Never, in my wildest dreams, I would have imagined that Potatoes and Chocolate would go so well together in the Hawaiian Potato Candy, until I met the Okinawan Potatoes when I moved to Hawai’i. These candies are reminiscent of a popular coconut and chocolate candy, but much, much healthier, and Gluten Free!!
Okinawan sweet potatoes came to Hawai’i with the first immigrants from Japan, when they moved here to work in the sugarcane fields.
You can find Okinawan sweet potatoes or Moloka’i sweet potatoes like they call them here, in any Asian store on the Mainland. Sometimes are even labeled (erroneously) as Ube. However, Okinawan potatoes have a much lower Glycemic index than Ube potatoes, are less starchy and more dry, and belong to the “morning glory” family. Therefore, the two tuberous are unrelated.
The recipe itself is super easy, however I think there are a couple of steps that will make the difference:
ROAST vs BOIL the potatoes: the Maillard reaction will increase the flavor intensity and the color of the potatoes.
REFRIGERATE the baked potatoes overnight: the color will become so saturated, almost purple/blue.
Use BITTERSWEET chocolate or the finished candy might be too sweet.
for a Jelly Roll size pan or15″ x 10″ (If you want to use an 8″x8″ pan make 1/2 batch unless you want very thick portions )
4 C confectioned sugar or about 16 oz
3/4 C baked, peeled, and mashed Okinawan sweet potatoes, nothing added
1 stick of butter (unsalted) MELTED
10 oz sweetened flaked coconut
4 oz toasted coconut chips unsweetened
a generous pinch of salt
2 t vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod seeds
1 T orange zest or 2 T minced candied zest, recipe below:
16 oz Bittersweet chocolate
2 T vegetable shortening or butter
- Line a rimmed jellyroll pan with foil, brush some melted butter (lightly) on it, set aside.
- Lightly warm up the potatoes in the microwave, enough so it will be easier to rice them.
- In the bowl of a stand up mixer fitted with the flat (butterfly) beater sift the powder sugar, add salt, coconut (both kinds) and start mixing on low.
- Now add the potatoes and vanilla and orange zest, keep mixing adding the melted butter in a stream.
- Mix for a couple of minutes on low until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Increase the speed to high for a few seconds until the mix comes together and there is no more sugar left on the bottom of the bowl.
- Scoop the potato mix onto the pan and level it with your hands.
- Using a rolling pin, flatten out the surface to an even slab, like in the picture below.
Place the pan, uncovered in the refrigerator for about 3 or 4 hours or until firm and set.
When the bars are firm to the touch, transfer the pan to a flat surface.
Invert the jellyroll pan and carefully remove the foil.
Cut off the edges until you have a perfect rectangle and cut into little squares of about 2″x2″.
DO NOT WORRY if the Hawaiian Potato Candy are not all the same size.
Remember, it is a homemade dessert, must not look perfect.
After all the bars are cut out, place them on a cooling rack and back in the refrigerator while you prepare the chocolate coverture.
In a medium bowl, over a lightly simmering pot of water, melt the chocolate and the butter or vegetable shortening.
REMEMBER: the water must NOT touch the bowl or will seize the chocolate and the glaze will not be smooth. Remove bowl from heat.
Working with one square of Hawaiian Potato Candy at a time, immerse it in the chocolate, shake it, and immediately transfer it back to the cooling rack to drain the excess.
Repeat with remaining squares.
Refrigerate until fully set.
The Hawaiian Potato Candy bars can be frozen without Chocolate and coated at a later time.
The bars can also be frozen with the chocolate coat.
If you refrigerated them, you must be cover them and use within a week or so to ensure freshness.