My attempted potato candy yesterday turned out completely inedible, even though I bought two potatoes knowing I'd probably need two attempts to get it right. I must be out of practice, because I haven't made it since I moved out on my own, and I had to buy a rolling pin yesterday for the first time just to make it with, because I've never had need of a rolling pin before. Anyway, having invested money in a rolling pin I can't give up until I've managed to make at least one piece of edible food using it. I bought two more potatoes today and I am going to manage to turn a potato into edible potato candy if I have to keep trying every evening for the next 60 years. If I can't even figure out how to make potato candy, they'll revoke my Irishness license.
1. Overcook a potato. This is not easy. You have to throw away any preconceptions you might have about how long potatoes are supposed to be cooked for. This potato has to be cooked so long that at a touch of a rolling pin it loses all shape and turns completely gelatinous. This is not your average potato-cooking experience. Boil it on the highest setting for something like an hour. Maybe more.
2. Cover a piece of wax paper with powdered sugar. Use lots of it, because if you don't, you'll never manage to un-stick the dough from the wax paper. Have several boxes of powdered sugar on hand, because you're going to need massive amounts of powdered sugar for step five. If your tastes are at all more refined than the stereotypical six-year-old's (the more sugar the better! more sugar! more, more, more please!) then potato candy will utterly disgust you so don't even bother making it.
3. Stick a fork in the potato and make sure it's properly disintegrated. Pray to the potato goddesses and think as hard as you can about how much you love shamrocks. If the potato seems soft, then peel all the skin off to free the potato of all semblance of solidity.
4. Dump a tiny piece of the overcooked potato-goo on top of the powdered sugar. Caution: there's absolutely no way you'll ever use the entire potato, or even half of it. Use about one cubic inch of potato; if you need more later you can add it later. Start with one cubic inch. Do your very best to convince the cube that it's liquid: mash it up thoroughly until it doesn't have any more clumps of solid potato in it.
5. Now add huge gigantic massive amounts of powdered sugar to the tiny bit of potato. You're aiming for a doughlike consistency, which will require about 99 parts powdered sugar for every one part potato. If you have too high a ratio of potato to powdered sugar, you'll just get a big puddle of liquid potato-goo. You don't want that. You want a dry powdery dough. This takes real talent to achieve. If you think you're getting close but you just can't quite get there, stomp away in frustration and pray to the potato goddesses some more. Hey, there's always the off-chance the excess potato-fluid will evaporate while you're gone. Probably not, though.
6. If the texture looks right, congratulate yourself heartily. You're doing lots better than me.
7. Roll the wad of extremely sugary potato-dough out flat with a rolling pin.
8. Spread peanut butter on top.
9. Roll the wad of peanut-buttery sugary potato-dough into spirals with your hands like you're rolling up a long piece of parchment. The peanut butter should help stick the layers together and hold it in one piece. (You can try other fillings than peanut butter, but if they aren't sticky enough the candy won't hold together well.) You may find that the underside is still liquidish, in which case you'll have to pour on yet more powdered sugar so it's dry and un-sticky enough for the candy to be handled without making a huge mess.
10. Slice the roll into pieces. This produces flat cylindrical pieces of white candy with little peanut butter spirals in them.
11. If you are my mother, this is the part where you feed the candy to your daughter and get lots of compliments and gratitude for it. If you are me, this is the part where you lick a sticky crumb or two and shake your head and decide you must have outgrown potato candy because it just doesn't seem very appetizing anymore.
Nobody warned me quite how hard it would be to recapture my childhood.