Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Is it just me, or does it seem like it’s continuously been St. Patrick’s Day since last Saturday? I suppose having it fall on a Thursday maximizes the pre-celebration.
I was thumbing through the March 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living the other day when I found this year’s St. Patrick’s Day project: Sweet “Potatoes” (since potatoes are oh so Irish!). I’ve done Guinness bread and Guinness ice cream, and so many others have done some variation of Guinness cupcakes. The “potatoes” are balls of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and chopped walnuts rolled in cinnamon to emulate the look of real potatoes. Fun and unusual, right?
Apparently, the unusual overrides the fun, at least initially.
The “potatoes” were already made when Dr. O came home yesterday evening, so he hadn’t seen what went into them. I asked him if they looked like potatoes (so desperately wanting him to say “yes!”), and he said they didn’t. I found out about 20 minutes later that he thought they really were potatoes that didn’t look like the kind of potatoes he was used to seeing. Consequently, you should have seen his face when I asked him to take a bite. He took the tiniest nibble off of an edge and wasn’t sure what to think… Since he thought they really were potatoes in some form, he was expecting a savory bite; he was also completely caught off guard by the white cream cheese and butter interior. Ha! Once he realized that the “potatoes” were sweet candies, he enjoyed them a heck of a lot more. Perhaps that’s the lesson here: If you want to confuse/surprise adults or make something that kids will think is cool, this is the project for you. I don’t see these flying off of a serving tray if people don’t know what they are, though.
For those of you with kids and/or a sense of humor, here’s the recipe:
4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
4 tablespoons softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
2 cups walnuts (toasted, cooled, and finely chopped)
Beat butter and cream cheese with vanilla and salt until pale and fluffy. Mix in sugar and walnuts until smooth. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Roll dough (1 tablespoon each) between your hands. Shape into “potatoes.” Roll in cinnamon; brush off excess with a pastry brush. To create “eyes,” stick in walnut pieces. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
The candies are definitely on the sweet side (to be expected since the bulk of the dough is made of powdered sugar), but the cream cheese and walnuts sure do make them tasty. I think the cinnamon plays nicely with the walnuts, too. They won’t knock your socks off, but they’re certainly a fun holiday project.
TIPS: In order to make the candies look most potato-like, I found that brushing the cinnamon on with a pastry brush worked better than rolling them in the cinnamon. Grocery store potatoes have that uneven layer of soil on them, and rolling the candies coated them a bit too evenly.
Recipe link: Sweet “Potatoes”