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Archive for the ‘Candy’ Category

postheadericon Irish Potatoes (Candy)

Irish potato candy is a traditional Philadelphia confection that, despite its name, is not from Ireland, and this version does not contain any potato. The candies have a coconut cream inside and are rolled in cinnamon on the outside, resulting in an appearance reminiscent of tiny, freshly dug potatoes. The “potatoes” are about the size of a large marble and are especially popular around St. Patrick’s Day. Although they are Philly-based, they are available in many areas and are made commercially by Oh Ryan’s of Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, who claims to be the largest distributor of Irish Potatoes, shipping about 80,000 pounds to major chains and smaller candy stores, mostly in the Philadelphia area. See’s Candies, based in South San Francisco, also makes a version.  You will often find these candies featured as a seasonal product in the Philly area and elsewhere in Eastern Pa (and beyond) in supermarkets and candy shops. It is super simple to make your own with a few ingredient! Rarely does a St Paddy’s Day go by that a container of these are not in my refrigerator. Be aware – they are addicting!

NOTE: You can substitute cocoa for the cinnamon if you prefer (especially if you do not like the “bite” of cinnamon)

Irish Potatoes Candy

Irish Potatoes Candy

Irish Potatoes Candy

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces (1/2 - 8 ounce package) full fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 2 and 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or as needed

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth.
  3. Using your hands if necessary, mix in the coconut. Roll into one or two bite sized balls then slightly elongate the ball into a potato shape.
  4. Roll in the cinnamon.
  5. Place onto a cookie sheet and chill. Store in refrigerator tightly covered.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/01/21/irish-potatoes-candy/

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postheadericon Nougat Candy

When I was young, my family went grocery shopping at the local A & P every Friday evening because Fridays were payday for my Dad.  The local store was small, but seemed to have everything we needed at the time. As Mom, Dad, and I embarked from the Buick, Dad would drop a nickle in the parking meter, Mom would gather her pocketbook (purse) from the car and deftly drape it over her forearm, and I would run ahead to secure the perfect shopping cart (sometimes referred to a “buggy” in my area and by my folks); it was important it have no wobbles or wheels that made it undesirable for a trip around the supermarket! Upon opening the door, the smell of freshly roasted coffee hung thick in the air at the entrance/exit; a set of red coffee grinders, shoots caked with coffee grounds from previous users grinding their beans, proudly proclaimed “Eight O’Clock!”. By this time the folks had caught up with me and Mom started down the produce aisle while Dad and I went exploring. Nothing was ever more exciting to me than when we rounded the aisle that contained the thing I longed for most. I would tug on Dad’s shirt sleeve, he would dutifully bend down, and I would whisper in his ear – like I did every week –  “Did you bring some?”  “Yes,” he would answer grinning, “I brought some!”. The “some” was money. Pocket change to be exact. So very important because the object of my affection and the thing that drew me week after week was the display of individually wrapped assorted candies of which you could buy individual pieces! Right there!  Just pick your favorite, drop a nickle in the box in the center of the display, and chow down! And so we did. He picked his favorite (which seemed to vary – something I did not quite understand in my child’s reasoning) and I went right for the nougat. That individually wrapped piece of white, chewy, goodness inside which were little jewel colored gobs of flavored jellies.  Ah, my night was complete! That special little bond in childhood that Dad and I shared in that moment lives on today in my memory. Those displays are still around in markets, although the individual pieces are not 5 cents anymore. I have to admit, they do not hold the same fascination for me now these many decades later as I stand in the mega mart staring at the display. Sure, I still enjoy the candy once in awhile, but it feels like something is missing – and it is; my beloved Pop. This super-easy recipe for jelly filled nougats to create at home makes me think fondly of my Dad. It is among my favorites in my recipe collection

SOME HINTS:

  • extend parchment out ends or sides of pan to form “handles” to help with removal from pan before cutting into squares.
  • mixture is sticky, a piece of lightly greased parchment paper makes a good tool to push down and level our the mixture in the pan.
  • use a very sharp knife when cutting the nougat into squares
  • be sure to cool completely before cutting (several hours or overnight)
  • to make ahead or store: layer the cut pieces of nougat between pieces of parchment paper and place in an air tight container and freeze. To serve, let them sit for about 1 hour or 2 to bring them to room temperature.
  • you can use the gumdrops of your choice; red and green for the holidays, even spicy gumdrops, but be sure to use fresh gumdrops and SMALL gumdrops (otherwise you will need to cut large gumdrops up into smaller pieces and that’s not the best use of your time!!). Other types of “gummy” candies may not work correctly in this recipe (too tough, etc.)

Nougat Candy

Yield: About 60 bite-size pieces

Nougat Candy

Easy Nougat Candy

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 bags mini marshmallows (250g per bag)
  • 2 bags white baking chips (225g per bag)
  • 2 cups small gumdrops

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 9 inch x 13 inch pan by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Melt first 3 ingredients together, stirring often, until smooth over low heat in heavy saucepan. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in gumdrops.
  4. Spread on parchment lined 9 inch x 13 inch pan.
  5. Chill overnight in refrigerator. Cut into squares.
  6. Can be stored n refrigerator or frozen.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/01/14/nougat-candy/

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postheadericon Homemade Peanut Brittle

When I was a child in the 60s and early 70s, we visited my Mom’s sister, my Aunt Gerry. often. She lived in Jersey just across the river from Philly (Philadelphia). Our drive included traveling Route 61 through the tiny borough of Port Clinton (Pa.), an old canal and railroad town near the intersection of Pa. Route 61 and Interstate 78 in Schuylkill County. On the main street — busy Rt. 61 — is the Port Clinton Peanut Shop.  If you blink while driving by, you will miss it. But it is a fixture in the town and has been for many decades. Still in business today, they have old-fashioned/nostalgic candy, fudge, and they still roast peanuts fresh on the premises. But it was the peanut brittle I remember most and the treat that peaked my child’s imagination as I spotted the Pagoda in Reading (Pa.) on the mountainside headed home on Route 61 and KNEW it would not be long before we were able to stop at the Peanut Shop.  Now, let me tell you, Rt. 61 is busy.  I mean REALLY busy. The kind of busy where multiple lanes of traffic zip by so fast a parked car rocks in their wake.  My poor Dad (actually, my super brave, best in the world, no one like MY Dad) would pull in to a hard-to-come by parking spot on the northbound side of Rt. 61, get out the car, and take his life in his hands – literally – to sprint across the highway and into the Peanut Shop. He would return, repeating his death-defying feat, arms loaded with bags of freshly roasted peanuts in the shell and — peanut brittle! Every time I page through my recipe file and see this recipe, I am 10 years old again, sitting in the back seat of the family’s blue Buick Electra, nose pressed up against the side rear window, waiting for him to emerge from the Port Clinton Peanut Shop with those treasures.  I miss you so much, Pop. And it is only now, later in my life, that I realize just how truly enjoyable life was when you still were in it. NOTE: use care when working with hot sugar syrup mixtures – they can stick to your skin if contact is made and cause deep burns.

Homemade Peanut Brittle

Homemade Peanut Brittle

Homemade Peanut Brittle

Ingredients

    Have all your ingredients ready and prep your pan before starting the cooking process!
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter + more for pan if using
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups dry roasted or raw peanuts

Instructions

  1. Prepare and gather all ingredients and prepare a large low-sided baking sheet by lining with parchment paper, a silicone mat, or lightly buttering surface.
  2. Place sugar, corn syrup, water, and 2 Tablespoon butter in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to boil. Boil without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 240.
  3. Add peanuts, and cook 2 to 3 more minutes or until temp hits 285 to 290F. (The cooked mixture should be golden brown.) Watch temperature carefully, it can go beyond this quickly and ruin your batch.
  4. Remove from heat, and stir in baking soda, salt and vanilla extract. Be careful, mixture can bubble up when making these additions and it is VERY HOT!!
  5. Pour mixture onto a prepared metal shallow pan. Quickly spread the brittle by tilting the pan and allowing the mixture to flow across the pan to all edges forming a thin layer.
  6. Allow to stand several minutes or until cooled and hardened. Break into pieces.
  7. Optional: Drizzle with melted chocolate chips.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/27/homemade-peanut-brittle/

Port Clinton Peanut Shop

Reading Pagoda at night overlooking the city.

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postheadericon Flitch – Potato Candy

Popular at bake sales, school fundraising events and across the Coal Region in general, this old-fashioned jelly-roll type potato based candy is known in the Anthracite region as “Flitch”.

Flitch

Flitch – old fashioned potato candy

Flitch – Potato Candy

Ingredients

  • 1 potato (about the size of an egg)
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar or quantity as needed
  • Vanilla extract (optional)
  • Peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Boil and peel potato. Make sure you use a SMALL potato as directed. In a dish, mash potato smooth with a fork. While still warm, begin mixing in confectioners sugar. Continue adding sugar and mixing until the mixture is the consistency of firm yet pliable dough. If desired, add a few drops of vanilla when mixing. Sprinkle a little confectioners ugar on a cutting board, put the dough between two sheets of wax paper, and roll the mixture to a 1/4 inch thickness - like the cake portion of a jellyroll. Spread peanut butter atop the rolled "dough", almost to the edges. Roll up the sheet from the long end, loosening it from the paper with a knife as you roll. Cut into slices and serve. (see photo for example of this technique)
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/08/flitch-potato-candy/

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