Dorothy Young's Needhams

This is the recipe for Maine's traditional coconut and potato candy.


  • This makes about 66 pieces of candy.
  • 3/4 cup mashed potato
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Two 1-pound packages confectioners sugar
  • 1 stick of margarine
  • 1/2 pound of flaked coconut (that is about 2 and
       3/4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • One 12-ounce package of semi sweet
       chocolate bits
  • 4 squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cake of paraffin (2 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches)
       (The same kind of wax you melt to use on
       top of jams and jellies.)


Pare and cook the potato to make 3/4 cup of mashed potato—no seasonings! Using a double boiler place the stick of margarine in it and melt it over boiling water. Add the mashed potato, salt, confectioners sugar, flaked coconut and vanilla. Mix well, then turn into a buttered jelly roll pan. Spread evenly. Place it in a cool place to harden. When hard, cut into small squares and dip in the melted chocolate mixture as follows.

Use the double boiler again. Place the paraffin in the top of the double boiler over boiling water to melt. Then add the two kinds of chocolate. Allow the chocolate to melt. Stir well to mix the ingredients. A toothpick or cake tester may be used to dip the squares. Hold each square above chocolate mixture after dipping so the square drains well. Place on waxed paper to harden. This recipe halves easily.

Note from D.Y.: I do not use quite as much wax as the recipe calls for and I use a pair of short tongs for dipping. Needhams keep a long time and freeze well.


Needhams are a delicious and traditional New England sweet treat. Happily they also ship well. During many, many Christmas seasons, a good sized batch was sent from Maine to California where they were greatly enjoyed and quickly consumed!

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