When I grew up these were a Saint Patrick’s Day staple. My Mommom would buy me a box (Oh Ryan’s Irish Potatoes) and a black licorice pipe every year. I do not like black licorice, but I do love Irish Potatoes. Everyone I knew growing up did, and I assumed they were a staple of Saint Patrick’s Day everywhere. It wasn’t until I was much older (think the last 2-3 years) that I learned these cinnamon covered coconut delicacies were not universally known. They are a regional thing, and I was just fortunate to grow up in the Philadelphia Region.
As I got a little older and moved on my own I started making my own Irish potatoes every March. When Keith was in preschool I would send them in with him to school; now with all the rules about foods in the classroom I am not sure if I would be allowed to send them in with him for elementary school. I know the parties are no foods allowed so I cannot fathom random sweetness being condoned. These healthy eating in the schools are beginning to go a little far. Parties without food. That is a blog post for another day.
I still enjoy making these, clearly, and have passed my love of the Irish potato onto my boys. Even the baby was snuck an Irish Potato when I had my back turned. I heard “giggle giggle” and looked over to see his little legs kicking in glee while he devoured the ball of sugar. Good thing none of my boys get adversely effected by sugar or my husband would have been in deep trouble for that one.
- 1 package cream cheese, room temperature (8 oz.)
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 32 oz. powdered sugar
- 14 oz. shredded coconut, sweetened
- ¼ cup ground cinnamon
- Cream the cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl until smooth.
- Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Mix until fully blended together.
- Dump the coconut flakes in an beat on low for about 2-3 minutes to get the coconut evenly dispersed.
- Pour the cinnamon into a small bowl. Using your hands roll the cream cheese mix into 1-2 inch balls, then roll in the bowl of cinnamon until fully coated.
- Lay the cinnamon covered balls on a cookie sheet or large baking sheet. Don't worry about them touching. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours to fully harden and allow the cinnamon to set.