DIY Needhams Maine Candy

Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD
Total Time: 20 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 0 min
Servings: 24 (1 candy each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

100 calories
4g fat
17g carbs
0g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24 (1 candy each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 25mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 15g  
Includes 10g Added Sugars 20%
Protein 0g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 54mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Traditional potato candies, for some unknown reason called “Needhams,” have been enjoyed by Mainers for generations. These candies might be particularly appreciated by those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Potatoes, which are low in FODMAPs, make it possible to use less sugar in these candies than in other fondants. A low-FODMAP diet has been effective in managing IBS. Still, it's best to stick to just one piece of this candy on a low-FODMAP diet.


  • 4 oz. white potato, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded dried coconut
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup semisweet baking chocolate
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil


  1. Grease a 5x9-inch loaf pan with butter or oil.

  2. In a small saucepan, cover the potato with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain, cool, and mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork.

  3. Measure 1/3 cup of mashed potatoes into a small bowl. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, coconut, vanilla, and salt. The dough should be the texture of chocolate chip cookie dough. If it is a little too stiff, stir in another tablespoon of mashed potatoes, which will add moisture.

  4. Press the dough into a single layer in the prepared loaf pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  5. The next day, cut the dough into 24 squares. Cover a baking tray or cutting board with waxed paper.

  6. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the coconut oil and chocolate on high in a microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat at 15-second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

  7. Working quickly, place each square of candy on the tines of a fork and lower it into the melted chocolate. Spoon chocolate over the top until the Needham is thoroughly coated. Scrape the bottom of the fork over the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate and use another fork to slide the candy onto the prepared tray. If the chocolate starts to become too thick, reheat it as needed.

  8. Chill the chocolate-covered candies until the chocolate hardens, at least one hour. Serve cold.

Variations and Substitutions

This recipe uses semisweet chocolate, but you can experiment with your favorite variety. Use dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or a blend of several different chocolates. Use one type of chocolate to dip the squares (such as dark chocolate) and then drizzle a bit of another type (such as white chocolate). You might also choose to sprinkle fresh coconut on top.

You can also experiment with other extracts. Consider using almond extract and top each candy with an almond.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • The amount of moisture in potatoes can vary depending on the variety, age, and cooking time. This recipe was tested with fresh Maine potatoes, which are a relatively thin-skinned variety with white flesh, and produce candy with a fresh-looking white filling. Note that Idaho potatoes are drier, while thinner-skinned potatoes tend to have more moisture. You may need to experiment with potatoes in your area to get the recipe right the first time.
  • Like other freshly prepared foods, these candies should be enjoyed (or frozen) while still very fresh. Any chocolates that aren't enjoyed within 24 hours should be stored in the freezer in an airtight container.

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1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Altobelli E, Del Negro V, Angeletti PM, Latella G. Low-FODMAP diet improves irritable bowel syndrome symptoms: A meta-analysisNutrients. 2017;9(9):940. doi:10.3390/nu9090940

By Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD
Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, is a nutrition expert with expertise in GI disorders. She is a leader in using the FODMAP approach with IBS patients.