When I was little I had a wonderful babysitter named Marie. My best friend Sarah and I both went to Marie’s house every day, and played with a whole group of kids while our parents were at work.
I don’t remember a lot about my time at Marie’s. I must have been 5, because I remember her taking me to kindergarten one day when the school schedule was rearranged. I remember playing in a wood-paneled rec room, and watching Loving in the afternoons. I remember one naptime distinctly: as a special treat that day, Sarah and I were allowed to take our naps together. Being a great big 5-year-old, a whole year older and wiser than Sarah, I made up my mind that she shouldn’t have a pacifier anymore, since pacifiers were for babies. Of course, Marie happened to be gardening right outside the bedroom window, and she saw me confiscate Sarah’s pacifier. No more joint naptime.
The other thing I remember is making Irish Potatoes with Marie for St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t remember the ingredients or the flavor, but I remember the excitement of standing in the kitchen with her, helping to create this treat. I might not have a single Irish bone in my body, but this candy is a special tradition for me anyway, because of those memories.
(adapted from Irish Potato Candy by Saundra on allrecipes.com)
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese
1 t vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
2 T cocoa powder, separated
2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 T cinnamon
pinch of chili powder
In a medium bowl, mix together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Add the vanilla, powdered sugar, coconut and 1T cocoa powder. Using your hands (trust me, it’s the easiest way) work all of the ingredients together until fully combined.
Combine cinnamon, 1T cocoa powder and pinch of chili powder in small bowl.
Pinch off tablespoon-sized pieces of coconut mixture and use your hands to mold them into potato shapes. Roll each ‘potato’ in the cinnamon mixture, then place on a cookie sheet. Once all of the potatoes are formed, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to allow the candies to set.
Share with friends, leprechauns and the like. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!