Simple and sweet, this reader-submitted retro peanut butter and potato candy recipe has only 4 ingredients.
By Aimee Tucker
Mar 06 2020
If you’ve got a sweet tooth and like peanut butter, this candy’s for you.Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker
I love poking around the Yankee recipe archives, but sometimes, a reader-submitted recipe pops up on the screen, just begging to be made. That happened recently with this Potato Candy Roll, an old-fashioned potato candy recipe with peanut butter swirled inside.
Say what? We’re no strangers to sweet potato recipes like potato cakes (Vermont Chocolate Potato Cake) or potato candies (Maine Potato Needhams) around here, but this was a new one for me. A little research, along with the reader-submitted comment (“Mother made this when we couldn’t afford store bought candy”), helped provide a little background.
The simplest version of this candy is made by combining mashed potato with powdered sugar, then rolling the “dough” out, spreading peanut butter on top, then rolling the whole thing up, jelly roll-style. After it’s rolled, it’s refrigerated for several hours, then cut into slices. Naturally, this was a simple and inexpensive way to make something sweet, so it’s often associated with the Great Depression, when times were tight and ingredients like tomato soup made their way into desserts.
Actually, I’ve made Tomato Soup Cake, and it’s pretty tasty.
But getting back to the Potato Candy Roll recipe… Leftovers have to stay in the fridge, because once the candy is at room temperature, it gets soft and is prone to sticking. Actually, the entire batter started out sticky. The potato candy recipe didn’t specify whether or not the potato, once mashed, should be hot, warm, at room temperature, or stone cold when the powdered sugar was added, so I went ahead and started adding it almost as soon as the spud was mashed.
The result? I added the entire 2 pound bag of sugar, and still had a mixture that looked like icing. Delicious icing, like the kind you want to pour on top of a palm-sized cinnamon roll, but nothing close to being stiff enough to roll out. Not feeling too hopeful, I scraped what I had into a bowl, popped it into the fridge, and made dinner instead.
An hour later, I checked on the bowl, and was delighted to find that the mixture had firmed up enough where I could handle it, so I spread out a clean dish towel, sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top, and got to work. As the “dough” warmed up, the process got harder (meaning stickier), so I worked a little faster. Once it was roughly the right shape, I spread the peanut butter on top (the recipe didn’t say how much, but I used most of an 18 oz. jar of creamy), then crossed my fingers and started to roll the whole thing up the same way I’d roll a jelly roll.
It did not go smoothly, and the reason there are no photos is because I was using both my hands, and possibly even my elbows, to try and keep everything together. After getting a long, soft snake formed, I tipped it onto a sheet of plastic wrap, rolled that up, then rolled THAT up in the tea towel. A lot of the photos of the candy I had seen online showed it flattened out, and I was really hoping to keep mine round.
Not a chance! Even wrapped, this stuff wants to settle and spread out like a a cat in your lap. When I cut it the next morning (amazingly, it cut beautifully, so long as it was cold), it looked like great — well, if it was supposed to look like biscotti.
But how did it taste? As you might expect, a candy made almost entirely of powdered sugar and peanut butter, with a small amount of mashed potato thrown in for moisture, is pretty darn sweet and peanut butter-y. So if you like those things, you’re probably going to like it more than you think.
I know I did!
Have you ever made this old-fashioned peanut butter potato candy recipe? Maybe something similar? Let us know in the comments!
This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.