I’ve never been a huge Irish potato fan. While I have always ‘so desired’ the delicious coconut-y insides, the cinnamon coating always felt off-putting to me. Like a punishment and indulgence packed into one bite. Yet each year I find myself with the overwhelming desire to make them, like them, and somehow improve on them. So many people enjoy eating them, surely there must be some trick to their deliciousness! So this year I set out to make a healthy version. Something I could make for the holiday and consume guiltlessly. I didn’t want anything too cloyingly sweet so confectioner’s sugar, or any refined sugar for that matter, do not make an appearance here. If you’re looking for a face puckering sugar rush, I don’t have it for you this time around. But if you’re looking for the textures and mildly spiced flavors that remind you of St. Patrick’s Day in a healthy way, well then you’ve come to the right place! Here you go friends, have at it!
Vegan Irish Potatoes
1 1/2 cups raw cashew halves soaked 2 hours
4 pitted Medjool dates roughly chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup (you can also use agave or coconut nectar-coconut nectar however is not very sweet, more tangy)
1/8 cup coconut milk flavored or plain (I used vanilla)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded coconut ( I used Bob’s Red Mill)
cinnamon for rolling
Prep: Soak your cashew halves in water for at least two hours (halves are cheapest and most absorbent, if you use whole, soak for longer)
Begin: Drain cashews from their water and then add to your blender. Add maple syrup, coconut milk, vanilla, and blend until smooth (about 5 minutes total). Add a slight amount more of coconut milk if needed to ensure a continuous flow. Add dates towards the end of blending and make sure they are blended thoroughly. You will see bits of dates here and there but no large chunks should remain.
Place coconut in a bowl and add blended cashew mixture. Mix together, mixture should form into a ball with ease but should not be soppy nor should it fall apart easily.
In a large bowl or on a plate, loosely sprinkle cinnamon. I’m not about a cinnamon challenge and neither are you so after you roll your coconut balls in the cinnamon be sure to tap them to remove excess spice. I tried to spread the cinnamon out in my bowl so the coconut (and my lungs) wouldn’t suffocate in it. Haters gonna hate.
Once finished, place on platter and refrigerate until served. Should make 12 yummy yummikins total! Again these will not be sugary sweet, if that’s what you want these are not the Irish potatoes you are looking for, but gosh darn it they will be tasty…