Potato Candy

In time for St. Patrick’s Day: a historic, child-friendly candy recipe using pantry staples you probably already have. Happens to be gluten free.

Adapted from the Hershey’s 1934 Cookbook, Eleventh Printing, page 87.

Candy Potatoes


  • 1 med. baked potato, mashed*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 Cup cocoa OR 1/3 Cup chocolate malt mix and reduce the sugar by 1/4 Cup
  • 4 1/2 Cups confectioner’s sugar
  • add’l cocoa or Chocolate Glaze or cinnamon sugar.


  1. Fold mashed potatoes, salt, and vanilla together in large mixing bowl.
  2. Slowly beat in the cocoa, and the sugar until the mixture is stiff enough to be rolled into balls.
  3. Either roll immediately in cocoa (or chocolate malt mix) or chill and glaze.
  • NOTE: No need to waste a fresh potato (unless you have leftovers, of course), instant potatoes will work just as well, follow the directions on the box and do the math to get the right amount, or make your child do the math as a distance learning exercise with a built in reward. Avoid using garlic flavored mashed potatoes…

Pantry Chocolate Glaze


  • 2 Cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons shortening or coconut oil


  1. Completely melt chips and shortening together in top of double boiler over hot -not boiling- water. [NOTE: Ha! Ok, just use the microwave setting for this, microwave slowly, it should be done when there are still softened but distinct chocolate lumps and it all looks glossy, then just stir it smooth, don’t overcook or it burns. Alternately, rest a metal mixing bowl over a pot with an inch of hot water in the bottom, instant double boiler.]
  2. Cool, stirring occasionally, until coating is lukewarm and slightly thickened (98° F). Dip.
  3. Maintain the temperature while dipping by occasionally setting back over the pot to warm up.
  4. Place dipped candies on a wax paper lined baking sheet and cool in the fridge.


  • Flavor potato candy faux-dant with mint extract and shape into patties.
  • Chill and form around maraschino cherries then dip.
  • Stir in peanut butter to stretch the peanut butter filling for peanut butter cups.
  • Raid your liquor cabinet and use your under-utilized liqueurs as flavoring extracts: creme de cacao, creme de menthe, cherry cordial, Chambord, Bailey’s, honey bourbon, all will make terrific candies and won’t be enough to get your kid tipsy (unless these aren’t for your kid and that’s what you’re going for, of course).

Think Ahead

Easter is three weeks away, times are uncertain, and this makes a BIG batch of candy, consider dividing the batch into several flavors and form half into egg shapes instead of potatoes. Your eggs will need to be chocolate or candy coated or else they will dry out, allow them to cool slowly and completely at room temperature, then store in the fridge. Don’t allow to freeze or the shell will break and the potatoes will weep liquid inside.

Leave a Reply