed potato, extracts and salt in the middle. Place on top of the simmering water and whisk the center until the butter melts. Slowly whisk in a little bit of the sugar at a time until all of the sugar has dissolved, 3-4 minutes.
Take off the heat and add the coconut. Transfer to the freezer and cool for 20 minutes.
Shape into little rectangles or balls and freeze again for 30 minutes.
Melt the chocolate and oil together and dip each coconut piece, covering completely. Let cool and set at room temperature.

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