Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green popcorn and Irish 'potatoes'

I am really making an effort to celebrate the holidays with food but life often gets in the way. I have tons of Valentine's Day sprinkles and cupcake liners but did I make anything for that holiday? Nick must have had a party at school but I have no recollection of making anything special. My mind is Swiss cheese these days but I don't think I did.

Anyway, I was on the ball for St. Patrick's Day. Nick needed a green snack and I recalled the perfect treat. Check out Heidi's Tried-and-True Cooking blog and her recipe for Sweet and Crunchy Popcorn. Mine wasn't as green as I wanted but hey, it's green and it's delicious. I've made practically the same recipe before (Vanilla Popcorn) but this version seemed better. I think it was the salt. I actually made a second half-batch since I popped too much popcorn (and because we ate so much of it while making it) and forgot the salt. I sprinkled some on top and that worked out great.

And then I finally made Irish 'potatoes', a treat I used to be able to buy when I lived in Philadelphia. These little confections seem to be local to that area. I've had this recipe since I lived there, copied from a library book. So, it took over a decade but here they are.

Irish Potatoes
from the Ugly Binder, copied from a library book that seems to have been about recipes from different Philadelphia neighborhoods, I think

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 14-ounce bag shredded coconut
2 pounds confectioner's sugar or to taste I used it all.
ground cinnamon

1. Mix together the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla, coconut and sugar. With you hands, mix all ingredients thoroughly. (Um, they're not kidding - do not try to add all this powdered sugar with your mixer - trust me.) Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Roll mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Then roll the balls in ground cinnamon to coat all over. Refrigerate and bring to room temperature to serve.

This makes a lot. I gave up after filling three shallow Tupperwares. They are somewhat perishable and quite rich so I felt I had enough for the office after using about two-thirds of the mixture. I should have made a half batch. They are delicious but I am really trying to avoid too much temptation right now. I think these were better than the ones I used to buy but it's been maybe 13-14 years since I had them. Why did I wait so long to make them? I just forgot every year, is all. They are still a favorite. I mean, I think the ingredients speak for themselves - cream cheese, butter, vanilla, sugar, coconut and cinnamon? Pretty each to figure out if you would like these or not.

Sorry about the pics but there is no natural light at 9pm. Oh, and I'm still working on the pierogi post.


Lauren said...

How strange -- I read your post yesterday AM and on my way home from work last night, I passed by a candy shop advertising...Irish Potatoes!! (And I'm in Massachusetts!)

The Cookbook Junkie said...

They must have read my blog in the morning too, and started making them right away LOL. I bet a Philadelphia-area native works in that candy shop.

P.S. The green popcorn was a huge hit with my son's class.

Mrs. L said...

I'm loving the green popcorn! I'll have to remember that for next year.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Mrs. L,

You don't have to wait until next year - try it now! I can't wait to make it in other colors for other occasions.

Meg said...

I thought I had only dreamt about Irish Potatoes! I was in the PHL area during high school, and during the St Pat's day festivities, would occasionally go to the William Penn Shoppe which carried specialty products and buy these. I loved them! But I've never seen them again. I will store your recipe, but the chances of me EVER making them are between slim and none. Aging does strange things to your body and its ability to process sugar and fat!

Thanks for the memories.