Potato Candy & Divinity Fudge

Posted on Dec 16 2009 - 10:56am by RetroRuth

Trailer and Pin-ups 029Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Well, the countdown to Christmas is in full swing and everything around here is about as chaotic as it can get.   I like getting ready for Christmas, which is really good news because otherwise I might go completely insane.  Did I mention that I bought 9 lbs of butter the other day for my Christmas cookie craziness?  Yep. 9 lbs.

Anyway, this week for my Mid-Century Menu Holiday Marathon, I decided to do two different kinds of candy.  And, in true MC Menu fashion, one is a little wacky. The other is just something I have always wanted to try.

The first is Divinity Fudge, which a lot of you out there have probably made before, but I never have.  I always page through cookbooks, see the plates and platters of candy and think, “That would be fun to try.”  And now I have an excuse to try it!

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This recipe comes from the book pictured above, the American Woman’s Cookbook. You may remember this book from the noodle ring post, which was a lot of fun. (Cookie Alert – the noodle ring post also has a great recipe for Almond Cookies, a nice addition to the christmas cookie list!) There is a whole candy section in this great book, but the Divinity Fudge looked really good.  So I was off!

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Too bad I was totally off my game when it came to prepping these ingredients.  I had to crack a total of 7 eggs to get the two egg whites you see in the red ramekin.  I don’t know what the deal was with the eggs, but the yolks kept wanted to swim around in the whites. Jeez.

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The sugar, corn syrup and water in the saucepan.

While that was heating up to light crack stage, which is ironically the level of high I get from making Christmas cookies (just kidding, moms!), I got the rest of the ingredients ready.

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The pans all buttered up.

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The egg whites, stiffly beaten.

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Here is the sugar mixture, right before it hit the right temp.  I am always terrified of this stuff, hot sugar scares the bejesus out of me.  So I was tiptoeing around the pan, trying my darndest not to get an extra drop anywhere.

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So you can appreciate how much guts it took for me to pour the hot sugar with one hand while taking a picture of it.  I was sure I was going to spill it everywhere, but it went pretty well.

And yes, my mixer is filthy. 🙂  I made a lot of cookie dough yesterday, so that baby has been getting a workout.

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Here is the fudge, poured into the pan.  Sorry I didn’t get pictures of the in between parts, but everything got really hot and crazy for a second, and then it was in the pan.  So, here it is in the pan.

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And HERE is the totally sticky bowl that I had to wash!  Ewwwww!!

Trailer and Pin-ups 031So, flushed with sucess, I decided to move on to the potato candy, which comes from this awesome book, the State of Maine Potato Cook Book.  There isn’t a publishing date on this cookbook (what is with that lately?), but I am assuming this is a 1960’s cookbook by the illustrations.  And I love the kitchen pictured on the front of the book!

Anyway, this book has a bunch of unique potato recipes I am looking forward to tackling in 2010, but I just couldn’t wait to try the recipe for Potato Candy.  It was just too intriging to wait.

Trailer and Pin-ups 032Interesting, isn’t it?  I know I am ready to go!

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Pretty simple, huh?  The potato is a bit out of place, but everything else looks good.  

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The potato and the sugar in the bowl.  I have to admit this was a lot easier than the divinity fudge.

Now, some kind of weird magic happened at this point.  I started up the mixer, and the sugar just looked really dry.  I kept mixing, and still really dry.  About thirty seconds in I was getting a little doubtful.  Then, the sugar started to ball up, like struesel topping, and then it just turned into goo.  In about 2 seconds.

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 Look at it!  I didn’t think that would happen.  I totally thought I would have to add more liquid. 

Ahh, the mystery of potatoes.

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I mixed in the salt, vanilla and coconut and crammed it into the pan.  Nothing mysterious here.

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Then I poured over the chocolate, which I melted in the microwave.  And that was it!  Pretty easy, huh?

So, then came the moment everyone has been waiting for.  Tom came home.

“Here,”  I said, barely even greeting him and shoving divinity in his hand, “try some of this.”

“Ok, but this is really sticky.”

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“How is it?”

“Really sticky.”

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“But it’s good,” he said, “Bring me the pan and a spoon.”

“Not yet, you have one more to try.” I brought him a piece of the potato candy.  “Eat this.”

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“This is so good.  It tastes just like a Mounds bar.  Bring me that pan, too.”

So, he spent the next 20 minutes eating candy and watching Merry Christmas Charlie Brown.  I would call that a sucess!!

The Verdict:

Divinity Fudge:  Very Good, but I must have not boiled the sugar long enough because it never really set up.  Next time I will go a little longer on the sugar. 

Potato Candy:  Really Good, ended up tasting just like a Mounds Bar.  You could sprinkle chopped almonds on top if you want Almond Joy.  The great thing about this recipe was there was no flour or dairy, so it would be a good Christmas treat for people with special diets.  As long as they can have sugar. Lots of sugar.

The only thing I would do differently is NOT put them in a pan if I was giving them as gifts.  I would roll them in balls and then dip them in chocolate. Just to make them fancy.

Hooray for potatoes!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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15 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. sablemable December 16, 2009 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    LOL, Ruth! Tom’s barely inside and you’re shoving food into his hand!!!!!!!!

    I think there is a cookie recipe that uses potato chips. It came to mind when I saw the featured potato candy, but I could be hallucinating, LOL!

    And LOL@ 9 pounds of butter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve only bought 6 pounds myself!!!!!

  2. Alex December 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    I’m not a cook, but I’m gonna try my hand at that tater candy. It looks good and easy. 🙂

  3. Sara in AZ December 16, 2009 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Wow! You really did not let Tom get far – that is like right off your entry way! Too funny! I love that he ate the candy for 20 mins. while watching Charlie Brown Christmas. I would definitely call that a success! Hooray! “Bring me the pan and a spoon” 🙂 I will definitely have to try the pototao recipe too.

  4. RetroRuth December 16, 2009 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Sable – I know, I tackled him at the door! I have had chocolate covered potato chips, which are pretty good. But the good thing about the potato candy is that it didn’t actually taste like potato, just sugar. Which is fine with me!

    Alex – Do it, it is super good! 🙂

    Sara – Hee hee! I hustled him into the library as soon as he walked in the door. I only let him hang up his jacket so it wouldn’t get sticky.

  5. Andrea December 16, 2009 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Hehe, I am so going to make the potato candy and not tell my husband what it is! If it tastes like Mounds though, he will gladly eat it!

  6. Paulette December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    I am so going to make that tater candy! I am one of those gluten-free, dairy-free special diets folks, and this seems perfect. Plus, if it tastes like Mounds? Definitely have to try it. Did you use chocolate chips instead of baking chocolate? If so, how much?

  7. Beth December 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    My mom made many batches of divinity. Here’s somethings to consider: the syrup should get to hard crack stage, dry cold weather is preferable as humidity can play a part; also beat the eggs really well, if the peaks were still soft there may have been too much moisture in them. As for the potato candy, there used to be a candy bar sold called “Idaho Spud”. It was made from potatoes. It would be better to make small balls and coat in chocolate. You could separate the potato mixture and flavor each section with different extracts to make different candies. Can you tell I grew up in the era?

  8. Mattenylou December 17, 2009 at 12:31 am - Reply

    I remember making that potato candy for years to mix in with the boxes of Christmas cookies to give away. We just dropped spoonfuls on wax paper, let harden and then dipped the bottoms in the chocolate… so easy and everyone loved them. This was back around the same time we had a silver tree like yours… lol.

    I so enjoy your blog, good memories!

  9. Marsi @ The Cottage Cheese December 17, 2009 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Tee-hee, I was about to type what was in my mind, then read Paulette’s comment and realized she said the exact same thing: “I am so going to make that” potato candy!

  10. Annie B. December 17, 2009 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Nine pounds of butter??? They’re cheering for you over in Wisconsin!! And I’m applauding your holiday spirit!

  11. Kelly December 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I just love picturing him eating straight out of the pan while watching Charlie Brown Christmas. He’s got the right idea!

  12. RetroRuth December 19, 2009 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Thanks for the pointers, Beth. I will make those changes next time I try Divinity! 🙂

    Paulette, I used about a cup and a half of chips, and yeah I subbed semi-sweet chocolate for the baking chocolate.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

  13. Roxanne December 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Poor Tom–being greeted at the door with treats fresh from the kitchen!

    Even when the menus are “duds” I bet he’s enjoying this food adventure!

  14. Nancy January 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Humidity will definitely make a difference with the divinity. Mom didn’t put her divinity in a pan though. Her’s was dropped by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and then had a pecan pushed into the top. I wonder if that would make a difference on the setting up/drying factory. It would get airflow around it for drying.

    Our potato candy was slightly different also. It was rolled out, spread with peanut butter, (no coconut in this recipe), then rolled jelly roll/cinnamon roll style and sliced. Let it dry just a bit so that it doesn’t stick together and then store in the candy can. I like the idea of dipping in chocolate though.

  15. Sparkina May 18, 2016 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    Both the potato candy and the divinity sound DIVINE.

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