You may not know this, but during the Great Depression, when many ingredients were scarce, an unexpected ingredient had a bit of a heyday in the world of confectionery: the Potato!
And I don't mean lumpy but delicious baked goods or candy bars named after their resemblance to the potato. I mean treats made with actual potatoes--usually mashed, and added (I imagine) as a sort of flour substitute / body-builder, and as an absorber of other flavors around it.
While the potato's period of vogue as a component of confectionery seems to have faded, it was fun to make this recipe for Potato Kisses; this is the traditional recipe, but for next week's Serious Eats post, I am going to do a modern-day (and in my opinion, more delicious!) version.
I found this recipe in Who Wants Candy? by Jane Sharrock, where she says "once quite popular as an after-dinner treat with our grandparents and great-grandparents, potato candies are now ssomewhat of a novelty, with only a handful of lucky people knowing how delicious they can be." The book also includes recipes for Wacky Potato Fudge and Potato fondant.
- 1/2 cup unseasoned hot mashed potatoes
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 1/2 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
- Cover a countertop area or large baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mashed potatoes and butter, mixing well. Gradually add the sugar, blending until smooth. Stir in the almond extract and coconut; drop by spoonfuls on to the paper. Store in an airtight container.